Local climate group supports bipartisan Save Our Sequoias Act

Submitted to the Tribune
FILE - A grove of Giant Sequoia trees grows in Mountain Home State Demonstration Forest outside Springville, Calif., on Tuesday, April 26.
AP file photo

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. —  In recent weeks, California’s sequoia trees have been under threat from active wildfires. The Washburn Fire, which burned more than 4,800 acres, prompted evacuations of nearby communities and a partial closure of Yosemite National Park to protect trees that are thousands of years old.

Threats like these underscore the importance of legislation like the bipartisan Save Our Sequoias Act, recently introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives and endorsed by Citizens’ Climate Lobby.  

“In just two years, California wildfires contributed more to climate change than the state’s entire power sector,” said Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), one of the bill sponsors. “The bipartisan Save Our Sequoias Act charts a new path forward in federal forest and wildfire policy to combat climate change and ensure the giant sequoias stand safely in their natural habitat for years to come.” 

This bill would protect and support sequoias in a variety of ways, including:

— Improving interagency coordination and codifying the Giant Sequoias Lands Coalition, which includes input from local and state government as well as local tribal leaders

— Requiring the completion of a Giant Sequoia Health and Resilience Assessment

— Expediting forest restoration projects by streamlining emergency procedures. 

“CCL is encouraged to see both Republican and Democratic House members working together on this legislation,” said a press release. “We appreciate Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) for introducing the bill, and we’re glad 21 more Democrats and 22 more Republicans have joined them as cosponsors.” 

In the United States, forests offset nearly 12% of America’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. Trees and forests could sequester even more carbon if we fully maximize their potential, but wildfires release stored carbon back into the atmosphere, taking us in the wrong direction, said the release. 

Added Deirdre Henderson, co-leader of the North Tahoe CCL chapter, “Protecting existing old-growth trees – and iconic natural treasures — like the sequoias is a piece of the climate puzzle, and we urge the House to pass this legislation.”

Source: Citizens’ Climate Lobby

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