November 9, 2005
Press Release

Plans to say H.R. 4200 is "...needed to help lower some of the barriers to responsible and successful recovery actions following catastrophic events

November 9, 2005 - Washington, D.C. -
The highly respected Dean of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University will tell a congressional subcommittee that the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act (H.R. 4200) is “ecologically sound.”
“H.R. 4200 is needed to help lower some of the barriers to responsible and successful recovery actions following catastrophic events,” Dean Hal Salwasser will tell the Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health during a hearing in Washington, D.C.
Salwasser will tell the committee that “…recovery must be timely to be successful.”  “There is no reason other than debilitating process requirements and obstruction that federal forest managers cannot also be timelier in their recovery actions while still protecting vital soil, water, cultural, fish, wildlife and recreation resources.  H.R. 4200 clearly provides for this through its assessment and environmental analysis requirements.”
In his prepared testimony, Salwasser will also tell the panel that “Clearly, removal of unwanted trees following disturbance events must be quick to avoid loss of economic value due to decay, usually in the first year, two years at maximum.  It must also be quick to set the stage for reforestation, which must also occur within the first two years for the highest seedling survival and lowest costs of managing competing vegetation.  For these reasons, H.R. 4200 is right to enable expedited decision making and public review.  States, Tribes and private forestland managers and conservation experts are routinely able to carry out post-event actions in such a timely manner to achieve successful outcomes.”
The Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act is sponsored by U.S. Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Brian Baird (D-WA), along with more than 100 cosponsors from both parties and from across the country.  The legislation comes after two years of hearings and study by the Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, which looked into the obstacles to recovery after catastrophic events on the federal forests.
“It is important to remember that the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act merely lets federal land managers respond quicker during an emergency to implement recovery efforts.  It waives no environmental laws nor does it overturn any court decisions.  It simply allows quicker action to implement what the underlying forest plans require,” said Walden, who chairs the Subcommittee.
The Subcommittee’s hearing begins at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in the nation’s capital.  Live audio will be available at https://resourcescommittee.house.gov (Room 1334).
Walden, 48, represents the people of Oregon’s Second District which is more than 70,000 square miles of eastern, central and southern Oregon and includes nine national forests.  He was one of the original authors of the successful Healthy Forest Restoration Act which provides federal land managers with a quicker system to reduce the threat of fires around communities and throughout the forests.