Sonora, CA — Congressman Jeff Denham says a bill that could increase timber production on federal forest land will go before the House of Representatives next week.
The Federal Forest County Revenue, Schools and Jobs Act of 2012 passed out of the Natural Resources Committee on February 16.
“This should be a bi-partisan effort, and we just need to move it forward,” says Denham. “It will immediately create jobs in our community.”
It ties timber receipts to funding that will be allocated to schools now that the former Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act has expired. While Denham is optimistic it will pass in the House, its fate is unclear in the Senate. Many environmental advocacy groups have come out in opposition because it calls for increased logging on federal lands. It would require the National Forest System to meet revenue receipts that were the average of 1980-2000, a time when there was more timber harvesting taking place in the forest. Environmental groups claim it could lead to more “clear-cutting” on federal land.
Denham says the legislation would create jobs and thin the forest to reduce the risk of wild land fire.
“I certainly think it will be a challenge in the Senate, but having certainty and a consistent timber harvesting plan is not only good for our region, but for the nation,” says Denham.
Denham’s District 19 covers Tuolumne County.