NACo testifies in support of the Locally Led Restoration Act before Congress

Author

Image of Joe-Jackson_0.png

Joe Jackson

Legislative Assistant

Upcoming Events

Related News

Advocacy

County Countdown – Dec. 18, 2023

Advocacy

County Countdown – Dec. 5, 2023

Forest

Key Takeaways

On November 14, Fremont County, Colo. Commissioner Dwayne McFall testified before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Lands in support of the Locally Led Restoration Act (H.R. 4717), sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.).

Here’s what is in the bill:

  • The Locally Led Restoration Act would improve relationships between intergovernmental partners and outside organizations, including the private sector, helping to reestablish healthy and resilient federal forests. 
  • The bill would improve the implementation of stewardship contracts to better support landscape restoration projects and create well-paying jobs in our communities. 
  • The bill would allow third-party contractors to propose their own stewardship contracts to the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management if at least 10 percent of the vegetation to be removed is salvage. The bill classifies salvage as beetle kill, dead or dying trees and wildfire kill. 
  • Crucially, this legislation does not change the established process for timber harvests on federal lands – it only makes necessary improvements to stewardship contracting. 

H.R. 4717 would help address the persistent threat of catastrophic wildfires and environmental pollution, particularly in western communities. 

The Locally Led Restoration Act would be a step towards effective forest management and wildfire mitigation because:

  • Our federal forests are currently overcrowded and unhealthy. Healthy forests usually have 50 to 80 trees per acre, while national forests in Colorado have between 250 and 300 trees per acre. National forests in other parts of the country have 600 to 800 trees per acre which serve as fuel for the next devastating blaze and release vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. 
  • With more than 46 percent of Fremont County’s landscape being federally owned, allowing counties to take on stewardship contracts would allow the county to take an active role in preventing the next mega-fire. 
  • Without proactive forest management, the low-value timber and vegetation in our forests will continue to pose a significant threat to the safety of our communities, economies and environment. 

Counties support federal efforts to strengthen the intergovernmental partnership and cooperative forest management practices:

  • Counties urge Congress to enact federal forest health legislation that facilitates co-stewardship and economic growth in the West.
  • The Locally Led Restoration Act will create a more sustainable method to implement stewardship contracts that benefit the environment, promote safety, create jobs in our communities and allow counties to take an active role in preventing wildfire disasters in our communities.
Tagged In:

About the Hearing

Fremont County, Colorado Commissioner Dwayne McFall testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources, emphasizing the need for healthy federal forests. 

Watch the Hearing Read the Testimony

Related News

Nina Waters, a Summit County, Colo. commissioner, discusses her county's work with the U.S. Forest Service to expand housing. Photo by Charlie Ban
County News

Housing shortage bedevils public lands counties, employers, feds

Restrictions on how the federal government can pay for housing for employees has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to work with a county to develop residential units, thanks to a farm bill provision.

THE_County Countdown_working_image-4.png
Advocacy

County Countdown – Dec. 18, 2023

Every other week, NACo’s County Countdown reviews top federal policy advocacy items with an eye towards counties and the intergovernmental partnership. In this week’s edition – our last County Countdown of the year – we are looking ahead to 2024, and some of the top policy issues for counties.

THE_County Countdown_working_image-4.png
Advocacy

County Countdown – Dec. 5, 2023