The American Forest Resource Council (AFRC) today applauded the Department of the Interior’s (Interior) recommendation to modify the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. AFRC President Travis Joseph says the recommendation, if accepted by President Donald Trump, will help correct past overreach and ensure O&C lands within the expansion are managed as Congress originally intended.
“The administration’s reconsideration of the illegal Cascade-Siskiyou Monument expansion is a positive step,” said AFRC President Travis Joseph. “Congress already set aside these lands eighty years ago for the specific purpose of sustainable timber production in the O&C Act, and the President – regardless of party – doesn’t have the authority to rewrite the law. We filed suit against the monument expansion because President Obama’s proclamation violated the O&C Act and exceeded his Antiquities Act authority. We thank Secretary Zinke and Interior staff for taking a closer look at this expansion and we urge President Trump to take action to follow the law.”
Joseph said Interior’s recommendation to modify the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument will help restore trust in federal land management. In the few months preceding President Obama’s proclamation expanding the national monument, AFRC joined all three Oregon and California counties hosting the national monument, the Association of O&C Counties, the Jackson County/Medford Area Chamber of Commerce, the Oregon Cattleman’s Association, Southern Oregon state legislators and others in opposing the expansion.
Together they expressed concerns about impacts to private property; the loss of timber production to support jobs and timber revenues to sustain public services; and the need to actively manage forests that are increasingly threatened by catastrophic wildfire, insects and disease.
“We raised these issues with the Obama administration, the Oregon Congressional Delegation, and Governor Brown last year. We didn’t get a single response. We participated in the limited ‘public process’ to highlight our serious concerns about impacts to the local communities, mills, and workers. We were ignored – plain and simple,” Joseph said. “Interior’s recommendation gives a voice to those concerns while acknowledging the impropriety of an Antiquities Act proclamation that directly nullifies and contravenes an Act of Congress. Ultimately, this is about the law and who has authority over the management of our public lands: a president, or Congress.”
“We appreciate Secretary Zinke’s efforts to visit the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and speak with all stakeholders about these issues. AFRC and its members applaud his recommendations, and we will continue to pursue a comprehensive solution – legislatively, administratively and/or legally – to ensure the federal government follows the law and the O&C lands are sustainably managed as Congress intended.”