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 PRESS RELEASE: 2/8/06 Congressman Greg Walden

Udall Requests Hearing in House Forestry Panel on Recently Published Study; Walden Responds Affirmatively
Forests & Forest Health Subcommittee to hold hearing on recent OSU research

Washington, D.C. - In response to a request from Forests and Forest Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Tom Udall (D-NM), Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today announced that he will hold a field hearing to review scientific research conducted by an Oregon State University (OSU) graduate student recently published in Science relating to post-catastrophic event management on forestland.

"Representative Udall's request for the Subcommittee to take time to review the recent OSU research is reasonable and in keeping with our efforts to gain as much knowledge about forest management as possible.  We've held seven hearings on these issues already and commissioned studies from the Government Accountability Office as well.  The more we learn from our researchers, the better our decisions regarding legislation will be," said Walden. 

"It is also imperative that we make sure our researchers have the freedom to conduct their studies without political pressure or intervention," he added. 

"As a result of our prior hearings, it became obvious that there is a need for additional research on how best to manage our forests after catastrophic events.  That's why a large portion of the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act (HR 4200) is dedicated to research enhancements," said Walden.

In November, Walden, Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA) and Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth (D-SD) introduced The Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act, legislation that 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 their decision making processes. 

"Representatives Baird, Herseth and I are ardent supporters of both scientific research and academic freedom, and our commitment to more forest research is a main purpose of the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act.  It is, by all standards, the most comprehensive forest research bill introduced in decades," he added.  "As a result of the last hearing we held on H.R. 4200, we added language to require that peer review be 'independent, third-party peer review by scientific and land management experts' and we included a provision to create a dedicated research fund to insure that money is available for research and monitoring."

In addition to its focus on scientific research, HR 4200 would provide land managers with the tools and resources necessary to take responsible and timely action, where necessary, on federal forests after a devastating event such as a wildfire, hurricane, blow-down or ice storm.

Details for the hearing will be announced shortly.  More information on H.R. 4200 can be found at www.walden.house.gov or through the Library of Congress at http://thomas.loc.gov.

Walden is currently in his fourth term representing the people of Oregon's Second District which is more than 70,000 square miles of eastern, central and southern Oregon and includes nine national forests.  He was one of the original authors of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act which provides federal land managers with a quicker system to reduce the threat of fires around communities and throughout forests.

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