In a continued commitment by House Republicans to responsibly manage our federal forests, today the U.S. House passed H.R. 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, with the support of Alaskan Congressman Don Young. This legislation will restore healthy forest management and promote economic activity to both replace the need for continued Secure Rural Schools (SRS) payments and reduce the risk of deadly wildfires.
"The statistics related to dwindling timber harvests on our federally managed forests are a travesty; down 80% over the last 30 years, and you can look to Southeast Alaska as ground zero for this decline. With the reduction in timber harvests, rural communities across Southeast Alaska have become dependent on diminishing SRS funds, creating uncertainty and hardships for communities and schools," Rep. Young said. "Today's legislation is a major step toward renewing the commitment to these rural communities by putting hard working Americans back to work, while also providing much needed funding to counties for roads, emergency services and our schools."
"Consistent with recommendations from Governor Parnell's Alaska Timber Task Force, this legislation would allow for the management of millions of acres of federal forest under state law for the purpose of creating economic development and funding our schools and boroughs.
"Our federal forests are being poorly managed and our communities are left dealing with the results. For too long this record of failure has been tolerated, but H.R.1526 offers a new solution, and is a good first step toward turning over timber management to the state and local governments, which the State of Alaska has shown it can effectively manage."
Alaskan Entities in support of H.R. 1526:
Sitka School District
Yakutat School District