Resilient Federal Forests Act Section-by-Section Summary

The American Forest Resource Council has a section-by-section summary of the Resilient Federal Forests Act. This is a complex bill with much to discuss and debate. Here are three provisions that you may have not heard about — yet:

Sec. 301. Establishes a Pilot Program for Utilizing Arbitration for Resolving Legal Challenges to Projects Carried Out Under this Act.

Sec. 905. Prohibits the Application of the 21″ “East side Screens” Requirements on National Forests east of the Cascades in Region Six.

Sec. 911. Technical Corrections to the O&C Act of 1937. Affirms the original 500 mmbf minimum timber volume requirement of the O&C Act by requiring the BLM to annually offer for sale the greater of 500 mmbf or the sustained yield.

9 Comments

  1. I thought this was interesting…
    https://www.nature.org/newsfeatures/pressreleases/resilient-federal-forests-act-of-2017.xml
    because (1) I didn’t think TNC usually weighed in to national forest policy issues.. and (2) seems like it’s a $ only approach and no tweaks to the processes (which I don’t agree with- Congress should be providing checks and balances on executive rulemaking/processes (the aggregation of years of processes more processes and somewhat random case law by the judiciary- if Congress doesn’t weigh in on a morass that has developed, they are not doing their job..

    IMHO this legislation is a mixed bag of potentially useful tweaks e.g. arbitration pilot, tweaks to Farm Bill CE’s, with things that seem over the top, repetitive or unnecessary.

    Do you, or anyone else, have any info on the Senate bills? If anyone belongs to an organization that has looked at this, please post what they/you came up with.

    • Congress should provide a check on agency policy development, but they shouldn’t hold fixing a compelling funding problem hostage to more complicated/controversial policy matters. (“Shouldn’t,” that is, if they care about fixing the problem more than they do about scoring political points.)

      • Republicans aren’t about to squander the leverage they have on the Democrats, especially on the fire funding issues. That seems to be a core of their thinking, during this Administration, on many issues. Since the Democrats want the fire funding fixed so badly, which concessions are they willing to ‘trade’?

        (No, I am not, and never have been a Republican)

        • So you probably can’t answer this question, but do Republicans also want fire funding addressed so that more funds are available for logging, or do they see emergency funds as wasteful government spending?

          • Some Republican Congressmen don’t want ANY new Federal spending, regardless of outcomes. If wildfires are ‘funded’ with ‘disaster dollars’, it comes out of the Federal budget, in one way, or another. Some people prefer that it solely comes out of the Forest Service budget, for their own ‘reasons’.

          • I am not a Republican — I’ve been registered as “nonaffiliated” in Oregon for years — but I count myself as conservative on some issues. So as a conservative and a forester, I want the funding for fuels-reduction and forest resilience treatments, some of which may include commercial logging. In other words, it’s conservation through active management, not simply getting the cut out.

            FWIW, “nonaffiliated” is the third largest “party” in Oregon.

  2. Here’s Bill Timko of NAFSR’s analysis (or you can skip to his last bullet which I highlighted in bold):
    Current thoughts:
    • Hope is fire funding fix language will be added to a FY 2018 Appropriation
    Bill (possibly an Omnibus Bill) towards the end of the year.
    • The fire funding fix language will be similar to the Wildfire Disaster Funding
    Act 2017 (WDFA 2017) HR2862/S1842 (also Simpson Bill).
    o Wildfire suppression expenditures in excess of 2015 ten-year average
    qualify for disaster funding through a budget cap adjustment.
    o This could add $300 million to non-fire programs if total FS funding is
    held at the FY 2017 appropriation based on the FY 2018 10-year
    average.
    • Fire funding language will in all likelihood include language on forest
    management.
    o House version expedites active management through numerous
    provisions including categorical exclusions, ESA consultation. See
    Resilient Federal Forest Act of 2017 (HR 2936), (Westerman Bill).
    o Senate will not pass Westerman Bill and is working on their version of
    forest management provisions.
    o Negotiations are likely somewhere between Westerman and no forest
    management provisions.
    o Senate will accept some forest management provisions to secure a
    deal on fire funding.
    o No one has guess on where this will fall.

    • To me, the clearest signal to Congressional action is the lack of funding to do what is proposed. They seem to think that the Forest Service can do so much more, without any extra funding or personnel. I’m waiting for the day when the Forest Service says they can’t do the work without more expertise. I say, let it all fail, so it can be rebuilt properly. That is the only way Congress will know it failed, miserably, due to partisan politics.

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