Washington, D.C.— Congressmen Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Greg Walden (R-OR) joined together today to form the bipartisan Congressional Healthy Forests Caucus. The caucus is designed to advocate for the implementation of forest policies that recognize the important role America’s federal, state and private forestlands can and should play in our economic recovery and sustainability as well as providing solutions to environmental problems.
The caucus will be co-chaired by Schrader and Walden, who have invited Democrats and Republicans from across the country to join them in advocating for healthy forest policies.
“Many communities in Oregon and across this nation have been struggling for decades because of forest policies that don’t make sense in today’s times,” Rep. Schrader said. “Our forests can be managed in an environmentally-friendly way while also producing jobs and creating opportunities for renewable energy sources such as biomass and reducing carbon emissions through sequestration. Too often these potential benefits are overlooked when drafting forest policy; our caucus aims to educate our Congressional colleagues on the economic and environmental benefits of smart forest policy.”
“Flawed federal forest policies have exacted too steep a price on Oregonians in terms of degraded environmental quality, lost jobs, and decreased economic opportunity,” Rep. Walden said. “Congress should expand the strongly bipartisan and successful Healthy Forests Restoration Act, and fix broken policies that prevent the professional foresters from doing the prevention and post-fire rehabilitation work that the forests and rural communities so badly need done. This caucus will serve as an educational resource for members from both parties who want to do the right thing for the environment and America’s rural forested communities.”
Schrader and Walden listed the following as goals for the Healthy Forests Caucus:
• Maintaining healthy forests and healthy communities
• Creating green jobs in rural America
• Advocating for a clear and inclusive definition of renewable biomass and for equal treatment of biomass with other renewable energy sources through production tax credits
• Enabling on-site renewable biomass energy production to count towards renewable energy objectives
• Sustaining healthy forests, watersheds, and wildlife habitat not by lawsuit but by recognizing and encouraging forestry management practices
• Obtaining tax credits for actively managed forest activities that result in additional sequestration of carbon dioxide
• Reducing the potential for catastrophic wildfires through active forest management
• Increasing opportunities for green timber sales
• Supporting the efforts to secure adequate funding for the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management
• Highlighting the compatibility of our nation’s forest solitude opportunities with healthy forest management
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