On Monday, May 14th, the Subcommittee on Water and Power and the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands will hold a joint oversight field hearing in Montrose, Colorado entitled "Logs in the Road: Eliminating Federal Red Tape and Excessive Litigation to Create Healthy Forests, Jobs and Abundant Water and Power Supplies."
Requested by Colorado Congressmen Scott Tipton (CO-03) and Mike Coffman (CO-06), the hearing will focus on how overregulation and litigation are inhibiting active forest management. Healthy forests, mainly achieved through the ability to access and manage timber resources, are a major source of economic and recreational activity, support thousands of jobs, and are directly related to water quality and power supplies to the surrounding areas. The area around Montrose, Colorado has been significantly impacted by pine beetle infestation. Without proper forest management, the pine beetle epidemic in the area and throughout the West will continue to worsen, jobs will be lost, the risk of catastrophic wildfire will increase, and water and power supplies could be compromised. Witnesses at the hearing will identify current roadblocks to effective forest management and ways to reverse the damage that has been done to restore forest health and protect water and power supplies.
"The mountain pine beetle epidemic has ravaged millions of acres of forest land throughout the West including my home state of Utah. As a result, one of our country's greatest assets, our multiple-use national forests, has become a liability that threatens communities, wildlife, watersheds, and power supplies. There are viable solutions that are worthy of immediate implementation and if the federal government does not take swift action, it should get out of the way. This hearing will explore existing roadblocks to better forest health and the ways in which we can begin to restore our forests, reduce the risk of wildfire, and put people back to work," said Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01).
"The Subcommittee on Water and Power looks forward to receiving testimony from local experts on the impediments to abundant supplies of water and reliable transmission of electricity throughout the West caused by the long-term mismanagement of our national forests. This hearing will be conducted in an area that once prospered from the public lands that surround it, but is now suffering from the same disastrous policies of benign neglect and denial of access that have rendered communities throughout the West economically prostrate. The facts we gather in Colorado will facilitate the return of sound management practices of our forests and abundance to local communities," said Subcommittee on Water and Power Chairman Tom McClintock (CA-04).
"We know firsthand in Colorado that proper forest management makes all the difference in preventing devastating wildfire and preserving our state's precious natural environment. Healthy forests yield abundant wildlife habitats and quality water supplies, and attract tourists from around the world who come to enjoy the scenic natural beauty found in much of the West. Active forest management has the added benefit of providing much needed jobs and revenues for our local communities. It's critical that we have a responsible and common sense federal forest management plan in this country, and this hearing will examine what needs to occur to advance such a plan," said Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-03).