EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation supports and applauds the introduction of a bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate to improve active forest management practices in the West and reduce catastrophic wildfire potential on national forests.
In response to growing threats of more intense and frequent catastrophic wildfires on the nation’s national forests and the communities that surround them, Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act of 2020.
Key elements of the bill that the NWTF supports include:
Directing the USDA Forest Service to identify three landscape-scale collaborative forest projects to restore forest health and reduce wildfire risk. The projects will benefit from streamlined environmental reviews, allowing for timelier project implementation, and a higher threshold to meet for a judge to impose an injunction if they are litigated.
Establishes a categorical exclusion in the National Environmental Policy Act for constructing fuel/fire breaks.
Creates grant programs to build biomass energy conversion facilities, help develop markets for biomass (plant-based waste from forestry practices) and support forestry workforce development, all important factors that typically limit large-scale forest management and fuels-reduction treatments.
“The National Wild Turkey Federation thanks Senator Daines and Senator Feinstein for introducing this important bipartisan legislation,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “Forest health and wildfire prevention are important to all Americans. It is also an issue of safety for wildland fire fighters and the numerous communities around and within these forests. We need well-thought-out solutions that everyone can support.”
This legislation provides those solutions, will result in more efficient and effective forest management where it is needed most in the West and addresses wildfire prevention on a large scale.
“Having both sides of the aisle working together to bring forward legislation that addresses a growing threat to people, homes, communities, water supplies and forest health is an important acknowledgement that the threat is real,” said Joel Pedersen, NWTF director of government affairs. “The NWTF looks forward to working with the senators to enact this legislation into law, so we can put it to work on the ground.”
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters' rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative – a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit NWTF.org.