Daines calls on Senate to advance forest management legislation | TSLN.com

Daines calls on Senate to advance forest management legislation

Representative Steve Daines and a bipartisan coalition of House members are calling on the Senate to move forward comprehensive forest management reform legislation that will strengthen the health and security of National Forests and the communities that depend on them.

In a letter to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Mary Landrieu and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski, Daines and more than two dozen other Democrat and Republican House members called on the Senate to advance reforms that “increase state and local participation in forest management and improving forest health, give the Forest Service tools to streamline and expedite timber sales, and expedite access to salvage damaged timber following natural disasters.”

“Federal forests throughout our nation protect and enhance our water supplies, provide habitat for wildlife and offer amazing recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, bikers, fishers, hunters and snowmobilers. These forests also serve as critical resources for our nation’s timber industry, from loggers and sawmill operators to manufacturers of forest products and biomass and renewable energy,” Daines and the members wrote. “Unfortunately, forest fires continue to threaten and destroy our national forests, threatening our water supplies and wasting valuable resources that could be salvaged through improved management.”

The letter also notes reforms included in the recently passed Farm Bill, which provide the Forest Service with needed tools to improve forest health and streamline forest management and timber sales.

Under the Section 8204 of the Farm Bill, the State of Montana was recently permitted to submit a priority forest landscapes restoration plan, which if approved, requires the U.S. Forest Service to prioritize active management and restoration treatments within the selected regions—helping to address both the dwindling health of Montana’s National Forests and to spur Montana job creation through active forest management. Last week, Daines called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to quickly approve Governor Bullock’s proposed priority forest landscape plan.

Daines has successfully worked in the House to move forward forest management reforms that would create thousands of good-paying jobs and increase the health of Montana’s forests.

H.R. 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, which Daines joined Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings in introducing last April, works to help revitalize Montana’s timber industry and create thousands of good, long-term jobs, while addressing beetle kill, protecting the environment for future generations and reducing the threat of catastrophic wildfires in Montana.

While H.R. 1526 was passed with bipartisan support by the full House in September, the Senate has failed to bring the legislation forward for consideration.

–Congressman Steve Daines, Montana

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