June 30, 2017 | House Committee on Natural Resources
Thanks to years of neglect, the nation’s once flourishing federal forests have morphed into dense, dead and burned out wastelands. These overgrown, fire-prone thickets are increasingly susceptible to catastrophic wildfire, threatening the lives and livelihoods of countless communities. What’s even more disturbing than the escalating toll placed upon private property, human safety and the environment: it’s all preventable.
A growing chorus of Americans – including mainstream environmental groups – are acknowledging that active forest management can improve forest health, lessen the severity and cost of fires and protect communities and the environment.
Earlier this week, the Committee passed H.R. 2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, to solve America’s forest health crisis. To date, 95 conservation, forestry and industry associations support the bill. Here’s what they’re saying:Conservation Groups:
- “Active forest management is crucial to establishing healthy and sustainable forests and decisions for forest management should be based on sound science. As such, the common sense solutions offered in H.R. 2936 are imperative to the health and future of our nation’s forests and important to the NWTF to help achieve our objectives.” National Wild Turkey Federation
- “Our organizations which represent millions of hunters, anglers, recreational shooters and other conservationists express our strong support for H.R.2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017…Our nation’s federal lands play a vital role in maintaining the healthy forests that are resilient to threats at a landscape level from fire, pests, disease and insects… It is imperative that we work to restore wildfire-impacted lands for the ecological health of the immediate area and surrounding landscape, protection of the watershed, and economic vitality of the local communities.” Coalition of hunters, anglers, recreational shooters and conservationists
- “NASF represents the heads of state forestry agencies in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the US Territories... We feel the [Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017] would indeed create the end results our members support as our members want to see more active management of federal forest lands. Expedited planning and analysis, prompt response to catastrophic events, alternative dispute resolution, greater collaboration and less costly litigation are all outcomes that for which we strongly advocate.” National Association of State Foresters
- “The Forest Service welcomes legislation that expands the tool set we can use to restore our nation’s forests while staying within the boundaries and intent of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. Forest restoration projects provide rural jobs, mitigate the severity of wildfires, enhance watershed conditions, and ensure a variety of other economic, social and environmental benefits for the American people.” United States Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell
Fish and Wildlife Agencies:
- “The [Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017] is vitally needed to restore the health of our Nation’s federal forests on USFS and BLM lands... Congress mandated that the federal forests were to be managed for water quality, wildlife habitat, recreation and timber harvest… A return to active forest management will facilitate realization of all of the public values of federal forests.” Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
- “On behalf of the National Association of Counties (NACo) the only organization representing the nation’s 3,069 counties, parishes, and boroughs, and the Western Interstate Region (WIR), we write to express support for H.R. 2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017... Counties believe that active management of federal lands and forests must be done in a sustainable manner that ensures the health of our federal lands for generations to come.” National Association of Counties
- “The Resilient Federal Forests Act strikes a balanced approach in managing the national forest system by making more land available for logging in an environmentally sustainable way. Poor land management during the past 30 years has led to declining health of national forests. This has resulted in fewer jobs and productivity in the forest sector, fewer board feet of domestically produced lumber entering the market, and a marked increase in acreage ravaged by insects, disease and fire.” National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association
- “On behalf of the more than 140,000 members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), I am writing to express NAHB’s strong support for The Resilient National Forests Act of 2017 and express our appreciation to the House Committee on Natural Resources for continuing this important discussion on the health of our nation’s forest. Better forest management practices that are also mindful of environmental considerations will help strengthen the housing supply chain and promote affordable housing opportunities for all Americans.” National Association of Home Builders
- “H.R. 2936 is proactive, common sense legislation… It is scientifically proven that proper timber management and rangeland management through grazing is the key to maintain healthy forests and preventing catastrophic wildfires.” National Cattlemen’s Beef Association