Congressman Joe Baca today convened a hearing of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry, which he chairs in the 111th Congress.
Today's hearing reviewed the future of forestry policy within the United States. Testimony was heard from both government officials, and forest industry stake holders. Witnesses included: Jay Jensen, the Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the USDA; Clint Bentz, of the Oregon Tree Farm System and American Forest Foundation; Steve Koehn, of the National Association of State Foresters; Brian McPeek, of the Nature Conservancy; Dr. Tom Monaghan, of the National Alliance of Forest Owners; Jim D. Neiman, Vice President and CEO of Neiman Enterprises; and Matt Smith, of the Society of American Foresters, Falconer.
"With the beautiful San Bernardino National Forest bordering my district in California, I am deeply invested in creating policies that protect and promote our nation's forests," said Rep. Baca. "Today's hearing provided an excellent opportunity to explore the critical issues facing the future health of our forests, such as wildfire, water preservation, and climate change. By enforcing proper awareness of forestry preservation techniques, and strengthening our focus on biomass as a form of renewable energy, we can protect the beauty of America's forests for future generations of Americans to enjoy."
As Chair of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry, Rep. Baca was instrumental in authoring the Forestry title of the 2008 Farm Bill, legislation which made great strides in expanding forestry related conservation and renewable energy programs.
"As a Californian, I am particularly interested in how we can utilize forest land to better protect the health of our water sources and prevent future wildfires," concluded Rep. Baca. "We must explore all avenues in the fight against future droughts, and continue to work so our brave firefighters on the ground have access to the very best equipment in order to keep our communities safe."