March 10, 2005

Landmark Forest Legislation Passes Senate

Crapo calls vote â??a very big victory for Americaâ??

Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo called tonightâ??s passage of H.R. 1904, the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, a â??very big victory for America.â?? The U.S. Senate, following three days of debate, approved the measure that expedites management actions to lessen the risk of catastrophic fire on public lands and allocates more than $700 million to do so.â??There are 100 million acres of lands at risk today,â?? Crapo said while helping to manage the bill on the Senate floor just before the final vote of 80-14. â??A number of people on both sides of the political aisle have worked very hard on this legislation. We have found common ground and good common sense solutions aimed at slowing the risk of catastrophic fires such as those taking so many lives in California.â??Crapo, on the Senate floor, said Idaho faces some of the same risks now evident in the California tragedy. He cited drought and bug-killed forestlands near Elk City he visited last summer, adding, â??the people there face the same conditions and there is only one road in and one road out.â?? The history of the healthy forests legislation in Congress this year started in May with the overwhelming passage by the House of H.R. 1904, the legislative component of the Presidentâ??s Healthy Forest Initiative. In July, Crapo and Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas) introduced bipartisan legislation that built upon H.R. 1904. Much of that language is included in the final bill. On October 14, the bipartisan compromise was expanded in legislation introduced Agriculture Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), Crapo, Lincoln, and a coalition of Senators including Larry Craig of Idaho. The bill passed this evening will now go to a House-Senate Conference Committee. Once agreement is reached, it will be sent to the President to be signed into law.# # #