House Natural Resources Committee

Federal Lands Subcommittee

Using Wildfires to Justify Weakening Environmental Restrictions on Logging National Forests

1324 Longworth
Wed, 17 Apr 2024 14:00:00 GMT

On Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at 10:00 a.m., in room 1324 Longworth House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands will hold a legislative hearing on the following bill:
  • Discussion Draft of H.R. ___ (Rep. Westerman), “To expedite under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and improve forest management activities on National Forest System lands, on public lands under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management, and on Tribal lands to return resilience to overgrown, fire-prone forested lands, and for other purposes.”

Hearing memo


Panel I (Administration Officials):
  • Chris French, Deputy Chief of the National Forest System, U.S. Forest Service
Panel II (Outside Experts):
  • Cody Desautel, President, Intertribal Timber Council, & Executive Director, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Nespelem, Washington
  • Hannah Downey, Policy Director, Property and Environment Research Center, Bozeman, Montana
  • Jim Parma, Eastern Fiber Manager, Bell Lumber and Pole, New Brighton, Minnesota
  • Dr. Kimiko Barrett, Wildfire Research and Policy Lead, Headwaters Economics, Bozeman, Montana [Minority Witness]
From the GOP memo:
Unprecedented drought facing the West has further weakened overgrown national forests, leaving them extremely vulnerable to wildfire. Recent research has shown that some areas are experiencing the driest conditions in 1,200 years.7 These conditions have turned vast swaths of the nation’s forests into ticking time bombs that can ignite with a single spark. It is no longer a matter of “if” these areas will experience catastrophic wildfire but “when.”

“We know what needs to be done to turn the tide of this crisis and restore our forests to healthy, resilient conditions. Despite the fearmongering of increasingly isolated, radical environmentalists, there is a scientific consensus among a broad array of stakeholders recognizing the importance of active forest management. . . The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), in particular, is a major roadblock in improving the health of our nation’s forests.”