Washington representative proposes better forest management

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington State Congressman Dan Newhouse propsed a new act in order to prevent devastating wildfires.

Newhouse introduced House Resolution 4573 Stop CATASTROPHES, also known as Stop Causing Alarming Tree, Air and Soil Trauma Resulting from Obstructive Progressives’ and Hypocritical Environmentalists’ Schemes Act.

“Forests continue to be mismanaged and a one size fits all approach by the federal government remains the standard,” the Washington congressman said.

He added, in 2020 alone, over five million acres were lost to wildfires in Washington, Oregon and California.

Officials have said 2021 so far has been unprecedented when it comes to wildfires in Washington state.  

“For too long, hypocritical environmentalists have been obstructing responsible forest management and it has directly resulted in the destruction of our forests, lands, homes, our businesses, even lives throughout rural America,” Newhouse explained.

The Stop CATASTROPHES Act would allow public agencies to expand upon forest management practice to make lang more resilient if there is a wildfire.

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“My bill expands categorical exclusions to empower our land management partners to remove noxious weeds, manage hazardous fuels and create fuel breaks throughout our forests and public lands,” Newhouse said.

Categorical exclusions are a term used by the National Environmental Policy Act. They’re a class of actions that a Federal agency has deemed do not have a significant effect on our environment. Therefore, an assessment nor an impact statement is required. This means less paperwork and more time for agencies to enact wildfire prevention practices in federal forests.

Newhouse said the act would work as a part of bigger wildfire prevention solutions like the Resilient Federal Forests Act.

“This bill will enable rural Americans to do what we do best: care for our land to benefit our environment and restore resiliency to our federal forests,” he added.