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Issue Overview

If managed wisely, America’s national forests can provide clean water, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and abundant domestic supplies of wood products and support rural communities and thousands of jobs in the timber industry. Unfortunately, this year’s wildfire season like recent past wildfire seasons, produced several catastrophic fires that have destroyed more than 9 million acres, resulting in the tragic loss of life and property. In many cases, however, it’s possible to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire through proactive, healthy forest management. While factors such as prolonged drought continue to raise the risk of wildfire, it is imperative that the federal government actively address the one issue within its control: hazardous fuels. Unnatural, overgrown, and unhealthy forests increase the risk and intensity of wildfires. Active management; e.g., thinning the forests, helps protect and restore forests while also helping local economies, and creating jobs. The inability of the Forest Service to thin forests due to overly cumbersome and lengthy environmental processes, increasing frivolous lawsuits filed by certain litigious environmental groups, and a lack of sufficient agency focus on this challenge has led to nearly 60 million acres that are at high risk of deadly and catastrophic forest fires that endanger communities, hurt local economies, destroy land and water quality and release massive amounts of emissions into the atmosphere.

Key Legislation

H.R. 2647 – The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015

Introduced by Reps. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Ryan Zinke (R-MT), H.R. 2647 is a bipartisan bill that addresses the fundamental barriers to forest health and the growing economic and environmental threats of catastrophic wildfire. H.R. 2647 includes tools that can be utilized immediately by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to dramatically improve the health and resiliency of our federal forests and rangelands. It simplifies environmental process requirements, reduces project planning times, and reduces the cost of implementing forest management projects while still ensuring robust protection of the environment.

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Latest News

Hearing Focuses on Bills to Protect Property Rights, Increase Federal Transparency

Today, the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans held a legislative hearing on two bills to increase federal transparency, safeguard private and state water rights, and provide certainty to water an...... Read more

Panel: Optimizing Rigs-to-Reefs Program Benefits Marine Ecosystems, Coastal Economies

Today, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on “Reviewing Recent State Successes with the Rigs to Reefs Program.” The panel focused on the environmental benefits of maintain...... Read more

Panel Calls for Active Management to Improve the Health of National Forests

Today, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held an oversight hearing on “Seeking Better Management of America’s Overgrown, Fire-Prone National Forests.” Members and witnesses called for a paradigm shift...... Read more

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Calendar

Legislative Hearing on Four Bills
Subcommittee on Federal Lands | 1324 Longworth House Office Building Washington D.C. 20515
Oversight Hearing on the Status and Future of the Cobell Land Consolidation Program
Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs | 1324 Longworth House Office Building Washington D.C. 20515
Oversight Hearing Examining Impacts of Federal Natural Resources Laws Gone Astray
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations | 1324 Longworth House Office Building Washington D.C. 20515
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