By Art Rodriguez
- The timber industry wants to cut down green trees instead of dead trees because they can only get top dollar for green trees. Saw mills will not buy brown trees that are bark beetle infested. Saw mills will not buy trees that have been down for a year or more.
- Sneaky politics have been going on with timber industry attorney, Steve Worthley, who is now a supervisor in Tulare County. The Tulare County Board of Supervisors changed an agenda item from a neutral stance to support a reduction in size of the Giant Sequoia National Monument.
- Almost in perfect harmony, the motion was called to a vote without allowing public discussion. In an unrehearsed and unified act, community members all stood up. No one was yelling or disrespectful, but a few community members asked to be allowed to speak. The chair of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors immediately called the Tulare County sheriff to remove from the Supervisors’ chamber the citizens who were not allowed to voice their comment in a public meeting.
- Let us not forget local Rep. Devin Nunes (R–Tulare), whose integrity is forever marked in history for refusing to investigate President Donald Trump’s possibly illegal ties with Russia and who stated arrogant support for resource extraction in the Giant Sequoia National Monument.
- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) was implicated as the driving force in the three resolution meetings held by local governments in support of the reduction in size of the Giant Sequoia National Monument. The Porterville City Council defeated the resolution. In Kern County, the resolution was pulled off the agenda thereby defeating it. Only in Tulare County did the resolution pass.
- The Giant Sequoia National Monument’s management plan allows for any active fire management technique needed to mitigate fire. The problem with that is there is no money to be made off dead trees, leaving the few good trees to be the mothers and grandmothers of the next generation. What follows some say could be a 90% loss of tree cover in the forest due to the extended drought and bark beetle infestation.
- The only thing the monument designation does not allow for is the super-rich to get richer by commercial logging. It is not hard to figure out who would stand to make financial gains if commercial logging was allowed. Conversely, there would be more and higher-paying year-round jobs doing prescribed burns and sustainable active forest management if the forest service is allowed to continue to do so.
- Resource extraction especially in the Giant Sequoia National Monument would further degrade the quality of Central California’s drinking water. The Southern Sierra Nevada provides 65% of all freshwater needs, from home consumption to the farm.
- The already cancer-causing drinking water, like that in the community of Arvin, would be further negatively affected by shrinking the monument.
- There is less than 4% of old growth forest left in North America to exploit; once you destroy that, you cannot get it back.
- Some of these trees alive today have been here since 1,000 years before the time of Christ.
- Lots of people today are easily intimidated by any sign of fire regardless of facts. Advocates of shrinking the monument are using the real threat of fire to scare people into believing the best course of action is to support the reduction in the size of the Giant Sequoia National Monument. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
- It is not only the timber industry looking to cash in on tree removal. It is also real estate companies and some AstroTurf and off-highway vehicle commercial groups as well.
- The giant sequoias need your help. Share and talk about this important issue with your friends and family. We don’t have millions or even thousands of dollars to spread the word. We are relying on word-of-mouth to inform the public about the actions of those we elect to represent the people.
Sign the petition now at https://petitions.moveon.org/ sign/protect-giant-sequoia or #SavetheGiants.
Art Rodríguez is chair of the Coalition Advocating for Pesticide Safety in Tulare County and Policy Coordinator at WildPlaces. Contact him at 559-359-0686.