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Endorsements Mount as Tipton’s Healthy Forests Act Clears Subcommittee

July 20, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC –Rep. Scott Tipton’s (R-CO) Healthy Forest Management Act (H.R. 6089) continues to gain momentum, passing through the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands today, and garnering the endorsements of CLUB 20, the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts, the Colorado Timber Association, several boards of Colorado county commissioners and others.

The Healthy Forest Management Act of 2012, is the result of more than a year of committee work, meetings with the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other agencies, and Congressional hearings on forest management, including a hearing that took place earlier this year in Montrose, Colorado. Tipton introduced the bill last week with strong support that includes Colorado colleagues Reps. Doug Lamborn, Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner as well as Greg Walden (R-OR), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Don Young (R-AK), Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).

“The devastating bark beetle infestation, prolonged drought conditions, warm temperatures, and unnaturally dense forests have combined to create prime conditions in our forests for the type of catastrophic wildfires we have seen in Colorado this year and in recent decades. This is a Western emergency,” Tipton said. “It’s time that the federal government gets out of the way of active forest management, and addresses the unwieldy regulatory framework that systemically hampers progress toward healthy forests. By empowering states and counties to have a more active role in addressing this emergency, we can more proactively manage our forests, reduce future destruction from wildfires, safeguard water supplies and species habitats, and promote a healthy natural environment.”

“The Colorado Association of Conservation Districts finds this proposed legislation very reflective of the policies established by the Conservation Districts of the State of Colorado,” wrote the association’s president, Gary Moyer, in a letter of support. “We feel this legislation is a significant step forward in the efforts to properly manage the forests in this state.”

In the letter of endorsement from CLUB 20, Executive Director Bonnie Peterson wrote: “The process to authorize expedited hazardous fuels reduction needs to be driven locally to prevent the loss of life, property, infrastructure and livelihoods in our communities. Local communities and states need to be afforded the opportunity to enter into cooperative agreements with state foresters that allow them to provide forest, rangeland and watershed protection services on applicable federal lands.”

The Healthy Forest Management Act has been endorsed by:

Background on the Healthy Forest Management Act:

H.R. 6089 increases state control over forest management decisions in high-risk areas on National Forest Service lands and lands under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. By allowing governors, in consultation with county commissioners from affected counties as well as affected Indian tribes, to designate high-risk areas and develop emergency hazardous fuels reduction projects for those areas, states can better protect their communities, species habitats, water supplies, and natural areas and help ameliorate those conditions that lead to unhealthy forests and devastating wildfires.

In addition to providing states with increased discretion over the management of lands within their borders, the Healthy Forest Management Act would allow treatment projects to move forward under the streamlined review processes set forth in the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003. The Healthy Forest Management Act protects all valid and existing rights on applicable lands and preserves the current protection framework for wilderness areas and national monuments.