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Bi-partisan Push For Healthy Forest Plan

A group of Democratic and Republican House members from Western states are pushing a five-year plan to speed thinning of fuel-choked forests and prod courts to deal quickly with citizen appeals.

Democrats Peter DeFazio of Oregon and George Miller of California, plus Oregon Republican Greg Walden are among those who worked on the deal.

The proposal would speed up tree thinning in areas near homes, watersheds, endangered species habitat and diseased or insect-infested forests. The proposed bill would also streamline required environmental studies and tighten deadlines for administrative and judicial appeals.

The deal comes on the heels of one of the worst fire seasons in the recent history of the West. The plan faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where several proposals to speed up forest treatment bogged down last month in partisan battles.