Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler this week helped the U.S. House of Representatives advance a bill that aims to reform the care for federal forests.
The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017 includes measures to preventatively reduce the threat of wildfire, protect against insect and disease infestations and maintain environmental safeguards, according to a press release from Herrera Beutler’s office.
The bill passed the U.S. House on Wednesday.
“With the recent wildfires that drove people from their homes and scorched the habitat of countless endangered species, we are unfortunately reaping what was sown through 20-plus years of failed forest management,” Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, said in a press release. “Skamania County was once the envy of other counties; now it struggles to pay for basic police protection and essential school services, and we have diseased forests and declining wildlife numbers to show for it. The bipartisan bill we passed today begins to reform this complete mismanagement of our forests in a manner that focuses on healthier ecosystems while preserving environmental safeguards.”
Herrera Beutler said bill ensures public input will still be sought during the management of federal forests.
The bill will allow FEMA to transfer funds to the Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service when fire suppression funding has been used up. It will also prevent wildfires, encourage quick reforestation, speed up habitat improvement and incentivize and reward collaboration, according to Herrera Beutler’s office.