September 27, 2019

New Mexico Delegation Calls on Forest Service to Act Swiftly to Allow New Mexicans to Resume Use of National Forests

Lawmakers say USFS must work quickly so that traditional uses like firewood gathering, Tribal cultural activities, forest restoration and fire mitigation can resume alongside efforts to recover Mexican Spotted Owl

Lawmakers say USFS must work quickly so that traditional uses like firewood gathering, Tribal cultural activities, forest restoration and fire mitigation can resume alongside efforts to recover Mexican Spotted Owl

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján, Deb Haaland, and Xochitl Torres Small, wrote to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Chief Vicki Christiansen pressing the agency to take immediate action to comply with the law and allow the resumption of traditional forest activities on national forests in New Mexico.

“We write regarding the reported impacts of the recent pause of several forest activities on national forests in New Mexico as a result of the District Court of Arizona’s decision that the U.S. Forest Service is not taking the necessary steps to recover the Mexican Spotted Owl as required by the Endangered Species Act,” the lawmakers wrote.

“We strongly encourage the Forest Service and other parties to the lawsuit to work quickly to respond to the ruling and resolve a variety of issues, including, but not limited to, traditional firewood gathering, tribal cultural activities, and forest restoration and fire mitigation projects. We likewise strongly urge the Forest Service to undertake the action necessary to comply with the Endangered Species Act to allow the resumption of forest activities and minimize impacts to traditional uses and projects that improve the long-term health of the forest,” the lawmakers continued.

The USFS has provided a list of alternative locations for securing fuelwood HERE.

A PDF copy of the letter is available HERE.