March 07, 2005

Crapo To Get â??On The Groundâ?? Forest Health Report In Advance Of Senate Hearings

Senator will visit Elk City Saturday; cites small-diameter project in Cascade

Boise - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo will visit remote Elk City Saturday to meet with local residents and others on forest health concerns and rural economic development issues in advance of Senate subcommittee hearings he will help lead on President Bushâ??s Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003. The bill, HR 1904, ReAgriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee. Senator Crapo is chairman of the Agriculture subcommittee that has jurisdiction over forestry issues. As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry, Conservation, and Rural Revitalization, he will take a leadership role in moving the bill forward when the Senate takes up the House-passed legislation. Hearings are expected in June.â??There will be an effort to change the Presidentâ??s forest health bill in the Senate and we need to demonstrate in dramatic fashion how the health of our forests is at stake, as well as show the success stories and collaborative efforts that are possible under the legislation,â?? Crapo said. â??That is why I am traveling to Elk City, where jobs are at stake as the surrounding forest suffers from bug-kill and drought. I also want to make the case in communities like Cascade, where we have been at work for more than a year on a project that will create up to 20 jobs and an industrial park tied to the utilization of small-diameter timber thinned from the surrounding forest.â??Crapo will tour drought and insect-killed timber in the Red River area south of Elk City before meeting with local residents at the Red River Ranger Station. The owners of the Bennett Company Mill in Elk City have threatened to close the facility after unsuccessfully trying to harvest local dead and dying timber. â??There are struggles and success stories; both must be told as we consider this forest health legislation,â?? Crapo said, pointing to efforts he has helped spearhead to create jobs and fire and flood rehabilitation products from small-diameter timber in Cascade. Forest Concepts, the City of Cascade, Valley County, and others are assisting in the effort to establish ongoing markets for the products, and ensure long-term employment in the community rocked when the Boise Cascade mill closed.Crapo wrote the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior to promote the use of small-diameter in July of 2002, and his staff met to discuss the proposal with Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who liked what she saw in a small-diameter project supported by foresters and environmentalists alike.â??The promotion of innovative pilot projects like the use of small-diameter in Cascade are the cornerstones around which we can build agreements on forest health actions and collaboration on how to solve the drought and disease issues in the forest through action plans and not the need for lawsuits,â?? Crapo said. â??I commend the agencies, the local city and county leadership, and those entrepreneurs willing to make these forest health actions reality in terms of ongoing jobs. It will be truly fitting if we can return forest-related jobs to a community like Cascade which has suffered such a downturn related to past events in the forest.â??During his weekend visit to Elk City, Crapo will also travel to Lewiston, visit the Kooskia Tech Center, and attend the annual Locust Blossom Festival while making a Tree City USA Award presentation in Kendrick. Crapo will also give his â??Spirit of Idahoâ?? Award to Lewiston High School senior Jared Helm for his volunteer work with children.A copy of the Senatorâ??s schedule is as follows:Friday, May 30thLewiston7:00 p.m. Crapo throws out first pitch in NAIA World Series baseball game at Harris Field, LCSC (if series is not concluded).Saturday, May 31stElk City 7:00 a.m. Crapo tours drought and bug kill timber areas in and around Elk City and Red River areas.8:30-9:30 a.m. Crapo discusses forest health issues and proposed legislation with local residents, Idaho Women in Timber, Save Elk City, other groups at the Red River Ranger Station of the U.S. Forest Service.Kooskia11:00 a.m. Crapo joins Mayor John Schurbon and area leaders for a tour of the Community Technology Center in Kooskia, 26 South Main, which received a $300,000 U.S. Department of Education grant with the help of the senator.Kendrick1:00 p.m. Crapo joins Mayor Dana Magnuson for the presentation of the Tree City USA Award during Kendrickâ??s Locust Blossom Festival at the Community Park on Main Street. A new kiosk in the park paid for by Lewis & Clark bicentennial funds will also be dedicated. Lewiston3:45 p.m. Crapo presents his Spirit of Idaho Award to Lewiston High School senior Jared Helm for his volunteer work and willingness to mentor others to do the same. Presentation will be in front of Lewiston High School, 1114 9th Avenue.The Senatorâ??s schedule is subject to change. Contact Lindsay Nothern at (208) 870-1800 for scheduling updates or to arrange for interviews or video.# # #