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Public Statements

Wildfires and Forest Management

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PALMER. Mr. Speaker, sometimes overlooked in the debate surrounding wildfires is the importance of forestry practices intended to prevent the wildfires before they start.

The Resilient Federal Forests Act, authored by my friend from Arkansas (Mr. Westerman), passed the House in July with bipartisan support. Since then, there have been multiple fires, major fires that are raging across the country.

This bill would simplify and streamline environmental process requirements and reduce the cost of forest management projects intended to prevent catastrophic wildfires. The bill would also allow for quick removal of dead trees to pay for reforestation after large fires and prevent the incidence of reburn.

As wildfires continue to burn in the Western United States, with tremendous costs to people and property, it is important to note that these fires are literally sending billions of dollars of Federal assets up in smoke, depriving State government, local government, and the Federal Government of billions in revenues not just in wood products, but in recreation revenues.

I am a small forest owner myself. I understand the value of a healthy well-managed forest.

Mr. Speaker, America has already lost 9 million acres in valuable forests this year. Our forests continue to burn and more will be burned unless we act on this legislation. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to quickly pass this much-needed legislation and send it to the President's desk.


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