Healthy Forest Bill Passes House
U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis joined a bipartisan majority of her colleagues in passing H.R. 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forest for Healthy Communities Act.
Lummis says the bill rededicates the Forest Service to proactive forest management, gives state and local voices more input, and provides stable timber revenue for rural counties. H.R. 1526’s reforms are designed to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and infestations like the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
Not everyone is applauding the bill though. Noah Matson, vice president for Climate Change and Natural Resources Adaptation with the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife, says it would come at the expense of water quality, fish and wildlife habitat and recreation. He adds that a report from the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill would mean $2 billion in additional timber sales over the next 10 years. But at the same time, the report estimates that counties would actually receive less government money than they do now.