As wildfires burn in the West, Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert has introduced a forest management bill that she says could help prevent catastrophic wildfires.
Boebert described his bill, called the Act respecting active forest management, forest fire prevention and community protection, as the most important forestry bill in decades.
It would fund the removal of dead trees killed by bark beetles and make it harder for groups to go to court to stop forest thinning.
The bill also establishes forest reserve revenue zones – plots identified for the sale of timber that would raise funds for neighboring communities as well as go to the treasury. The minimum volume of lumber produced under the bill would be six billion board feet.
“Instead of bending to radical environments, my bill prioritizes rural communities,” she said in a statement.
Aside from the Western Bark Beetle Program, many provisions of Boebert’s bill are found in other bills as well. This is not unusual, especially when it comes to reviving the legislation of a member who has left Congress.
Where Boebert’s bill borrows from past legislation
The sections of Boebert’s bill dealing with reducing hazardous fuels and sending logging revenues to local communities are taken from legislation once passed by former Washington Rep. Doc Hasting. Former Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton, of whom she now sits, also withdrew wording from the bill.
Boebert added to the idea of the Hastings Forest Reserve by including a provision ensuring that any additional funds that counties receive would be in addition to PILT or Secure Rural Schools program funds.
The bill also models language found in legislation proposed by other current members of Congress. The idea of forest litigation reform was proposed by GOP representative Bruce Westerman in his Resilient Federal Forests Act. He has introduced this bill at the last two congresses and his office has said he will be proposing it again this year.
The bill also contains an idea for a collaborative prescribed burn program proposed by Democratic Senator Ron Wyden. Its language differs by including counties and states, and is subject to funding.
And closer to home, the idea for a Restoration and Resilience Partnership Program can be found in the Outdoor Restoration Partnership that Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Jason Crow proposed earlier this year.
A source familiar with the legislation said the office is still reviewing Boebert’s bill, but the inclusion of some of the terminology shows how much support there is for the Outdoor Restoration Partnership Act in the Western. Slope.
Boebert noted support for his bill, which included logging and logging groups, as well as support from the associate governments of northwest Colorado and the county commissioners of Jackson, Moffat and Rio Blanco. Colorado’s other reps, Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn, are two of its nearly 20 co-sponsors.
There is no Democratic co-sponsor at the moment, which could make it difficult to pass the bill in the Democratic-controlled House.