PINEDALE – Last week, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) testified at a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to tout the benefits of passing his “National Forest Jobs and Management Act.”
According to Barrasso, the act would help restore the health of national forests and bring much-needed economic support to rural communities via timber jobs.
“The primary purpose of the bill is to solve the forest health and rural community crisis,” Barrasso said at the hearing. “The administration estimates that between 65 and 82 million acres of national forest lands are in need of treatment.”
A lack of active forest management, he added, has caused those areas to become “dangerously overgrown” and overrun by insects and disease. This results in increased fire threats, the costs of which have grown exponentially as the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) struggles with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA) compliance and rural areas grapple with stagnant employment opportunities.
“The committee recognizes timber harvest is a good thing, and we need to get the ‘cut up’ to help our forests and communities get healthy again,” he said.
For the complete article see the 02-11-2014 issue.
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