Tester, Wyden, Murkowski to President: Don’t cut timber sales

Senators question Forest Service decision, point to impact on jobs, local economies

(U.S. SENATE) – Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are leading a bipartisan coalition warning the President against reducing timber sales on U.S. Forest Service lands.

The Senators are joined by Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), and Mark Udall (D-Colo.).

The Forest Service’s budget proposal for 2014 would cut timber sales by 15 percent. The Senators say the plan threatens jobs in rural communities and is inconsistent with the agency’s forest restoration goals.

“At a time when we need to be increasing timber harvest, the Administration’s blueprint sets us even further back,” the Senators wrote President Obama. “The cuts would have serious consequences for counties and businesses in our states and across the country. We urge you to reconsider proposed cuts in timber sales and instead find new ways to boost timber supply in a responsible manner.”

The Senators note that in addition to boosting the market’s timber supply and creating jobs, increasing the timber harvest will help to mitigate wildfires. Dead trees combined with historic drought to burn a near-record 9.3 million acres nationwide in 2012.

2013-05-02 Timber Sale Letter to President by danmalessa