Take a few minutes this week and send an email (or call) your U.S. Representative to urge them to vote “yes” on the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017 (the “Act”). This week, the House of Representatives is slated to vote on the Act, which will give “the Forest Service the tools to improve forest habitat for big game, game birds, and other wildlife” and fix “the funding for fighting wildfires,” according to the Boone and Crockett Club’s (B&C) latest Conservation Policy Action Alert.
HR 2936 (aka the Act), which is sponsored by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), is backed by 25 national hunting and sportsmen’s organizations. According to B&C, the bill will allow the Forest Service to carry out multiple forest health projects of the same kind based on a single environmental analysis (rather than requiring them to conduct an analysis each time) as well as waylay some of the legal controversies surrounding development projects by allowing the Forest Service to rely on collaboration strategies. Additionally, the “Good Neighbor Authority” would expand to allow states to partner with the Forest Service. Also, if the Forest Service uses up funds already earmarked for wildfires during especially bad years, the agency could use disaster funds rather than funnel funds from other accounts like recreation or thinning projects .