News from Congressman Westerman

Congressman Westerman's eNewsletter
Friday, June 12, 2015

 



I introduced the Resilient Federal Forests Act on June 4. This bill would utilize tools already available to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and provide protection to America's forests.

Prevention of wildfires is not a perfect science. Most wildfires are started by lightning strikes, so fires will always burn in our forests. This legislation encourages the restoration of land after a large wildfire by expediting the environmental review for the removal of dead trees to pay for reforestation, and requires an environmental assessment within three months of a wildfire. Additionally, it ensures that the USFS prioritizes reforestation of burned areas by mandating at least 50 percent of a burned area be reforested within two years of a fire.

This bill also incentivizes and rewards collaborative projects in communities connected to the national forests and speeds up habitat improvement projects for a variety of animals, including wild turkey, ruffed grouse, elk, deer, and other forest-dependent species. Collaborative projects are a great way to get all stakeholders--from the timber industry to environmentalists--at the table to come up with a plan to better manage the forests.

Unfortunately, groups often sue in the name of forest protection to prevent any sort of forest management from taking place, including collaborative work. My bill stops these frivolous lawsuits by requiring litigants to post a bond before their case can move forward. If the litigants lose their bond, the USFS can collect attorney's fees.

Perhaps most important to many states and their citizens is a provision in the bill which allows for new funding sources for national forest projects.

To continue reading my guest column in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, click here.


Ammoland: House of Natural Resources Committee to Vote on Forest Health Bill
Arkansas Business: Update: Comment Period Extended for Clean Line Project
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Into the Woods
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Washington in Brief
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Westerman bill on U.S. forest management gains ground
Cronkite News: House panel advances bill to improve forest management, fire prevention
Fox News: Freshman Class: Rep. Bruce Westerman (Video)
KNWA-TV 51 (Fayetteville): Congressmen Westerman and Conaway Introduce Accountable Recovery Act
Mineral Wells Index: Conaway, Westerman introduce Accountable Recovery Act
Russellville Courier: Lawmakers seeking more feedback
Talk Business & Politics: Congressional delegation asks for more comment time on Clean Line project
Times Record: Arkansas Delegation Wants Clean Line Comment Period Extended
Times Record: Forest Management Bill Passes Through Natural Resources Committee


It has been a busy week in Washington, as the Resilient Federal Forests Act went through the House Committee on Natural Resources for markup (click the video above to watch my opening remarks). The House also took several votes this week and the complete Arkansas federal delegation requested additional time for commenting on the Plains and Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project. Below are links to work I have done this week, followed by photos of constituents touring the Capitol during their visit to Washington.

June 9: Federal Lawmakers Request More Time for Comment Period on Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project
June 10: Westerman on COOL: "Allows Arkansas agriculture and livestock to fairly compete"
June 11: Natural Resources Committee Passes Critical Bipartisan Forest Management Bill
June 11: Westerman, Conaway Introduce Accountable Recovery Act


Sarah Darling of Hempstead County (center) and her family.

The Drake family of Hot Springs



Before coming to Washington this week, I spent Monday traveling the district. We made stops in Malvern and Hot Springs, where I was able to tour local facilities and meet with constituents.

 

Touring Acme Brick in Malvern with plant manager JV Isenhour.

Touring the new Garland County Jail in Hot Springs.

This is my first newsletter, but certainly not the last. Please forward this to your friends and family. And if you are receiving this as a forward, please be sure to sign up to receive my newsletter each week by clicking here

Thank you for allowing me to serve the citizens of the Fourth District.

Sincerely,

Bruce Westerman
Member of Congress

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