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American Forests Calls for Bipartisan Action to End the Shutdown

Over 22,000 Forest Service Employees Are Furloughed, Delay in Cost-Sharing (Matching Funds) for CFLRP and NFS lands are Preventing Forest Management Actions

Washington, D.C. (January 11, 2019) – The impact of the government shutdown, now entering its 20th day, is being felt by federal employees and far beyond Washington, D.C. Employees of the U.S. Forest Service and other federal employees all over the country have just missed their first paycheck due to the shutdown, putting unacceptable and undeserved financial stress on these hard-working public servants. 

But the cost to America’s forests is just as great. With the U.S. Forest Service’s more than 22,000 employees on furlough, essential forestry activities that protect communities from wildfire and other critical functions are being impacted. In addition to U.S. Forest Service personnel managing national forests, the shutdown also impacts federally-funded work by private contractors to mitigate fire dangers, and federal science experts who have had to step away from urgent efforts to find ways to make our forests more resilient to drought, pests and wildfire.

“American Forests helped to create the U.S. Forest Service in 1905, so we understand the importance of federal workers. This shutdown is putting unneeded personal stress on Forest Service employees and stopping important work that keeps our National Forest System healthy and resilient,” said Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests. “Our at-risk forest areas, especially those already vulnerable to wildfire, drought, pest and disease, will only be more at risk because of the work that is not getting done due to this shutdown.” 

Daley also noted the direct impact on American Forests, which is working under federal grants that will not be reimbursed until the shutdown ends. In addition to receiving federal grants, American Forests provides the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with cost-share funding for reforestation. Those projects have come to a halt. 

“American Forests and our corporate partners and private donors across the country are proud to raise funds that help replant trees on national forests and wildlife refuges,” said Daley, “So we have some standing to ask the federal government to keep up its end of the bargain. We urge lawmakers of both parties to end the shutdown, and to use other means to find consensus on our budget priorities.” 

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ABOUT AMERICAN FORESTS

American Forests inspires and advances the conservation of forests, which are essential to life. We do this by protecting and restoring threatened forest ecosystems, promoting and expanding urban forests, and increasing understanding of the importance of forests. Founded in 1875, American Forests is the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the country and has served as a catalyst for many key milestones in the conservation movement, including the founding of the U.S. Forest Service, the National Forest System, establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and thousands of forest ecosystem restoration projects and public education efforts.

MEDIA CONTACT

Lea Sloan | Vice President of Communications | 202.370.4509 (direct) | 202.330.3253 (mobile) | lsloan@americanforests.org

January 11th, 2019|Categories: Media Release|Tags: |