Magazine article American Forests

Washington Outlook

Magazine article American Forests

Washington Outlook

Article excerpt

Congress was moving on two important forestry fronts as its August recess began: annual appropriations for federal forestry programs and the 2002 Form Bill. Both hold prospects for funding and legislative priorities on which AMERICAN FORESTS and many of our community partners are focusing.

The House and Senate each have passed versions of the Fiscal Year 2002 Interior Appropriations bill (H.R. 2217) providing annual funding for the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, as well as other agencies related to the Deportment of Inferior. There's still time to let the conferees know how you feel about the funding priorities in the bills before they take action in September.

The Interior Appropriations bills in the House and Senate contain strong funding levels for cooperative forestry programs, as well as for wildfire management. The "marks" in both bills are equal to or higher than those proposed earlier by President Bush. Marks for AMERICAN FORESTS' program priorities include: S36 million in bath houses for Urban and Community Forestry; $60 million in the House and S65 million in the Senate for Forest Legacy; about $33 million in both houses for Forest Stewardship; $21 million in the House and $35 million in the Senate fur the Economic Action Program through cooperative forestry budgets, and an additional $12.5 million in both houses under the National Fire Plan budget; and, more than $9 million in both houses for the Pacific Northwest Assistance program. Although Congress gave strong marks to these programs it also included a substantial number of "earmarks," which designate funds for specific projects. For example, about half of the funds far the Forest Legacy Program and E conomic Action programs are earmarked for specific pro projects.

For wildfire management, the Senate largely adopted President Bush's proposals while the House further boosted funding to $1.3 billion, close to the total enacted by Congress lost year, minus emergency fire contingency funds. The House included $81 million for burned area rehabilitation and restoration, significantly more than the Senate's $4 million, and $227 million for hazardous fuel reduction, $18 million more than the Senate. …

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