HERE IS A NEWS RELEASE FROM GREG WALDEN'S OFFICE:
WASHINGTON – The U.S. House today approved a historic forestry bill, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act (H.R. 1526), on a bipartisan basis. The bill renews the federal government’s commitment to actively manage federal forests to create jobs in the woods, improve forest health, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, and generate revenue for local communities to provide essential local services like schools and law enforcement.
During debate over passage of the plan, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) told his colleagues of the dire situation faced in Oregon’s forested communities because of broken federal forest policy. “While these federal forests surrounding our rural communities are burning, rural families are sentenced to live in poverty as the mills close, the jobs disappear, all because we can’t access our abundant and renewable natural resources on federal land. It’s clear the status quo is not working for families in our rural communities. This broken system has to change,” Walden said.
The bill contains the O&C Trust, Conservation and Jobs Act, a plan offered by Walden and Reps. Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader to deal with Oregon’s unique O&C lands. Their proposal would put people back to work in the woods and generate revenues to failing Oregon counties.
“We have worked though our differences and forged a balanced, common-sense plan that would create or save thousands of forest jobs in Oregon. We would ensure the health of these lands for future generations, and provide long-term funding certainty for Oregon’s rural schools, roads, and law enforcement agencies that lie within these counties. And it would stem the tide of endless litigation,” Walden told his colleagues.
Walden urged the House to pass this legislation to change federal forest policy. “The Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act will create prosperous communities and healthy forests. It will provide certainty for teachers and law enforcement officers. It will provide tools to our professional forest stewards to better manage our federal forests. It’s our opportunity to make federal forest policy work for Oregonians and all Americans,” Walden said.
Passage of this bill continues Walden's mission to make forest policy work for Oregonians. He has been a leader in the passage of the bipartisan Healthy Forest Restoration Act, the Forest Emergency Research and Recovery Act, and the FLAME Act.