7:59 PM EDT

Jim Moran, D-VA 8th

Mr. MORAN. I simply rise to associate myself with the very thoughtful, insightful comments of the gentleman from Idaho, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee. We agree. The amendment should be defeated.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Broun).

The amendCment was rejected.

[Time: 20:00]


8:00 PM EDT

Colleen Wakako Hanabusa, D-HI 1st

Ms. HANABUSA. Mr. Chairman, this amendment is intended to have funds available to restore the Forest Legacy Program through the fiscal year 2011 level, as well as the fiscal year 2008 levels, of approximately $53 million. This amount is $83 million less than what was requested by the administration and $22 million less than what was authorized in fiscal year 2010.

The reason for this amendment is we cannot let this very important program in essence be eliminated by the present funding of only $3 million in the present bill before us.

The Forest Legacy Program partners with the States to protect environmentally sensitive forest lands. It is a partnership program in which States are permitted to accomplish this very important goal. It is a voluntary program that encourages the protection of privately owned lands and encourages the purchase of conservation easements without removing the land from private ownership. The easements then act to protect water, air quality, and habitats for threatened and endangered species.

This particular program is important for the State of Hawaii. We have more endangered species per square mile than any other place on the planet. We claim 75 percent of the endangered plants in the United States. We are the most unique archipelago.

One such project is called the Kainalu Forest Watershed, which is an easement that was bought to preserve 614 acres of strategic watershed. This was done in the year 2010. This area produces a large part of the freshwater that contributes to the recharging of the aquifer through the forests and the streams that are preserved and sustains the residents of Molokai.

Molokai may not be known to many of you, but in 2009, this island was made famous with the canonization of Father Damien, when he became St. Damien. This is the island that he so loved.

But this is not a program that only affects Hawaii. It affects many of my colleagues' States. For example, in Idaho, 720 acres called the Bane Creek Neighbors project, which connects to important ecosystems and critical wildlife habitats and important timberlands, were preserved, and it preserved grizzlies' and gray wolves' habitats for these in the future.

Also in Idaho, the McArthur Lake Wildlife Corridor, which basically protects 3,727 acres of critical private timberlands.

Utah benefited from it through the Dry Lakes Ranch, which protects not only the timberlands themselves but a beautiful scenic view and keeps the area pristine and whole.

As of 2010, almost 2 million acres have been so protected.

Now, it is important to realize that it is not taken from private owners, but it is in partnership with all the parties, including the States, to preserve these important habitats for the future.

This is the kind of program that we are always talking about and looking for, the preservation through partnerships--not just simply government going in and buying things. This is making it possible so some of the actual individuals and communities, the neighbors, for example, in Idaho are able to get together with government to preserve important easements.

It is for this reason, Mr. Chairman, that I ask for a vote in support of this amendment. [Page: H5644]

I yield back the balance of my time.