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News from Congressmen Greg Walden and Brian Baird... 

 

House Panel to Consider Walden-Baird's Bipartisan Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act

House Committee on Resources will vote on H.R. 4200 during markup scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, March 15

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Washington, D.C. - Bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Congressmen Greg Walden (R-OR) and Brian Baird (D-WA) to give federal land managers the tools and resources necessary to responsibly restore forest health in a timely manner following catastrophic events in our nation's forests will be considered by the House Committee on Resources tomorrow, Wednesday, March 15.  The bill currently has 146 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.

"As chairman of the Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, I've held eight hearings on the issue of post-catastrophic forest management and talked with dozens of scientists who have spent decades on the ground working and studying in our nation's forests.  Time and time again I've heard from them that federal land managers need to have the ability - when environmentally appropriate - to move quicker after a catastrophic event destroys forestland.  The Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act will do just that, allowing land managers to follow expedited procedures if necessary to restore the health of a forest," said Walden.

"Equally as important, our legislation would enhance the pool of peer-reviewed research on post-catastrophic land management in our national forests to aid foresters, educators and policy makers in our decision making processes.  There is no be-all, end-all scientific report to guide us in forest management policy and we need a continually expanding pool of research to help steer us in the right directions for the wide array of forest types and events." 

"This is a responsible, common sense bill.  People use wood - to build homes, to make paper - and that wood needs to come from somewhere.  We can use wood from trees that are dead or dying, or from trees that are alive and healthy.  Furthermore, we can responsibly harvest wood here at home, abiding by environmental protections and creating jobs, or we get our wood from clearcuts in equatorial rainforests where the environment is far more fragile and environmental protection and labor laws are far weaker or even nonexistent," Congressman Baird said.  "This bill will enable - not require - us to utilize dead timber and responsibly restore the health and diversity of our forests after a catastrophic event like a fire or hurricane." 

The Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act earned early support from several conservation and local government organizations as well as respected individuals in the forestry community, including: Oregon State University College of Forestry Dean Dr. Hal Salwasser, Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth, former Oregon State Forester and natural resources advisor to Governor Kulongoski Jim Brown, the Society of American Foresters, the National Association of State Foresters, the National Association of Counties, the Chamber of Medford/Jackson County, Associated Oregon Counties, Communities for Healthy Forests, Jackson County, Deschutes County, Josephine County, and many others. 

The House Committee on Resources will meet on Wednesday, March 15, at 10:00 AM EST in room 1324 of the Longworth House Office Building.  Audio of the markup will be available on the web at http://resourcescommittee.house.gov, using the link on the left hand side for hearing room 1324.  More information on H.R. 4200 can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov.

Baird represents the Third Congressional of Oregon; Walden represents the Second Congressional District of Oregon and chairs the House Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health.

 

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