Earlier this week, Oregon Wild activists urged Oregon Senators Wyden and Merkley, as well as others, to work to protect public oversight on public lands during the coronavirus pandemic.
We're happy to report that a coalition of House Committee Chairs, including Rep. Peter DeFazio, submitted a letter on April 1 to the Office of Management and Budget asking it to direct all federal agencies to reschedule or postpone public hearings and comment periods during the current emergency situation.
Yesterday, Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden submitted a letter to the Department of Interior asking the agency to halt all policy decisions and public comment periods unrelated to COVID-19. These are important steps in ensuring accountability for the actions of our federal agencies at this time.
As you know, information on what the public can do on public lands right now is confusing - some nation forests are closed, others are essentially closed, and almost all public access to these lands would contradict state orders to limit travel. We must all stay home and stay safe.
Unfortunately, this same logic has not been applied equally, with some land managers in the BLM and Forest service still planning and executing timber sales and proceeding with public processes that the public isn't able to participate in. Hopefully, the actions of our Senators and House leaders will make an impact on these agencies, and they will make the decision that is best for our public lands.
Feel free to thank our elected leaders for their support. You can reach them in the following ways: