WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 1, 2017) – In recent years, Washington state has experienced some of the worst wildfire seasons in state history. These fires impact health and safety, and destroy the environment. Today, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) helped pass the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, which would encourage active forest management and fix “fire borrowing” at the Forest Service.
“The Forest Service has warned us that our forests are in terrible shape,” said McMorris Rodgers. “When you don’t actively manage forests, diseased and dying trees serve as fuel for the next major fire. We’ve seen these catastrophic fires right here in Eastern Washington, and we must take action to protect our forests and reduce our risk of fire. This legislation proposes real solutions to create healthier, more resilient forests.”
Today, Rep. McMorris Rodgers spoke on the House floor in support of this legislation and responsible forest management. In case you missed it, you can watch her remarks here:
Note: Currently, at least 58 million acres of federal forests are at high or very high risk of severe wildfire. More than 1.1 million acres of federal forest are in need of restoration and last year, the Forest Service was able to treat less than 204,000 acres, a fraction of what is needed.
The Resilient Federal Forests Act includes language from the Congresswoman’s FORESTS Act of 2017. Building on the success of collaborative projects like the Colville National Forest A-Z project, this legislation calls for the Forest Service, local leaders, and private companies to work together to expedite environmental review.
The legislation also includes a provision that encourages widespread collaboration between industry, conservation, and research institutions on the future of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). Earlier this year, the Congresswoman introduced legislation to incentivize the use of CLT. Learn more about the bipartisan Timber Innovation Act here.
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