Westerman Statement from National Parks, Forests, Public Lands Hearing

May 9, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) gave the following statement during a National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee hearing, titled “Wildfire Resilient Communities:”

“I wanted to read back the statement from Mr. Bey’s testimony. He said, ‘There is a practical solution. Through science-based risk assessments and land management strategies, there is a middle way between a complete hands-off approach – or the do nothing approach – and outdated forest management practices of extensive timber harvests that have created homogenized landscapes, making them prone to burning hotter. This middle-of-the-road strategy protects large trees and wildlife habitats, conducts ecologically-based commercial thinning of trees as the byproduct of restorative work, and reduces the risk to communities by returning beneficial fire to the landscape.’

“I couldn’t have said it better myself. You conveyed the message that I’ve been trying to say since I’ve been on this committee, and I know you’ve seen this work in the field. When we do nothing, when we make the decision not to manage our forests, we made a management decision. We have to know that. The forest doesn’t care what decisions we make here. They continue to grow and fill the growing space, and a ‘no’ decision is a management decision…

“We should fund state and private forestry at higher levels because that’s preventative medicine right there. A lot of the land in the WUI [Wildland Urban Interface] is not federal land, it’s privately owned land, sometimes small woodlot owners that have no incentive to go and manage those woodlots.”

Click here to watch the full statement.

Background:

Westerman introduced The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2019 on May 8, 2019. This bill would streamline regulations to improve the health of forests and rangelands, pairing sound science with active forest management practices.

Click here to read the full bill text.

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