Ribble Forestry Bill Passes House

Sep 20, 2013 Issues: Agriculture, Jobs and the Economy

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Reid Ribble announced that the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, H.R. 1526, passed the House today by a bipartisan vote of 244-173.  Ribble joined a handful of members of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committees in introducing the legislation in April.

Ribble worked on the Budget Committee to lay the groundwork for House action on this bill.  He and Representative Kurt Schrader (D-OR) authored a successful bipartisan amendment to the Budget Resolution to allow for House consideration of forest management legislation.

The following is a statement by Congressman Ribble:

“I am pleased that we were able to pass this important legislation today.  Since coming to Congress, I have advocated for active management of our national forests, including the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin.  Healthy forests provide many job opportunities and help our rural economy and our rural schools to prosper.  This bill will promote the use of our forests for timber production, which in turn supports Wisconsin’s paper sector.  I am hopeful that the Senate will soon begin consideration of this bill to continue the process.”

Facts about Ribble Legislation:

·     Requires the U.S. Forest Service to actively manage its commercial timber lands by producing at least half of each forest’s annual sustainable timber yield.

·     Requires the Forest Service to share 25 percent of receipts with the counties.

·     Preserves and streamlines existing consultation requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.

In response to H.R. 1526 coming to the House Floor, Wisconsin timber professionals gave the following statements:

“The Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association is very appreciative and supports Congressman Ribble's efforts to help rural Wisconsin strengthen its economy by increasing active management on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.  Having a steady supply of wood fiber from the national forest is a key part of creating a consistent, positive business environment for rural Wisconsin communities. The "Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act", H.R. 1526, is a positive step in the right direction.” – Mark Huempfner, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association

“Wisconsin County Forests Association (WCFA) applauds Congressman Reid Ribble’s efforts to help bring necessary changes to management of our national forests.  WCFA represents the 29 counties in Wisconsin with county forest lands established under state law.  Collectively our member counties manage nearly 2.4 million acres of public forest lands.  Eleven of our member counties contain acreage of national forest lands.  Changes in national forest management practices, including decreasing levels of timber harvest, have negatively impacted our rural communities and the entire state not only economically but also ecologically in the form of declining forest health and increased fuel loads.   We strongly support congressional action to improve forest health and sustainably increase productivity on our national forests while providing important, promised benefits to local communities.”  - Elroy Zemke, President, Wisconsin County Forests Association