Daines, Tester Press to Reduce Red Tape for Forest Management

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines today testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on their bill to reverse the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. U.S. Forest Service.

The bill seeks to codify the position taken by the Obama administration that federal agencies are not required to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service at a programmatic level when new critical habitat is designated or a new species is listed.

Currently there are conflicting court interpretations in the Ninth (Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. Forest Service) and Tenth Circuits (Forest Guardians v. Forsgren) on this matter of wide-ranging import, but in October 2016 the Supreme Court denied the Department of Justice’s petition to settle the discrepancy.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, 80 vegetation management projects and hundreds of millions of board feet are at risk due to Cottonwood.

Click HERE to watch the Senators’ remarks.

The text of the bill can be found HERE.

Tester and Daines introduced comparable legislation in the 114th Congress. Former U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke introduced the House companion.