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LaMalfa Introduces RESTORE Act to Improve Forest Health, Mitigate Wildfire Risk

Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry, issued the following statement after introducing the Restoring Environments, Soils, Trees, and Operations to develop the Rural Economy (RESTORE Act), HR 2612, to provide new tools for the U.S. Forest Service to work with states on landscape-scale management projects to prioritize reduction of wildfire risk.  Congressmen Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), Bruce Westerman (AR-4), Dan Newhouse (WA-4), Dusty Johnson (SD-AL), and Rick Crawford (AR-1) joined as cosponsors of the RESTORE Act.

Rep. LaMalfa said, “Our forests are overgrown and in desperate need of more active management to prevent wildfires and promote forest health. Coming off one of the worst wildfire years on record, with over 58,000 fires and some 10.3 million acres burned, it is clear we need to take more aggressive actions to prevent fires. The RESTORE Act will cause states and the Forest Service to collaborate on landscape-scale projects which will streamline forest management activities, enabling more active management of our public lands. It is a significant step forward that I hope can gain bipartisan support as an important piece of necessary fire mitigation efforts.”

“For years, Democrats in Sacramento and Washington have blocked commonsense reforms to improve forest health while environmental groups have filed endless litigation to block forest management activities,” said Kevin McCarthy, House Republican Leader. “This, combined with drought, has made fire season an almost year-round occurrence in California. The RESTORE Act enables governors to identify the most at-risk forested lands in their states and request federal government collaboration on large-scale projects designed to reduce the risk of wildfires, remove dead or dying trees, and install fuel breaks on these lands. I applaud Congressman LaMalfa, who during his time in Congress has developed an expertise on this matter, for his leadership on this issue. Fires are not partisan – they do not discriminate between Republicans and Democrats. That is why for the sake of all Californians, I call on Governor Newsom and all of my colleagues in California’s congressional delegation to support enacting the RESTORE Act into law to help ensure that proper forest management is a priority in order to avoid a potentially disastrous wildfire season this year and in the future.”

“Forest health is critical to combatting catastrophic wildfires and restoring rural communities, but our forests are in desperate need of better management. By prioritizing reduction of wildfire risk and restoring ecological health, we can also have a positive impact on the environment,” said Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, Republican Leader of the Agriculture Committee. “The RESTORE Act is a natural solution to expand land stewardship and job creation, and I can’t think of a better forest health advocate to lead this effort than Congressman LaMalfa.”

“I want to thank Congressman LaMalfa for his leadership in introducing the RESTORE Act, which is an important step in our preparation for fire season,” said Placer County Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “We have a responsibility to protect our forests and our communities, and to do that we need increased coordination between states and the Forest Service. With the passage of this bill, the Forest Service will be better able to actively manage our public lands, both prior to fires breaking out and after they are contained. Forest management is a critical part of fire prevention, and I look forward to working with the Congressman and others on this issue.”

“The Plumas County Fire Safe Council strongly supports the Restoring Environments, Soils, Trees, and Operations to develop the Rural Economy Act,” said John Reynolds, Board Chair, Plumas County Fire Safe Council (PCFSC). “This bill will support the PCFSC mission to reduce the loss of human and natural resources to wildfire through landscape scale forest management projects.”

The RESTORE Act would:

  • Give the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to conduct landscape-scale forest management projects up to 75,000 acres at a Governor’s request
  • Allow the Secretary of Agriculture to only consider “action” or “no action” in preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • Ensure the selection of projects under this program is not subject to NEPA

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