Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Office– On July 15, Congressman Kevin McCarthy joined House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (AR-04) and Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) during a bipartisan forum on their bill, the Save Our Sequoias (SOS) Act.
The bipartisan Save Our Sequoias (SOS) Act is a comprehensive bill that immediately addresses the imminent threats facing one of the most iconic tree species on the planet – Giant Sequoias – by improving interagency coordination, utilizing robust scientific analysis to triage high-priority areas, codifying and streamlining emergency procedures to expedite environmental reviews, and providing land managers with critical new tools and resources.
Giant Sequoias live for thousands of years, and in their natural habitats, these trees historically only die because they become so large that they topple over.
Recently, these trees have been ravaged by California’s annual wildfire season, exacerbated by extreme drought due to misguided policies and regulations that have resulted in decades of inadequate forest management. In many places.
This is a crisis.
Congressman McCarthy’s remarked, “As we speak, over 1,000 firefighters are battling the Washburn Fire at Yosemite National Park – where more than 500 Giant Sequoias are at risk, including the world’s largest and oldest tree, the Grizzly Giant. This fire – like the countless others that came before it – are the exact reason that we have been able to come together in a bipartisan fashion to support the SOS Act, because this crisis is happening right now in our own backyard.”
Ranking Member Bruce Westerman said, “We need urgent action. When we think of something that has been around for millennia, it’s sad that we’re to the point where we need to act within days and weeks. We can’t wait until next year…For the love of these trees, for the sake of Americana, let’s do it now. Let’s work together in a bipartisan manner to do the right thing.”
Congressman Scott Peters stated, “If you are looking for an example of committed bipartisanship, this is it…Scientists tell us that we have a narrowing window of opportunity to protect our main trees and if we fail to act, we could lose the Giant Sequoias altogether…This bipartisan bill give us the best chance to save Giant Sequoias.”
According to Tule River Tribe Councilman William Garfield, “The [Windy] fire spread quickly – especially in areas where there was little to no previous prescribed preventative work known as “hazardous fuel reduction” to minimize fire severity…The ‘Save Our Sequoias Act’ is a long overdue effort to empower resourceful experts and stewards to employ critical resiliency efforts to combat the very real threat of fire that plagues roughly 70 Sequoia groves as drought conditions increase.”
“We have lost more than 1,000 Monarch Giant Sequoias, which cannot be replaced within the next three generations. Change must occur. NEPA and ESA reform is crucial to saving the remaining Giant Sequoia groves. A full toolbox, with operable tools, must be provided to the Forest Service and others to achieve active forest management to reduce wildfire risk and create healthy ecosystems.” said Ms. Denise England, Grants and Resources Manager, County of Tulare
“These wonders live for thousands of years, and in their natural habitats, the only way that they die is that they become so large they topple over.
“You know prior to three years ago, the only historical record we had of a fire destroying a Giant Sequoia was in 1297, but in the last three years, almost 20% of the Giant Sequoias have been destroyed by fires…
“If we do nothing, we can lose them all…”
“We must act now to ensure that we save them for future generations”