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Counties, Forestry Councils, and Schools Call for Passage of H.R. 1526, Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 19, 2013 - Today the House of Representatives will begin consideration of H.R. 1526, Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, legislation that renews the federal government’s commitment to manage federal forests for the benefit of rural schools and counties and to improve forest health. The bill is supported by over 140 local and national organizations, including 68 counties in 17 different states. National County Organizations, Forestry Councils, County Board of Supervisors, Schools Superintendents and Sheriffs all agree that H.R. 5126 is needed to restore active forest management and protect American jobs and rural communities.

The Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act will create over 200,000 direct and indirect jobs; provide stable funding for counties to use for education and infrastructure; improve local management of our federal forests; and help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires.

What They’re Saying about H.R. 1526:

National Association of Counties
“NACo applauds the Committee’s commitment to addressing job creation and enhancement of rural forest economies by addressing the Federal governments continued inability to effectively manage our federal lands. The management provisions in H.R. 1526 will provide a long term solution to ensuring sustainable revenue sharing with forested counties. NACo strongly believes that pursuing management and restoration of the nation’s forests will generate tremendous environmental and social benefits and create needed jobs and revenue for rural economies.”

American Loggers Council
“Nationwide, our National Forests continue to be plagued by catastrophic wildfire, and insect and disease infestations while our timber dependent communities continue to cut services that were once provided through funding through the 25% Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. The PILT program has been replaced by Secure Rural Schools (SRS) payments; a payment which is perceived by many as a “bandaid” that covers the wound, but does not heal the cut. SRS needs to be replaced by an effective treatment, and H.R. 1526 can be the beginning of that treatment.”

Americans for Responsible Recreational Access
“The Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act will make Forests less susceptible to devastating wildfires by ensuring responsible timber production on areas that have been specifically identified as timber harvest areas. This common sense approach will lead to more active management and healthier Forests and rural economies, and ultimately allow our National Forests to continue to be the Land of Many Uses.”

Western States Sheriff’s Association
“A phrase such as ‘money does not grow on trees’ is quite often over used. However in America’s National forests money and jobs do grow on trees. Unfortunately a failed Federal Forest management system has led to the loss of thousands of family wage jabs and has left our rural forested counties with a myriad of social and economic problems we do not deserve. (H.R. 1526) provides a common sense approach for returning to sustainable forest management where the planned harvest can occur in a reasonable amount of time.”

Klickitat, Washington, County Board of Commissioners
“From our perspective, there are at least three reoccurring themes hindering sustainable forest management: First is of funding to prepare sales, second is the environmental analysis and review time for management activities, and third is litigation that stalls or totally stops much of the harvest that badly needs to be done. H.R. 1526 addresses all of these issues. It provides a common sense approach for returning to sustainable forest management.”

Mount Shasta High School, California
“Our schools are responsible for providing the best possible education to our children. That is a real challenge when the Federal Forest produces little to no timber sales, the mills close and the family wage jobs vital to support a communities tax base disappear. I am not suggesting the harvesting of timber is the only value of our Federal forest. However, we can certainly have a sustainable harvest level that will absolutely provide the forest products industry with an adequate supply of timber to keep the mills open and badly needed family wage jobs in our community. The current condition is providing virtually no employment which has led to what we should all consider as an unacceptable rate of unemployment, free and reduced lunches in our schools and a number of other social problems. H.R 1526 makes common sense changes to current law that will allow for acceptable harvest levels and at the same time make our Federal Forests much safer for recreation and wild life we all enjoy.”

Town of Wilmington, VT
“An increase in sustainable forest management is essential if we are to ever provide the healthy forests that were envisioned by President Theodore Roosevelt. The forest mortality we are facing now is destroying habitat for wildlife, creating a catastrophic situation for massive wildfire’s that destroy everything in their path and leaving millions of acres of forests susceptible to massive bug and insect infestation.”

Organizations in support of H.R. 1526:

American Farm Bureau Federation
American Forest & Paper Association
American Forest Resource Council
American Loggers Council
American Sheep Industry Association
Americans for Responsible Recreational Access
Arizona Cattle Growers Association
Association of Arkansas Counties
Association of County Commissions of Alabama
Association on National Grasslands
BlueRibbon Coalition
Federal Forest Resource Coalition
Forest Products Industry National Labor Management Committee
Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association
Motorcycle Industry Council
National Association of Counties
National Cattlemen's Beef Association
National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council
Partnership For Rural America
Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association
Sustainable Forest Action Coalition
Specialty Equipment Market Association
Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
United Four Wheel Drive Association
Treated Wood Council
Wisconsin County Forests Association
Western States Sheriffs’ Association
Coffman Cove, AK
Cordova, AK
Cordova School District, AK
Hydaburg, AK
Juneau, AK
Kake, AK
Sitka, AK
Sitka School District, AK
Skagway, AK
Whittier, AK
Wrangell, AK
Yakutat School District, AK
Hale County, AL
Winston County, AL
Montgomery County, AR Judge Alvin Black
Yell County, AR
Heber-Overgaard Schools, AZ
Maricopa County, AZ
Mingus Union High School District, AZ
Navajo County, AZ
Navajo County, AZ Sheriff’s Office
Pinal County, AZ School Superintendent
Yavapai Accommodation School District, AZ
Yavapai County, AZ
Big Springs Union Elementary School, CA
Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce, OR
Butte Valley Unified School District, CA
Butteville Elementary School, CA
Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District, CA
Del Norte County, CA Office of Education
Delphic Elementary School, CA
Dunsmuir Elementary School District, CA
El Dorado County, CA Office of Education
Humboldt County, CA Office of Education
Johnstonville Elementary School District, CA
Inyo County, CA Superintendent of Schools
Lassen County, CA Office of Education
Lassen Union High School District, CA
Madera County, CA
McCloud Elementary School, CA
Mendocino County Schools, CA
Modoc County, CA
Mount Shasta High School, CA
Modoc County, CA Office of Education
Nevada County, CA Superintendent of Schools
New Day Academy, CA
Oakland Motorcycle Club
Plumas Unified School District, CA
Richmond School, CA
San Bernardino, CA County Superintendent of Schools
Scott Valley Unified School District, CA
Shaffer Elementary School, CA
Susanville School District, CA
Ventura County, CA Office of Education
Weed Union Elementary School District, CA
Yuba County, CA Superintendent of Schools
Gunnison County, CO
Hinsdale County, CO
Liberty County, FL
Clearwater County, ID
Freemont County, ID
Idaho County, ID
Shoshone County, ID
Valley County, ID
Winn Parish, LA Police Jury President
Mississippi Association of Supervisors
Newton County, MS
Scott County, MS
Wilkinson County, MS
Beaverhead County, MT
Fergus County, MT
Granite County, MT
Judith Basin County, MT
Madison County, MT
Musselshell County, MT
Pondera County, MT
Powder River County, MT
Powell County, MT
Public Lands Council
Richland County, MT
Sanders County, MT
Stillwater County, MT
Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce, OR
Crook County, OR
Lake County, OR
Marion County, OR
Tillamook County, OR
Wheeler County, OR
Lawrence County, SD
Stewart County, TN
Angelina County, TX
Houston County, TX
Montgomery County, TX Commissioner Mike Meador
San Augustine County, TX
Trinity County, TX
Walker County, TX
Carbon County, UT
Garfield County, UT
San Juan County, UT
Sanpete County, UT
Sevier County, UT
Utah County, UT
Washington County, UT
Town of Wilmington, VT
Chelan County, WA
Clackamas County, WA
Golden Eagle Charter School
Grays Harbor County, WA
Klickitat County, WA
Pend Oreille County, WA
Sen. Curtis King and Rep. Charles Ross, 14th District, WA
Skagit County, WA
Skamania Chamber of Commerce, WA
Skamania County, WA
Stevenson-Carson School District, WA
Washington State School Directors’ Association
Whatcom County, WA


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