Washington, D.C.—Today, the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies held a hearing on the possibility of moving the U.S. Forest Service from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of the Interior.
Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands of the Committee on Natural Resources issued the following statement:
“In an era of climate change, I can see potential great benefit in consolidating the land management agencies by moving the Forest Service to the Department of the Interior,” stated Chairman Grijalva. “Climate change is the greatest challenge the land management agencies will face in our lifetimes, and working together across land management boundaries is essential. I look forward to continuing this discussion.”
Today’s appropriations hearing followed the release of a GAO study: Findings of GAO Study on Moving Forest Service to Interior.
The report supported that such a move had potential to improve federal land management. The consolidation of public land oversight under one department would help to clarify management missions and improve overall effective management programs. The report also looked at the Forest Service’s role in dealing with state and private land management and the expertise that its placement under Agriculture provide in dealing with farmers, ranchers and state foresters. The Forest Service and Interior agreed to the GAO findings. Interior commented that this move could strengthen its ability to work with state and private landowners to conserve endangered species, wetlands, and other resources.