House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) released the following statement regarding the Conference Report on H.R. 4348 -- the Surface Transportation Extension:
"This agreement includes several important, common sense measures to help create new American jobs, cut government red tape and provide the necessary resources for high-priority infrastructure projects vital to our economy. The bill includes essential reforms to streamline environmental reviews in order to reduce redundant and costly paperwork and regulatory requirements. This will allow proposed projects to move forward in a smarter and more efficient manner.
"The bill includes one-year extensions of Secure Rural Schools and Payment-In-Lieu-of Taxes. These extensions are temporary and we need real, lasting, and substantial solutions to Secure Rural Schools to restore active forest management and provide a stable revenue stream and economic activity for rural counties and schools. We will continue working towards this goal, and this bill provides more time to act. Finally, $1.4 billion in new, mandatory, automatic spending for the government to buy more land was not included as it harms rural communities and spends money that we simply cannot afford, especially when there's a multi-billion dollar maintenance backlog to care for existing federal lands."