Today, at a Senate Public Lands, Forests and Mining Subcommittee hearing, ranking member U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) spoke in favor of two important public lands bills: the "Good Neighbor Forestry Act" (S. 327) and the "Grazing Improvement Act" (S. 258). Both bills were introduced by Barrasso during the 113th Congress.
The Good Neighbor Forestry Act (S. 327)
"The Good Neighbor Forestry Act allows the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to enter into cooperative agreements, with states to get work done on the ground across ownership boundaries.
"This cooperative authority isn't new. It has existed for nearly a decade in two states, in Colorado and in Utah.
"I am sure we will hear today from the Administration witnesses that it is an effective tool to address the management challenges that we face --reducing wildfire risk, removing invasive species, preventing insect and disease, improving watersheds, and conserving habitat.
"These challenges know no boundary lines and are best tackled through integrated partnerships that this bill would facilitate.
"Our western forests would benefit from having this tool in the toolbox.
"This is common sense legislation and will advance the "all lands' vision for our forests."
S. 327 would allow the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to work with state foresters to complete projects that cross ownership boundaries.
The Grazing Improvement Act (S. 258)
"This bill would provide needed regulatory certainty to ranching businesses operating on public lands.
"It also provides key tools to the federal agencies to more efficiently process the grazing permit renewal workload.
"The measure would also extend the term of a grazing permit from 10 to 20 years and provide continuity for family ranching operations and the rural communities and traditions they support.
"In addition, the bill provides the agencies with a categorical exclusion, to satisfy NEPA requirements for the renewal, reissuance or transfer of a grazing permit in certain rangeland health objectives are met.
"These needed improvements to the grazing permit process are long overdue."
S. 258 helps ranching communities by preserving the use of livestock grazing permits. It allows the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service to continue issuing grazing permits while required environmental analysis is pending.