Environment | Politics

Audio: House Natural Resources Committee hearing on forestry






The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing this morning to discuss tribal forestry issues.

Independent studies have shown how tribes are effectively managing their forest resources despite a reduction in federal funds and the addition of bureaucratic red tape. Tribal witnesses said they are successful because they have caring for the land since time immemorial.

"We operate modern, innovative and comprehensive natural resource programs premised on connectedness among the land, resources, and people," Phil Rigdon, the president of the Intertribal Timber Council, told the committee. "Our approach reflects the concept of reciprocity. If we care for the land, it will care for us. If we neglect our stewardship responsibilities, our lands and communities will suffer."

The committee wasn't considering any legislation but Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Washington), the chairman, noted that the House has passed H.R.1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act. The bill requires the Department of Agriculture to place a priority on tribal applications submitted under the Tribal Forest Protection Act of 2004.

The Senate has yet to consider the measure. Hastings also said tribal forestry programs suffer from disproportionate funding levels.

No one from the Forest Service testified at the hearing. The Bureau of Indian Affairs sent Director Mike Black as its representative.

The hearing lasted about 1 hour and 25 minutes. Audio can be found on the Indianz.Com SoundCloud.

Committee Notice:
Oversight Hearing on “Tribal Forest Management: A Model for Promoting Healthy Forests and Rural Jobs” (April 10, 2014)

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