Bennet, Udall Renew Call on House to Protect Forests, Jobs Through the Farm Bill

Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall renewed their call to their colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a strong forestry title as part of the 2012 Farm Bill, which overwhelmingly passed the Senate last month by a bipartisan vote of 64-35. Udall and Bennet, both advocates of Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy, said strong forestry provisions are crucial to prevent forest fires and to keep Colorado’s economy growing.

"I worked with my colleagues on the Agriculture Committee and then in the full Senate to include measures in the Senate bill to help make Colorado's forests safer and healthier," Bennet, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said. "These resources represent a bipartisan effort to respond to substantial forest health challenges in Colorado and throughout the West. It means safely removing dead and dying trees, and restoring ecosystems, while creating jobs and spurring economic growth and protecting Coloradans. I urge the House to also include these bipartisan resources."

“The Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan Farm Bill that included many provisions and resources to protect our nation’s forests and proactively reduce wildfire risk,” Udall said. “I want to encourage my colleagues in the House to remember that healthy forests are critical to protecting our communities, safeguarding our watersheds and creating jobs.”

The letter highlights Udall and Bennet’s amendment that doubles the annual authorization to fund bark beetle mitigation from $100 million to $200 million. The letter also emphasizes the importance of the Forest Legacy Program, which was included in the Farm Bill, and its role in bringing millions of tourists to the state for hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, hiking, paddling, camping and other forms of outdoor recreation.

Read Udall and Bennet’s letter by clicking HERE.

Udall and Bennet joined together in June to ask the House Agriculture Committee to pass a strong forestry title in the house version of the 2012 Farm Bill, including reauthorizing Stewardship Contracting Projects in the legislation. Stewardship Contracting Projects allow the federal government to contract with businesses to remove forest products from federal land to reduce the risk of forest fires, improve forest health and strengthen wildlife habitat.