Bipartisan Bill Addresses Catastrophic Wildfire

This week, the House successfully passed H.R. 2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, by a vote of 262-167, of which Congressman Paul Gosar was a cosponsor.

The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-4), is a bipartisan bill that will address the growing economic and environmental threats of catastrophic wildfire. If enacted, the bill could be implemented immediately by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to dramatically improve the health and resiliency of our federal forests and rangelands. According to Gosar, it simplifies environmental process requirements, reduces project planning times and reduces the cost of implementing forest management projects while still ensuring robust protection of the environment.

“There is no question that our current wildfire policies primarily focus on reacting to these devastating fires instead of working proactively to prevent more of them from occurring. Over 40 years of federal forest mismanagement has directly led to old forest overgrowth. It defies commonsense that only a fraction of federal land is treated every year by the U.S. Forest Service despite the proven scientific results of current forest thinning measures,” stated Gosar.

“Additionally, federal laws have enabled environmental extremists to block reasonable wildfire prevention programs, effectively putting their ideology over the well-being of millions of Americans. H.R. 2647 is a bipartisan, positive solution that seeks to end this dysfunction by strengthening collaboration between numerous local stakeholders and the U.S. Forest Service while stripping away incentives for environmental groups to file frivolous lawsuits. This legislation will streamline the permitting process for proactive thinning projects while still providing adequate resources for reforestation,” concluded Gosar.

“Rep. Gosar is in the right track with streamlining a common sense approach to healthy forest management. For too long our forests have been held hostage to enviro-extortionists who’ve driven policies that have fostered a very dangerous condition that sets up massive forest fires. I applaud him for his work,” stated Arizona State Rep. Mark Finchem.

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