Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: USFS logging proposal would have negative impacts

I wish to comment on the informative op ed by Howard Jennings on Feb. 16th, 2023 about the effort to sequester carbon in old and mature forests in Vermont and nationwide. He says “This logging is unnecessary and unjustifiable economically or environmentally. Vermont’s private forests can supply all of the timber we need while logging younger trees. Worse yet, our tax dollars should not subsidize logging that hastens climate change.”

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to log nearly 12,000 acres of mostly mature and old trees in Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest east of Brandon. This massive “timber sale” is part of a management plan called the Telephone Gap Integrated Resource Project, which is larger than the entire City of Burlington! It would endanger the water quality of Chittenden Reservoir, introduce invasive species, and destroy habitat needed by threatened and endangered species. This is a highly destructive logging job and has been called one of the ten worst projects in the U.S. by Climate Forests, a national coalition of 120 environmental groups.

The public has through Monday, March 13, to submit a comment to the U.S. Forest Service for the Telephone Gap project. The USFS has additionally approved 40,000-acres of logging over the next 15 years, more than at any point in the past three decades. Please make your voice heard to stop or reduce the amount of logging! Please find time to do the following:

• Submit a comment (or several, if so inclined. There’s no limit to the number of submissions and I have sent two). Comment via this link: https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public/CommentInput?Project=60192. Language is important, so refer to “Old and Mature Forests,” not “Old Growth” forests since there is a difference in the definition.

• Please write to Senators Sanders and Welch and Representative Balint to urge them to save public forests, now with Telephone Gap, and in the future.

My grandchildren also care very much about their future! They are aware of what will happen if policies don’t change. Even my little 7-year-old granddaughter is passionate about Nature. My 16-year-old granddaughter, her brother and her friends have been in tears or hopeless when they hear dire predictions about tipping points on the radio. It is truly heart-breaking. I am convinced that the future of a healthy planet lies in the hands of our young people and that strides will be made once they are of a decision-making age. Please heed Howard Jennings’ call to action, to urge the current decision makers to move in the right direction before it is too late for our young people!!

Sally Jenks Roth

Bristol

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