7:21 PM EDT

Peter A. DeFazio, D-OR 4th

Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, on that I demand a recorded vote.

The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Montana will be postponed.



The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 2 printed in part C of House Report 113-215.

7:21 PM EDT

Steve Daines, R-MT

Mr. DAINES. Mr. Chairman, nationwide, more than 73 million acres of Forest Service lands and hundreds of millions of acres of other Federal lands are at risk for catastrophic wildfire. As our timber industry has declined by 90 percent in recent decades, however, our National Forest System has lost much of the labor force to sustain our forested ecosystems and to protect our communities.

The Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act addresses both challenges, providing the Forest Service with much-needed latitude to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires while revitalizing our country's dying timber industry.

I'm offering an amendment to hold the Forest Service accountable for doing the work required in this legislation. My amendment would simply require the Secretary of Agriculture to submit to Congress an annual report. In fact, the amendment specifies this annual report is one page in length. Rarely do we see a report here in Washington that is less than about 3 inches thick. This is going to require that it's just a one-page summary, simple, focused on the results for each Forest Service revenue


On this report, we would report the annual volume requirements in effect for that fiscal year: the volume of board feet actually harvested, the average cost of preparation of timber sales, the revenues generated from such sales, and the amount of receipts distributed to each beneficiary county. The amendment would also require that the Forest Service place the report on its Web site.

The American people whose lives are often in the paths of catastrophic wildfire, whose jobs rely on access to timber, and whose school systems and public works rely on revenues generated from Federal land within its borders deserve transparency and accountability in our Federal Government's land management, and our country needs results.

My amendment brings all three principles to the Forest Service as the agency implements H.R. 1526.

I urge the adoption of my amendment.

7:24 PM EDT

Peter A. DeFazio, D-OR 4th

Mr. DeFAZIO. Well, the previous amendment was going to limit public access to information. Now we're going to ask the public, the Forest Service, to produce more information. Although, actually, we aren't asking them to produce more information. We're asking them to produce less information than they currently make publicly available.

It would require an annual report to Congress as a result of implementing title I, amendment requiring an annual report, volume of timber, cost of preparing timber sales, revenue from the sales, and how it's distributed to counties on one page.

Well, the Forest Service does prepare these reports on a quarterly basis--it is available online--but no, it's not one page. I guess we could put it on one page. I'm having trouble reading it at this scale, which is 18 pages. This is the 18-page report for the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Forest.

If we look at the report, they offer 3.4 million board feet of timber, the amount of timber delayed, withdrawn from sale, what was successfully bid on, what didn't get any bids. There are also quarterly cut and sold reports, showing the value of these sales. In the first quarter of 2013, the Beaverhead-Deerlodge sold $312,000 worth of timber, nearly all of it Lodgepole pine.

If we limit it to one page, we might lose other things, like the report on Christmas trees--$6,050 value for sales of Christmas trees; mushrooms, $1,500 in the Bitterroot National Forest.

So the Forest Service is already producing this information. They are posting it online. I know it's kind of de rigueur around here to say let's get it all down to one page. Well, we could put it on one page, but you're going to need a microscope to read it, unless you want to leave out a lot of the stuff we're getting. And that's kind of interesting, if you really want to know what's going on in the forest.

If you want to know valid bids, no bids, delayed bids, withdrawn, resold, re-offered, regular sales, cancelled, opted other volume, resold, re-offered, previous fiscal year volume, replacement volume, I mean, how are you going to fit all this stuff on one page? [Page: H5750]

So we're just going to tell them, ``Don't bother anymore to produce this data. We don't want it. The public doesn't want it''?

So under the guise of asking for information, we're actually going to tell the Forest Service to produce less, which, you know, they might be kind of happy with because they will be less accountable if they produce less information.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

7:26 PM EDT

Steve Daines, R-MT

Mr. DAINES. I appreciate the gentleman from Oregon's remarks there.

Let me say this. I spent 28 years in the private sector having managed complex operations. And so what this amendment does, it doesn't preclude the Forest Service from generating all the data in the format that the gentleman from Oregon referenced. What this is asking for here is a one-page summary, a dashboard, if you will, so we can see, kind of cut to the bottom line in terms of the numbers that I pointed out here.

So often in Washington we are drowning in data. We're starving for wisdom. This is a simple dashboard that cuts to the bottom line here of looking for the volume of board feet actually harvested, the cost of the preparation of sales, the revenues generated from the sales, and the amount of receipts distributed to the beneficiary counties. That's the one-page summary.

All the other data can be contained in the other reports for the perusal of Members and others who want to see it, but this just cuts to the chase to give a simple, one-page dashboard of what the bottom-line results are as a result of this bill.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

7:27 PM EDT

Peter A. DeFazio, D-OR 4th

Mr. DeFAZIO. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Well, the Forest Service isn't always responsive, but I believe if the committee chairman--in fact, I would be happy to join as the ranking member with the committee chairman and the gentleman from Montana and any other members of the committee interested in a letter to the Forest Service saying, Hey, you produce all this incredible amount of data. Some people think it's too much. So how about a one-page executive summary that covers these points, which would precede the other 18 pages online--they

don't have to print them, so there's no cost to the government--I think that might solve this problem.

I don't believe we need to pass a law to get an executive summary. I mean, most Federal agencies provide executive summaries of all sorts of stuff for people who don't have time or interest in knowing things in more detail.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.