The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands held a hearing on bills that aim to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, restore forest health and insect infestation.
The Subcommittee examined the Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act of 2012 (H.R. 5744), introduced by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). The bill would implement a streamlined federal review process for forest health projects and expedite grazing and forest thinning projects that help to prevent wildfires.
The panel also discusses the Depleting Risk from Insect Infestation, the Soil Erosion and Catastrophic Fire Act of 2012 (H.R. 5960), which proposes expanding the authority of the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to enter agreements with states. The bill, introduced by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), also creates guidelines responding to insect infestations and disease on federal land.
Additionally, the Subcommittee is reviewing the Healthy Forest Management Act of 2012 (HR 6089), introduced by Colorado Republican Members Scott Tipton, Doug Lamborn, Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner. The bill would increase local control over forest management and wildfire prevention and allow states to designate high-risk areas and develop emergency hazardous fuels reduction projects for those areas.
Witness include some of the bills' sponsors, as well as representatives from the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.