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Crapo Hails Passage Of Healthy Forests Bill

Historic Legislation on the way to the President

Washington, DC -Today the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate passed the conference report to H.R. 1904, the Healthy Forests Restoration Act. The House voted 286-140; the Senate approved the measure by voice vote. The landmark legislation aimed at improving the health of our nationâ??s forests will now be sent to the President for his signature. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry, Conservation, and Rural Revitalization, lauded the passage of the bill.â??This is a truly historic day,â?? Crapo said during a speech on the Senate floor. â??This bill represents several years of bipartisan work to improve the conditions of our nationâ??s forests,â?? Crapo said. â??It will cut through the bureaucracy that has prevented us from managing our forests. Expediting forest management decisions and placing reasonable limits on legal appeals will help ensure we can do the work that will protect our communities and forests. The bill allocates $760 million for fuels reduction efforts, enhances the publicâ??s involvement, and promotes community decision-making. In addition, it protects old-growth forests, assists private landowners in enhancing water quality, and addresses insect and disease problems through applied research and monitoring.â??This measure will help to protect communities like Elk City from the threat of catastrophic wildfire, and create jobs utilizing small-diameter wood products in Cascade, products that will go back into the forest to heal and prevent the scars from fires and floods,â?? Crapo added. â??I am pleased that we have been able to work together in a bipartisan fashion to build support for meaningful legislation to solve a serious problem and I commend a number of my colleagues for all their work including Chairman Cochran and my Idaho colleague Larry Craig.â??The bill embodies the legislative component of the Presidentâ??s Healthy Forests Initiative. The House passed its version of the bill on May 20, 2003; the Senate adopted its version on October 20th by a vote of 80 to 14. The conference committee approved the conference report on November 20, 2003. The Senate Agriculture Committee, where Crapo chairs the Forestry Subcommittee, approved the bill by voice vote in July. The bill passed by both houses includes a number of provisions authored by Senator Crapo and adopted during Agriculture Committee consideration and in the conference committee. As a conferee, Crapo authored the only amendment accepted, which concerns the use of forest biomass.# # #