Tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representative will vote on the bipartisan Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017 (HR 2936) to promote active forest management on federally-owned forests.
This solution is needed to address the challenges facing our forests and communities:
- At least 58 million acres of national forest are at high or very high risk of severe wildfire.
- Over 1.1 million acres of national forest are in need of reforestation.
- Last year the U.S. Forest Service treated less than 204,000 acres, a small fraction of what’s needed.
- It typically takes 18 months to four years for federal agencies to develop and implement forest projects that help reduce the risks of severe fire.
- Forest Service employees typically spend 40 percent of their time doing paperwork instead of managing forests.
The Resilient Federal Forests Act gives the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management new tools to:
- Reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire, insect infestation and disease, and to protect municipal watersheds.
- End “fire borrowing” by allowing the Forest Service to access emergency funds when its wildfire suppression budget is exhausted.
- Remove dead trees after wildfires, creating new revenue to replant and rehabilitate burned forests.
- Create young and mixed-age forest habitat to support wildlife.
- Incentivize and fast-track forest projects developed by local collaboratives, usually consisting of conservationists, timber industry and elected officials.
- Provide an alternative to costly and obstructive litigation from special interest groups.
- Reduce project planning times and lower costs to American taxpayers.