April 22, 2022

Wyden, Blumenauer, DeFazio Applaud Administration’s Actions to Focus Efforts on Science to Support Actions to Protect Old Growth Forests

Announcement Follows Letters Urging USDA, DOI to Include Old Growth Protection in Climate Resilience Strategies

PORTLAND – Today, Senator Ron Wyden (OR), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), and Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04) commended the Biden Administration’s executive order to protect old growth and mature forests. The announcement follows letters sent in 2021 and 2022 by the lawmakers urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of the Interior to include protection for old growth and mature forests as part of the agencies’ carbon reduction planning efforts. 

Text of the letters are here and here.

“This is welcome news for our entire state heading into wildfire season with Oregonians counting on the Forest Service to marshal all its fire-reduction efforts ASAP as the needed complement to the fire reduction investments I got into the American Rescue Plan,” Wyden said. “Simply put, President Biden’s Earth Day announcement takes on the climate crisis increasingly threatening Oregon’s mature forests. This inventory and assessment will provide concrete, science-based data and give solid information for where to focus fire reduction efforts in the urgent need for more active management to restore forest health and resilience before we lose these treasures entirely.”

“Protecting old growth and carbon-rich mature forests is critical to our nation’s climate mitigation strategy. These forests are our most efficient and effective carbon sinks. They also provide critical habitat for wildlife, protect water quality and quantity, and increase wildfire resiliency. I am pleased the Administration recognizes this and is advancing protections for old growth and mature forests,” said Blumenauer.

“One of the best tools we have in the fight against climate change is protecting our natural world, particularly our old growth forests which are a leading source of carbon sequestration,” said DeFazio. “Millions of acres of old growth thrive in Oregon, and it should remain that way. I’m glad to see the Biden Administration take a step today to strengthen protections for the old growth and mature forests as part of their carbon reduction plan.”