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Congressmen request hearing on forest safety

Jan. 13, 2004

A congressional hearing on public health and community safety concerns has been requested by two Northern California congressmen.

Wally Herger, whose district includes Siskiyou County, and John Doolittle, whose district includes Modoc County, sent a letter to House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo formally requesting a hearing in relationship to the U.S. Forest Service's Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment and proposed modifications.

The plan amendment covers 11.5 million acres of federal forests in California's Sierra Nevada mountains. Although the Warner Mountains i n Modoc County are part of the Cascades, they are included in the region.

Herger, Doolittle and a group of bipartisan California congressmen sent a letter to Regional Forester Jack Blackwell last November claiming the plan does do enough to "protect lives and and property from wildfires like those that ravaged southern California."

"The situation facing our forests is nothing short of a public health and safety emergency," said Herger, who wants a congressional hearing "for better transparency and public comment."

"Such a forum could more effectively illustrate the benefits of common sense, environmentally sensitive thinning and other active management throughout our most fire prone areas," he added.

In his comments Doolittle said, "Our forests and communities are in desperate need of a common sense approach that allows for flexibility and real forest health management rather than more radical regulations. The plan amendment falls alarmingly short of addressing the rising threat of wildfires facing our forests."

- By Lee Juillerat





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