Yesterday, Vicky Christiansen made her first Hill appearance as Forest Service chief, albeit with an “interim” asterisk. Her written testimony focused on fire funding and “active forest management,” aka, logging:
The funding and related work will support between 340,000 and 370,000 jobs and contribute more than $30 billion in Gross Domestic Product. Through the use of tools like the Good Neighbor Authority, with more than 127 agreements in 33 states, 20-year stewardship contracts with cancellation ceiling relief, and other internal process improvements like environmental analysis decision-making (EADM), the Forest Service will move forward to sell 3.7 billion board feet of timber while improving the resiliency and health of more than 3.4 million acres of National Forest System lands through removal of hazardous fuels and stand treatments.
The Forest Service’s FY 2018 Budget is the source for her jobs and GDP data. Here’s what the budget says:
The proposed Forest Service program of work is projected to contribute between 340,000 and 370,000 jobs in the economy and between $30 billion and $31 billion in GDP. A greater share of the economic benefit, up to 70 percent, is anticipated to be generated by resource use effects in FY 2018. While all resource uses are important to the nation, recreation and wildlife visitor use will continue to provide the single largest category of economic contribution.
Guess what she left out of her testimony? Yep, not one word about the importance of recreation and wildlife visitor use.