County commissioners testify before Congress on county role in public lands management, Farm Bill

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Key Takeaways

On March 8, two county commissioners delivered testimony before Congressional Committees on behalf of the National Association of Counties (NACo).

Commissioner Skip Brandt (Idaho County, Idaho) testified before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry at a hearing titled, A Review of Title VIII: Forestry Stakeholder Perspectives. Serving alongside a panel of public and private stakeholders, Commissioner Brandt discussed the county role in public lands management and shared a series of recommendations for how the 2023 Farm Bill can strengthen the partnership between counties and our federal partners in the successful management of our public lands. In his testimony, Commissioner Brandt emphasized the many challenges – and opportunities – that public lands counties face, including chronic revenue shortfalls, the growing threat of catastrophic wildfires, and how supporting stronger county participation in public lands management can lead to healthier ecosystems and more resilient communities. To view a copy of Commissioner Brandt’s written testimony, click here.

Commissioner John Espy (Carbon County, Wyo.) testified before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Forestry at a hearing titled, Promoting Conservation with a Purpose on America’s Federal Lands and Forests, to discuss how counties are best suited to assist federal land managers in navigating evolving management challenges. Commissioner Espy shared Carbon County’s experiences working with federal partners on its public lands and highlighted the need for greater opportunities for intergovernmental collaboration in public lands management. To view a copy of Commissioner Espy’s written testimony, click here.

Sixty-two percent of counties contain public lands within their jurisdictions. As leading public lands stewards, counties believe that environmental and socioeconomic values must be balanced through a philosophy of multiple use management that allows diverse activities on public lands to support local communities. Federal agencies must coordinate their management of public lands to ensure they are consistent with local visions of land use and natural resource management.

Counties stand ready to work with Congress and our federal partners to achieve our shared priorities for promoting responsible public lands and natural resources management that can serve the needs of our communities and the environment.

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