House Bill Would Expedite Forest Health Projects on Federal Lands
A bill making its way through Congress is designed to speed up the process of forest restoration and recovery projects on federal lands. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the Resilient Federal Forests Act would streamline the process of combating catastrophic wildfire.
The proposal has received initial approval by the House Natural Resources and Agriculture committees. It’s intended to give the U.S. Forest Service more flexibility to restore forest health and expedite thinning projects. It also opens the door for more privatization.
The Resilient Federal Forests Act is cosponsored by Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick. It would apply to all Bureau of Land Management, National Forest and tribal land.
Some conversation groups, including the Grand Canyon Trust, are concerned the bill does not address chronic federal funding shortfalls for wildfire prevention. They also say it would disregard federal laws like the National Environmental Policy Act and limit public input.
The bill now moves to the full House for a vote.