House passes Labrador's 'Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act'
On Friday the U.S. House passed H.R. 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act. The bill incorporates an earlier bill introduced by Rep. Raúl Labrador, the Self-Sufficient Community Lands Act, which transfers the management of about 200,000 acres of federal land in Idaho to the state as a trust.
“The time has come to put our people and our land back to work,” said Rep. Labrador. “That means getting the federal government out of the way and empowering Idaho’s forest communities to manage their own land. Today’s bill is a big step forward in achieving that goal. By reestablishing local control over some of our state’s most valuable resources, our bill will bolster the economy in areas that have struggled with high unemployment and create the tax revenues they need to improve schools, roads, and other local services. Last but not least, it will also improve forest health and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires.”
The Labrador plan would enable the state to manage this land in accordance with state forest statutes, such as the Idaho Forestry Act, in hopes of promoting responsible timber production, creating much-needed jobs, generating tax receipts for the counties, and improving overall forest health.