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July 10th, 2008
Bill to Restore Federal Forest Land Heard in House Committee

Today, Representative Grijalva chaired a hearing in the subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.  Among the bills considered was the HR 5263, the Forest Landscape Restoration Act.

Representative Grijalva introduced the Forest Landscape Restoration Act in February in conjunction with a companion bill introduced by Senator Bingaman from New Mexico.  The bill establishes the “Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program” to develop, select, and fund landscape-scale forest restoration projects on Federal lands.  This would include 10 collaborative forest restoration projects annually on a landscape-scale of at least 50,000 acres of federal lands.

“We have a responsibility to focus on restoring the ecological integrity of our federal lands,” stated Rep. Grijalva.  “Restoration proposals must address a number of key ecological restoration components, including improving fish and wildlife habitat, improving water quality, maintaining and decommissioning roads, and addressing invasive species problems.”

The legislation creates a collaborative process that relies on the best-available science to plan and prioritize landscape restoration efforts on National Forests and Bureau of Land Management lands.  The collaborative process is required for the development of the project and implementation, playing a key role in project execution, monitoring and reporting. 

“As we continue to see an increase of wildland fire, we must reduce the threat and control escalating fire management costs,” declared Rep. Grijalva.  “We must commit to healthy forests by addressing forest thinning to reduce hazardous fuels and analyze anticipated reductions in wildfire management cost.”

Furthermore, the legislation encourages the use of forest restoration byproducts to foster local economic development.  This bill encourages biomass utilization and development of small businesses in rural public land communities. 

“I look forward to seeing this bill continue through the legislative process, as the Senate has already reported the companion legislation,” stated Rep. Grijalva.  “Our federal lands are in need of ecological restoration, which would help us accomplish the goals of restoring the ecological integrity of our federal lands, reducing the threat of wildland fire, fostering community collaboration and involvement, and creating jobs in rural communities.”


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