Proposed Changes to Ensure Timber Certainty
Extend the timber and restoration portion of the bill
- The Issue: Currently the bill terminates the timber and restoration portions of the bill after 15 years or 100,000 acres are treated, whichever is later. Some folks are concerned the wilderness is forever but the timber directives are only short term.
- The Change: Sen. Tester believes that if the timber directives work, they should be extended. He is proposing a provision that would have an independent committee submit a report that would make recommendations to Congress on reauthorizing the forest components of the bill.
- Where the idea came from: Montana Wood Products Association, Madison and Beaverhead County Commissioners, Society of American Foresters, Montana Logging Association.
Add 'balance of harms' language
- The Issue: Currently, when a judge considers a request for an injunction to stop a forest project, he can only consider the short-term harm done by the project -- not the potential long-term harm of doing nothing. A balance of harms provision would direct the court to consider short-term and long-term effects of an injunction. This would be especially useful when fuels reduction projects are critical to protecting communities and world-class fisheries.
- The Change: Sen. Tester will propose that "balance of harms" language be included in the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act. This language is found in Section 106 of Healthy Forest Restoration Act.
- Where the idea came from: Individual Montanans, Society of American Foresters, and Montana Logging Association.
Add language to further cut cost and time of appeals and litigation
- The Issue: Appeals and litigation are costly and take a lot of time. Sometimes the delay alone can stop a project.
- The Change: Sen. Tester proposes adding language to use mediated appeals, which often resolve problems without having the project go to litigation. He is also exploring limiting the length of injunctions.
- Where the idea came from: Three Rivers Challenge, Montana Logging Association, and individual Montanans.