Westerman seeks to amend forestry rules

Staff Writer

Arkansas Fourth District Congressman Bruce Westerman (R) is seeking to put federal forest management as a top priority for Congress in 2019.
Western stated on Twitter, “2018 saw some of the worst recorded forest fires, which is why I introduced an amendment to Natural Resources, hoping to ensure a 2019 focus on forest resiliency.” He went on to say, “Every Committee Democrat voted against it, which shows they’d rather toe party lines than accept common sense provisions.”
According to The Daily Caller, with this amendment, Westerman hopes to carve out jurisdictional authority for promoting “forest resiliency.” The policy has not been previously designated before, but it was thought and assumed that it would fall under the recently renamed subcommittee on forests, public lands and national parks.
“Promoting forest resiliency, including active management, timber sales and thinning, is scientifically proven to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire and stimulate new forest growth,” Western told The Daily Caller. “Committee Democrats have indicated that they want to find smart forest solutions, and this amendment is a chance for them to stand by that promise.”
In years 2017 and 2018, wildfires have caused historic damage and deaths in the U.S., costs to fights these fires has also skyrocketed. In 2017, it cost the federal government nearly $3 billion to fight wildfires, which was a historic high. Although the cost for fighting the 2018 historic wildfires has not been published yet, it is predicted be higher than the 2017 cost.
The Camp Fire of 2018 is recorded as the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California and the United States since the Cloquet Fire in 1918. The Camp Fire claimed 86 civilian lives and injured 12 civilians, and multiple firefighters. The fire covered 153,336 acres and destroyed 18,804 structures. Damages from this fire are estimated to be $16.5 billion. The fire was 100 percent contained on November 25, 2018, after 17 days.
Recently President Donald Trump threatened to pull federal funding for California’s forests if the stated did not adopt a more active plan for maintaining its forests.

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