By Jennifer Cressy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – HR 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests Act, was approved today by the House of Representatives. The measure includes an amendment by Congressman McClintock to allow the burned timber from the 2013 fire areas to be salvaged in an expedited manner. McClintock’s amendment was adopted by a vote of 243-172.
“This measure has taken on poignant and crucial importance to my district in the Sierra Nevada of California, where the Yosemite Rim Fire has burned through hundreds of square miles of forest land,” said Congressman McClintock. “Salvaging the timber will provide for an economic lifeline to communities already devastated by this fire as local mills can be brought to full employment salvaging the timber.”
An estimated 1 billion board feet of fire-killed timber can still be salvaged out of forests that have been devastated by the Yosemite Rim Fire. Immediate action is required, however, because after a short period of time the timber declines until it becomes unsalvageable. The amendment authored by Congressman McClintock streamlines the process by waiving judicial review of salvage plans for the 2013 fires.
A second amendment by the congressman to H.R. 1526 was also approved by a vote of 249-166. That amendment guarantees that the public will have a full opportunity to comment before the U.S. Forest Service decides to close or destroy a forest road.
Among other things the forest legislation, H.R. 1526, streamlines regulations and refocuses the Forest Service’s mission on sound forest management practices, meaning environmentally healthier forests and economically healthier communities. The bill also includes a one-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools program to maintain an important lifeline to counties as the Forest Service transitions back to productive timber management.
H.R. 1526 next goes to the United States Senate.