The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today unanimously passed Jaime Herrera Beutler's forest roads protection bill.
Last July, Jaime joined with Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) to introduce this jobs bill that would solidify 35 years of Clean Water Act protection for forest roads. The Ninth Circuit Court decided last year that every forest land owner must obtain new permits for forest roads on their land, undoing the 35-year protection and adding a costly and unnecessary job-killing rule onto employers and business owners. Republicans, Democrats, business and labor have joined Jaime in her fight to block this rule. The President signed a one-year protection from this rule in December of 2011.
"I'll continue fighting for this solutions-oriented bill supported by business, labor, Republicans and Democrats because it helps protect hundreds of thousands of forest industry-related jobs in Washington state and across the country," said Jaime. "We can preserve water quality and forest health, and we can do it without crushing businesses with this unnecessary permitting requirement. Permanently eliminating this rule once and for all would be a victory for an industry that provides good jobs to folks in Southwest Washington and elsewhere."
The "Forest Roads" Rule By the Numbers:
* The Forest Roads rule would cost the forest and forest product-related industries in the Northwest United States up to $883 million per year.
* Studies show that that Forest Roads affect less than 2% of the nation's streams and rivers.
* According the US Forest Service (USFS), the court's decision would require the USFS alone 10 years to obtain the 400,000 permits it would need for public lands -- at the expense of the taxpayer. Private landowners would face the same magnitude of regulations.
* Private forest lands in Washington state are responsible for more than 110,300 jobs and provide $4.9 billion to the nation's economy.