News from Representative Walden

   

Dear  Friend,

Another wildfire season is already upon us. While we have luckily seen a slow start this year, the Milepost 97 fire has consumed more than 13,000 acres and sent smoke into the Rogue Valley.  Last year, communities in Oregon suffered the worst air quality than any other city in the world, except Beijing, due to forest fires. We cannot—and should not--accept this as our “new normal.”

Adding insult to injury, fires last year burned forested areas that were slated for fire prevention work but sadly that proposed work was stalled for more than a year by bickering between the agency and special interest groups. While they fought each other, the fire did its damage. We must do better.

A lack of management has left us with overstocked federal forests full of fuel and just waiting to burn. Last year, I helped pass into law the most significant forest management reforms in more than a decade. We provided additional tools and funding to the Forest Service to more quickly implement forest management projects that will prevent fires, or at least reduce the damage they would otherwise cause.

These efforts are good first steps, but with as much as 80 million acres of forest lands nationwide in need of treatment, we must do more--and fast. That’s why I’ve worked closely with my colleagues to write the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2019. This legislation provides thoughtful, science-based tools to forest managers and streamlines the system so we can get our forests back in balance.  It would provide new opportunities to clean up the burned, dead trees where appropriate and while they still have value, and replant a new, healthy forest for future generations. Congress needs to act, which is why I recently wrote the House Natural Resources Committee, urging the chairman to move this important legislation towards a vote.

We must do more to get our forests back into balance, reduce the risk of wildfire, help them recover quicker after fires, and help our forested communities thrive. The Resilient Federal Forest Act will help accomplish those goals.  How much more dirty air and killer fires must people in the West have to endure?  It’s time to get these common-sense policies into law.

To stay up to date on my efforts to improve the management of our forests, I encourage you to sign up for my e-newsletters where I provide updates on that and other my other work at home and in Washington D.C.

It is an honor to represent you in the U.S. Congress.

Best regards,

Greg Walden
U.S. Representative
Oregon's Second District


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