House Agriculture Committee Approves H.R. 2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015

(Release) – Today, the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act, a comprehensive bill aimed at expediting and improving forest management activities in federal forests.

The bill builds upon the work of previous Congresses to address disastrous consequences of catastrophic wildfire, insect and disease infestations, and other threats to our nation’s forests. It also seeks to return resilience to overgrown, fire-prone forested lands.

“The Resilient Federal Forests Act will give the Forest Service more authority and much needed flexibility to deal with the challenges of process, funding, litigation, necessary timber harvesting and much needed management,” Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee Chairman Thompson said. “This legislation incentivizes rewards and collaboration with the private sector for management activities, while allowing for state and third party funding of projects. Furthermore, in order to reduce unnecessary process and improve agency efficiency, this act will provide the Forest Service new categorical exclusion authorities for commonsense projects.”

“I appreciate Rep. Glenn Thompson for his oversight and work on this issue as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry and as a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. The health of our national forests is declining, and by passing this legislation, we are taking an important step to change that,” Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway said. “This bill will expedite forest management activities in the National Forest System and Bureau of Land Management to promote healthy, resilient forests and prevent wildfires. With one-quarter of the 193 million acre National Forest System considered at risk for wildfires, we have to ensure that the necessary tools are available to keep our national forests healthy and thriving.”

“For some time now I’ve been concerned with the regulations stemming from lawsuits. Environmental groups have used the court system to twist laws against agriculture which then leads to policy changes decided by activists and bureaucrats. This “sue and settle” strategy means a less transparent, less accountable process,” Ranking Member Collin Peterson said. “This bill would simplify forest management activities as a means to reduce some of this behavior.”

For more information on H.R. 2647 or today’s markup, click here.

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