In 2003, Congress passed landmark legislation instructing federal land management agencies to restore the health of the nation’s forestlands, to reduce the unnatural level of forest fuels, address insect and disease outbreaks and to implement forest protection plans around at risk communities. The success of this legislation will depend on the ability and desire of federal land management agencies to implement the law and use the authorities it has provided to actively manage forestlands in need of restoration efforts.
WHEREAS, several years of catastrophic wildfire throughout the forests of the west have documented the serious forest health and fuel load problems plaguing federalforestlands, and
WHEREAS, President Bush has taken a personal interest in this crisis having made two personal visits to Oregon to inspect the situation firsthand, and
WHEREAS, with the 500,000 acre Biscuit Fire still burning, and using the smaller 2,800 acre Squires Peak fire as a backdrop, the president announced the Healthy Forest Initiative (HFI), giving land management agencies the necessary tools to cut through procedural red tape and expedite the implementation of forest health and fuels reduction projects and to salvage burned timber, and
WHEREAS, recognizing that legislative authorities were necessary to accomplish the president’s objectives, Congress passed the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA) with overwhelming bipartisan support, effectively giving the Congressional stamp of approval for the president’s initiative, and
WHEREAS, the nation’s land management agencies and their employees now have the responsibility and the authority to effectively implement the directives given to them by both the executive and legislative branches of the United States government.
NOW, THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the Oregon Logging Conference and its members call on the line officers of the U.S Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, along with all of their respective employees, to utilize to the fullest extent possible the authorities and expedited procedures provided by the president and Congress to prepare and implement forest health restoration projects and to salvage burned timber consistent with the intent of the HFI and HFRA.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that aggressive and successful implementation of the HFI and HFRA be considered a significant factor in the evaluation of agency and agency personnel performance.