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Tipton Wildfire Prevention Bill Clears Natural Resources Markup

Press Release

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Today, the House Natural Resources Committee advanced Rep. Scott Tipton's (R-CO) Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act (H.R. 6089), which would increase state and local control in proactively restoring forests to a healthy natural condition.

"The Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act would empower states to better protect their communities, species habitats, water supplies, and natural areas with preventative action to mitigate the conditions that lead to unhealthy forests and devastating wildfires," Tipton said. "The bill provides a direct role for governors, county commissioners and tribes in maintaining forests, additionally keeping in place the requirement on the Secretary of Interior to collect public comment under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003 (HFRA) before moving forward with projects."

During the committee markup on the bill, amendments offered by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Ben Lujan (D-NM) failed to pass.

"Today's opposing amendments contributed nothing new to the discussion. Mr. Grijalva's amendment served only to duplicate existing policy already put into place by the President's executive order, while Mr. Lujan's amendment sought to replace an effective state-based bill (Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act) with a bureaucratic amendment to HFRA, which fails to actually address the problem," Tipton said. "By increasing state and local control, the Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act aims to restore forests to healthy conditions, curbing the spread of bark beetle, protecting the natural environment, and limiting the dangerous conditions that have fueled our state's most devastating wildfires."

Background on the Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act:

The Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act of 2012, is the result of more than a year of committee work, meetings with the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other agencies, and Congressional hearings on forest management, including a hearing that took place earlier this year in Montrose, Colorado. Tipton introduced the bill last week with strong support that includes Colorado colleagues Reps. Doug Lamborn, Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner as well as Greg Walden (R-OR), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Don Young (R-AK), Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).

H.R. 6089 increases state control over forest management decisions in high-risk areas on National Forest Service lands and lands under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. By allowing governors, in consultation with county commissioners from affected counties as well as affected Indian tribes, to designate high-risk areas and develop emergency hazardous fuels reduction projects for those areas, states can better protect their communities, species habitats, water supplies, and natural areas and help ameliorate those conditions that lead to unhealthy forests and devastating wildfires.

In addition to providing states with increased discretion over the management of lands within their borders, the Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act would allow treatment projects to move forward under the streamlined review processes set forth in the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003. The Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act protects all valid and existing rights on applicable lands and preserves the current protection framework for wilderness areas and national monuments.

The Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act has been endorsed by:

* The Colorado Timber Association

* CLUB 20

* Colorado Association of Conservation Districts

* Commissioners from Routt, Montrose, Gunnison, Archuleta, Moffat, Dolores, Hinsdale, Jefferson, El Paso and Larimer Counties

* The Boone and Crockett Club

* National Association of Conservation Districts

* Farm Bureau

* Federal Forest Resource Coalition

* National Cattlemen's Beef Association

* National Association of Counties

* National Association of Forest Service Retirees

* National Shooting Sports Foundation

* National Association of Conservation Districts

* Public Lands Council

* Safari Club International

* Society for Range Management

* National Association of Conservation Districts

* National Forest County and Schools Coalition


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