Rep. Boebert Introduces Comprehensive Bill to Prevent Catastrophic Wildfires
Today, Rep. Lauren Boebert led 16 of her colleagues in introducing the Active Forest Management, Wildfire Prevention and Community Protection Act, to improve the health of our nation’s forests, remove bark beetle-killed trees, protect property, stop frivolous litigation, and prevent catastrophic wildfires.
Rep. Lauren Boebert stated: “44 large wildfires are currently burning more than 660,000 acres because of decades of poor forest management, radical environmental lawsuits, federal bureaucracy, and an emphasis on funding for suppression as opposed to active management. I introduced the strongest forestry bill in decades, and my Active Forest Management, Wildfire Prevention and Community Protection Act will fully fund the removal of trees killed by bark beetles, reform costly litigation processes used by radical enviros to halt responsible forest thinning, and assist rural communities by ensuring 25% of the revenues from logging in National Forests stay on the ground in counties that actively maintain their forests. This bill is fully paid for and will bring in billions for the U.S. Treasury. Instead of pandering to radical enviros, my bill puts rural communities first.”
Chairman of the Western Caucus Dan Newhouse said, “I am deeply concerned about the increasing frequency and severity of wildfires in the Pacific Northwest and across the rural West. As Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus, I am committed to addressing this issue and am proud to stand with Rep. Boebert in support of this common-sense legislation. Allowing for active forest management will help prevent catastrophic wildfires, protect our local communities, and improve the health of our nation’s forests.”
Representative John Carter stated: “Unfortunately, the country has witnessed the insurmountable devastation caused by wildfires across the nation, but with a more proactive approach, we can greatly reduce these catastrophes. I’m proud to join Representative Boebert on the Active Forest Management, Wildfire Prevention and Community Protection Act to implement targeted forestry management techniques that will improve the health of our forests and protect communities against destructive wildfires.”
Congressman Pete Sessions said, “As an Eagle Scout, I understand the importance of conserving the outdoors. We have seen the catastrophic damage caused by wildfires, particularly in California and Colorado. This bill will provide safety and stability to communities and increase the health of our nation’s forests.”
Representative Matt Rosendale stated: “Year after year wildfires ravage the west in large part due to a lack of proper forest management on federal lands. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Wildfire Prevention and Community Protection Act, which will be transformative in promoting active forest management and mitigating the risk of catastrophic wildfires. This commonsense bill is fully paid for and is a win-win for the taxpayers of Montana, and the nation.”
Representative Tom Cole stated: “Over the past several years, wildfires have devastated communities nationwide. Not only do these destructive fires cause untold damage to the environment, they claim hundreds of lives. In response to this situation, I am proud to co-sponsor the Active Forest Management, Wildfire Prevention and Community Protection Act. This legislation offers commonsense solutions for preventing wildfires as well as reducing lumber prices by rehabilitating the health of our forests.”
Congressman Tom Tiffany said, “The forest products industry is a key economic driver in Wisconsin’s 7th District. This bill provides proactive solutions to many of the challenges our nation’s forests face and will allow for active forest management to restore forest health and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires.”
American Loggers Council Executive Director Scott Dane said, “The American Loggers Council strongly supports Congresswoman Boebert’s Forestry Bill. This bill takes a comprehensive approach to addressing and mitigating the factors impeding healthy forest management and wildfire suppression. I recently participated in a six-hour helicopter survey of the aftermath of the million acres of wildfire destruction in California. From that vantage point the magnitude and scope was beyond description. Adding to the impression was the urgent private land timber salvage operations in contrast to minimal public land salvage and reforestation efforts. Unfortunately, with the current conditions the west is poised to experience a repeat of the previous years. It is time to take an all of the above approach to improving the health of our forests and reducing the negative environmental consequences, property losses and fatalities created by severe wildfires.”
Louisiana Forestry Association Executive Director C.A. “Buck” Vandersteen said, “The Louisiana Forestry Association commends Representative Boebert and her colleagues for addressing opportunities to actively manage forests, prevent insect and disease, reduce the threat of wildfire and produce an income stream to accomplish the task. It is past time to act but with Representative Boebert and her colleagues’ vision and perseverance, the nation can begin to accomplish great things for its forests.”
In 2020, the U.S. set a new record as 57,000 wildfires caused 10.3 million acres to go up in flames. Rep. Boebert’s district has already experienced five large wildfires this year, and nationally, there are currently 44 large active wildfires.
The bark beetle epidemic has infected all 8 of the national forests in the Rocky Mountain Region and has destroyed 45 million acres of forest including 15 million acres of Forest Service land. Bark beetles kill trees and turn them into fuel for wildfires—creating dangerous conditions throughout the West. Rep. Boebert’s Active Forest Management, Wildfire Prevention and Community Protection Act creates the Western Bark Beetle Epidemic Fund to remove dead beetle trees and reduce the risk of wildfire. This fund is fully paid for by the increases in receipts that will result from increased timber harvests authorized by the bill.
To prevent wildfires and protect critical infrastructure, Rep. Boebert’s bill authorizes the removal of hazard trees within 500 feet of electric power lines. This removes unnecessary bureaucracy and is a commonsense reform that will protect critical infrastructure and grid reliability for rural communities.
Rep. Boebert’s bill puts communities first by designating counties containing National Forest Service land as Forest Revenue Areas. Counties in Forest Revenue Areas will receive 25% of the revenue generated from timber harvests. Additionally, Rep. Boebert’s bill includes provisions that guarantee that PILT payments and Secure Rural Schools payments are not negatively impacted by the additional Forest Revenue Area payments. These additional revenues will allow rural communities to fund law enforcement, search and rescue operations, infrastructure, schools, and other essential services.
Rep. Boebert’s bill also includes litigation reforms that will prevent frivolous litigation and prevent environmental extremists from blocking hazardous fuels reduction and active management projects. These projects will boost rural economies and make our forests healthier and more sustainable for years to come.
Supporters of Rep. Boebert’s bill include: American Loggers Council, American Walnut Manufacturers Association, Arizona Farm Bureau, Arizona Power Authority, Arizona Rock Products Association, Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, Associated Oregon Loggers, Inc., Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition, Colorado Snowmobile Alliance, enCore Energy, Grant County Cattle Growers' Association (NM), Idaho Recreation Council, Jackson County Commissioners (CO), Less Government, Louisiana Forestry Association, Missouri Forest Products Association, Moffat County Commissioners (CO), Mountain States Lumber Dealers Association, National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association, New Mexico Federal Lands Council, One Voice for Off-Road Motorized Recreation, Protect Americans Now, Rio Blanco County Commissioners (CO), South Carolina Timber Producers Association, Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc., Sustainable Forest Action Coalition, Trails Preservation Alliance (CO), United Four Wheel Drive Associations, United Snowmobile Alliance, Elko County Commissioner and President of the Nevada Lands Council Rex Steninger, Delta County Commissioner Wendell Koontz, Garfield County Commissioner John Martin, and Montrose County Commissioner Sue Hansen.
16 Members of Congress joined Rep. Boebert in introducing the bill, including Reps. Ken Buck, Kat Cammack, John R. Carter, Tom Cole, Pat Fallon, Paul Gosar, Clay Higgins, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn, Tom McClintock, Barry Moore, Dan Newhouse, Jay Obernolte, Matt Rosendale, Pete Sessions and Tom Tiffany.
Read the full text of the bill HERE.