Rep. Schrier’s Bill to Clean-Up Damaged Forest Lands Passed Unanimously Out of Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Agriculture unanimously passed Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08)’s bipartisan bill to fund the remediation and restoration of damaged public lands. The National Forest Restoration and Remediation Act was introduced earlier this year with Representatives Matt Rosendale (R-MT), Joe Neguse (D-CO), and Doug LaMalfa (R-CA). This bill would allow the Forest Service to collect and keep the interest earned on settlement funds in order to supplement restoration efforts.
The bill now awaits consideration for a vote on the House floor. Rep. Schrier’s remarks on her bill can be found here.
“This is a commonsense, bipartisan bill that would allow the Forest Service to collect and keep the interest earned on settlement funds, much like other Federal agencies can,” said Rep. Schrier, during her remarks. “The Forest Service provides many important environmental services in Washington state, including mitigating wildfires and improving forest health. This is especially critical in places like Chelan County in my district, where over 80% of the land is owned by the Forest Service. My bill will ensure that we hold bad actors accountable for negligent behavior in a manner that provides the Forest Service with sufficient resources to protect our treasured public lands.”
“I was glad that the Agriculture Committee passed this bill unanimously out of Committee today. It allows the U.S. Forest Service to use the additional interest they gather on accounts to continue restoration work. The Department of the Interior already has this authority, and it is time that this is extended to the Forest Service. As the 2021 fire season draws to a close, we unfortunately have millions of acres that will need to be restored. I look forward to continuing to work with Rep. Schrier to ensure that the Forest Service has the authorities and tools they need to properly manage our forests,” added Rep. LaMalfa, Ranking Member of the Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee.
Right now, the Forest Service does not have the authority to retain interest on settlement funds like other Federal agencies, such as the Department of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency. The National Forest Restoration and Remediation Act would allow the Forest Service to retain interest on settlement funds and apply those additional resources to complete necessary restoration work. Without this additional funding, the value of settlement funds diminishes over time and the Forest Service can face long-term budget shortfalls for environmental clean-up.