More than 200 biologists, ecologists and other scientists are urging Congress to defeat legislation they say would destroy critical wildlife habitat by setting aside U.S. environmental laws to speed logging of burned trees at Yosemite National Park and other national forests and wilderness areas across the West.

The experts say two measures pushed by pro-logging interests ignore a growing scientific consensus that the burned landscape plays a critical role in forest regeneration and is home to many birds, bats and other species found nowhere else.

“We urge you to consider what the science is telling us: that post-fire habitat created by fire, including patches of severe fire, are ecological treasures rather than ecological catastrophes, and that post-fire logging does far more harm than good to the nation’s public lands,” they wrote in a letter mailed to members of Congress Friday.

One bill, authored by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., would make logging a requirement on some public forestland, speed timber sales and discourage legal challenges.

The House approved the legislation 244-173 in September and sent it to the Senate, where it awaits consideration by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The White House has threatened a veto, saying it would jeopardize endangered species, increase lawsuits and block creation of national monuments.

From The Las Vegas Sun: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/nov/04/us-logging-burned-forests-congress/