A Resolution Supporting the New Chief of the Forest Service

By The Oregon Logging Conference

February 22, 2018

 

WHEREAS, Tony Tooke was appointed Chief of the U.S. Forest Service effective September 1, 20017 and immediately convened a summit in Phoenix, AZ bringing his Regional Foresters and support staff into a meeting to discuss the future of the organization, and

WHEREAS, during that meeting he laid out a plan to address the forest health crisis on federal forest lands affecting some 80 million acres; a program to streamline internal regulations and procedures for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); a directive to the field to more aggressively utilize existing authorities provided in the 2014 Farm Bill; and a plan to ramp up timber outputs and acres treated, and

WHEREAS, timber outputs prescribed under existing forest plans for the national forest system total 6.2 billion board feet per year. Current management direction and funding is producing less than one half of that amount. At the Phoenix meeting, Chief Tooke outlined a path to ramp up to 4.0 billion board feet by 2020 assuming existing funding levels, and

WHEREAS, Chief Tooke emphasized the utilization of existing authorities as the key to reaching this goal and sent a message to the field that all authorities granted by Congress to expedite environmental analyses under NEPA, consultation for projects involving compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and expeditious processing of appeals and legal challenges should be employed, and

WHEREAS, in 1998 approximately 1,000 Forest Service employees were assigned to the Washington, Office of the Forest Service. Today, there are 5,000 staff assigned to the Washington, D.C. Office. It is imperative that many of these employees be reassigned to field offices and trained to improve the agency’s ability to carry out effective and efficient timber sales on federal land in a timely manner.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Oregon Logging Conference (OLC) go on record in lending its unqualified support for the direction and priorities for the U.S. Forest Service expressed by newly appointed Chief Tony Tooke at his Phoenix Leadership Conference.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the OLC support the utilization of all existing authorities to expedite active management projects on federal forests including the use of Categorical Exclusions, the Good Neighbor Authority allowing state involvement in federal forest management and the streamlining of consultation under the Endangered Species Act.