March 23, 2012
Contact: Maggie Kao, 202-675-2384
Sierra Club Applauds New Planning Standards to Protect National Forests
Washington, DC – The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service today finalized new planning standards to guide how America’s 192 million acres of national forests and grassland will be used and protected in the future. Eight national forests will be early adopters of the standards to provide Americans with clean water, sustainable jobs and abundant recreation for generations to come.
In response Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club issued the following statement:
"The Sierra Club applauds USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and the Forest Service for taking action today to protect our forests and grasslands. The new standards represent a victory for communities and families in the Western region of the country, half of whom depend on national forests for clean and safe drinking water.
“We’re especially pleased that the department prioritized science in their decisions on how to best protect our waters, wildlife and wild places for a rapidly changing future, and for the first time, these standards will require federal forest plans to address the effects of climate disruption on our nation's forests and grasslands.
“The finalized standards also include criteria to restore and protect the watersheds and waterways that supply about one-fifth of our nation's water – a move that’s good for our families, our health and our economy. Fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing and other outdoor recreational activities generate more than $700 billion for the economy each year and support thousands of jobs.
“Secretary Vilsack and the Forest Service’s actions today will help ensure that our forests will survive for future generations and give families from coast to coast the opportunity to explore and enjoy America’s natural beauty."