WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 13, 2017) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) joined U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and John Barrasso (R-WY), U.S. Representative Greg Walden (R-OR), and U.S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke for a press conference on the recent fires in the Western U.S. and the need to move forward with important forest management reforms to keep forests healthy and fix the budgetary issues facing the Forest Service.
“When we better manage our forests, we will help lower the risk of injury and death to our firefighters, the loss of homes, and so many others that are negatively impacted,” said McMorris Rodgers. “Fires don’t wait for people to evacuate their homes. Fires don’t wait for more federal funding. Forest fires act fast, and so should we. Our communities cannot wait any longer. Our lives and our homes depend upon it. So this is the year that I am hopeful, with everything that’s going on, we must come up with solutions.”
NOTE: In May, Rep. McMorris Rodgers introduced her own package of forest reforms, the FORESTS Act of 2017, to reaffirm the federal government’s century-old commitment to responsibly manage forest lands for the benefit of rural counties. This legislation works in four ways. First, it promotes active forest management by requiring the Secretary of Agriculture to establish one or more Forest Active Management Areas (FAMAs) in each unit of the National Forest System, and requiring the U.S. Forest Service to produce at least half of the sustainable timber yield in each FAMA each year. Second, it encourages public-private partnerships between industry, environment, state, local, and tribal groups to responsibly manage federal forests. Third, it reauthorizes the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program to continue the commitment of the federal government to rural communities by redirecting revenues from timber sales to be used for public schools, roads, and other municipal needs. Lastly, the legislation reforms the litigation process to allow projects negotiated by collaboratives to utilize an arbitration process to incentivize differing interests to work together on solutions to manage our forests.
Learn more about this legislation on the Congresswoman’s website here.
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