Forest lands need Senate action

Published 6:37 pm Saturday, June 24, 2017

To the editor:

This year, more than 9 million acres burned, costing American taxpayers more than $1.5 billion in wildfire suppression costs.

It’s clear the current situation is neither fiscally, economically nor environmentally sustainable. It’s time for congress to pass solutions that result in better management of our federal forest lands.

Email newsletter signup

Forest projects are typically stymied by heavy-handed regulations that encourage federal agency paralysis and obstructionist litigation.

The cost of complying with these regulations is more than $300 million per year, and the regulations can add years of delays to projects aimed at reducing the threats of catastrophic wildfires, insects and disease.

To improve management of our federal forests, we need solutions, such as the Resilient Federal Forests Act that allows these agencies to move more quickly to thin at-risk forests before they burn up.

This bill has already passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate.

Our senators should support this solution, or other measures to promote active and sustainable management of federal lands.

Mark Raunser

Virginia Beach