Walden Calls on US Senate to Pass Forest Recovery Bill
October 4, 2006 -
Omak, Washington -
Congressman Greg Walden, Chairman of the House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health today at a hearing in Omak, Washington called for the U.S. Senate to act quickly upon its return after the elections to pass the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act (H.R. 4200).
"It's a disgrace that even before this year's record fire season, the Government Accountability Office determined that we have a million- acre backlog of federal forest lands that need treatment. It's the Katrina of our forests, and the Senate is failing to act," said Chairman Greg Walden during an oversight hearing on wildfire and recovery efforts.
"With this fire season's record scorching of landsincluding huge swaths of forested areasit's time to stop fiddling, change the law, free our foresters to respond like all other non-federal foresters can, and remove the burned dead trees while they have value. Expedited treatment will generate revenue that can be used to fund our schools, rehabilitate our landscapes and help us eliminate the backlog," said Walden. "As important, we can get a new forest started before the brush chokes new trees, thereby restoring desired habitat sooner and protecting our water sources quicker."
Walden, and Washington Democrat U.S. Representative Brian Baird, crafted the legislation after numerous hearings and studies. It passed the House this summer by a 243 to 182 bipartisan vote. "The Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act (FERRA) is the little brother of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA). If you voted for the strongly bipartisan HFRA, there's no reason you shouldn't support FERRA," said Walden.
"Teddy Roosevelt would be rolling over in his grave if he knew how badly his great Forest Reserves were being treated by those who think abandoning a burned area after a fire is stewardship," said Walden.