Forest Management Legislation Moves Forward in the House
Package includes key concepts from Tipton’s legislation
WASHINGTON—Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources marked-up a forest management legislative package that incorporates key ideas from Congressman Scott Tipton’s (R-CO) Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act (H.R. 695).
The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015 (H.R. 2647), which was reported out of committee with bipartisan support, contains concepts from several previously introduced pieces of forest management legislation including Congressman Tipton’s Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act (H.R. 695), which seeks to empower state and local governments to have a greater say in hazardous fuels reduction projects on federal lands in their region, as well as simplify the overly complex and stagnant federal regulatory structure that has prevented many such projects from moving forward.
“Addressing the critical condition of forests on public federal lands remains a top priority for all of us in the Western U.S. The wildfire hazards in these areas, which have been compounded by decades of drastically insufficient federal management, present an environmental crisis that threatens communities, habitats, water supplies and infrastructure,” said Tipton. “This legislative package, which I am proud to have been able to work with my colleagues to help craft, takes a proactive approach to forest health that empowers states to move forward with critical forest management projects and removes bureaucratic hurdles preventing commonsense hazardous fuels reduction from moving forward. I urge my colleagues to move this swiftly through Congress—time is of the essence.”
Concepts from Tipton’s legislation incorporated in H.R. 2647 include:
- giving states increased control over forest management decisions in high-risk areas on federal public lands;
- extending stewardship contracting;
- providing expedited approval procedures for to remove hazardous fuel loads;
- providing expedited procedures to address insect, disease and deteriorating forest health conditions.
Tipton’s forest bill passed through the House of Representatives twice in the 113th Congress as part of former Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings’s Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act (H.R. 1526) and the Jobs for America Act (H.R. 4).