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April 21
Hearing Examines Forest Management, Payments to Counties
On April 11, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation held a hearing on the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act (H.R. 1526).  The bill would provide a short-term extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) as well as provide for increases in active forest management to improve the stability and well-being of forest counties and communities.

 

The bill’s sponsor, Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) stated, “Restoring active management of our national forests, as this legislation does, would ensure a stable, predictable revenue stream for counties and schools.  Acting management would promote healthier forests, reduce the risk of wildfires, and decrease our reliance on foreign countries for timber and paper goods.”

 

The hearing follows a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing (March 19) entitled “Keeping the Commitment to Rural Communities:  Options for reauthorizing and reforming the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act and Payments in Lieu of Taxes.”

 

While the Senate and House of Representatives may differ in their legislative solutions for future forest payments to counties, the National Association of Counties (NACo) will continue to urge leadership on both sides of the isle to act in a spirit of bipartisan and bicameral cooperation and work together to move a final legislative solution to the president’s desk.

 

The expiration of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination (SRS) Act in 2012 will create dramatic budgetary shortfalls for 729 rural counties if Congress fails to renew this federal obligation to rural county governments.

 

Contact: Ryan R. Yates​ 202.942.4207

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