Will work with Senate-House counterparts to finalize measure
Washington, DC â?? After several weeks of being stalled in the U.S. Senate, the Healthy Forest Restoration Act has been sent to a conference committee, and Idaho Senator Mike Crapo will serve on that committee. Although the Senate approved H.R. 1904 on October 30 on an overwhelming and bipartisan vote of 80-14, objections had held up appointment of Senate conferees until this morning when Senators Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), Crapo, Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota), Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), and Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) were named to represent the Senate, a critical step necessary to send the measure to the President. Earlier, House conferees were appointed on November 6, soon after the Senate passed the bill. The conference committee is expected to begin meeting immediately.â??I have been working with my colleagues, including Senator Craig, who has demonstrated strong commitment and leadership on this issue, for weeks to come up with agreement that would permit this measure to move to the conference committee,â?? Crapo explained. â??With the appointment of conferees, I expect that we will be able to move quickly to iron out any remaining concerns between the House- and Senate-passed versions of the Healthy Forest legislation. We must provide our forest managers with the tools to maintain forest health, protect sensitive ecosystems and old-growth forests, provide appropriate economic opportunities on the forest lands, and allow sensible hazardous fuels reduction efforts. It is critical to the health of our forests that this legislation be enacted before the Senate adjourns for the year, and I expect todayâ??s movement will allow us to do just that and send this bill to the President for his signature.â??Crapo has been a leader in the development and debate of the healthy forest legislation throughout this session. During the Senate debate in October, Crapo managed portions of the floor action. He serves as the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee of Forestry, Conservation, and Rural Revitalization, which holds jurisdiction over forest health issues.FOR INTERESTED MEDIA: A satellite feed with Crapo on the forest health conference is available this afternoon:1:45-2:15 p.m. Mountain Time/12:45-1:15 p.m. PacificC Band Galaxy 3Transponder 7 HorizontalDownlink 3840Standard audio 6.2/6.8A radio actuality is available by calling 1-800-545-1267. Press 327 at any time during or after the greeting and instructions. You can also access the actuality through the Internet at http://www.senate.gov/~src/radio.