FRA members and other pro-forestry advocates continue to emphasize the importance of including the terms of the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act—currently in the House version of the Farm Bill—in whatever consensus the Farm Bill Conference Committee reports out. The SRCA legislation, which has strong, bipartisan cosponsorship in both House and Senate, would reaffirm the sufficiency of state-run BMP programs to govern forest roads’ requirements for Clean Water Act compliance and prohibit any additional federal interference in those programs.
Before Congress adjourned for the late-December recess, we learned that the Administration had requested Senate conferees to insert language into the Conference Committee report to leave the way open to such federal regulation—which would effectively render the provision useless. In response, we have emphasized that conferees should adopt the House Bill’s “forest roads” language “without amendment.”
Farm Bill negotiations are very dynamic, and the date for the anticipated Conference Committee vote continues to change as negotiations over more controversial items preoccupy conferees—dairy subsidies are currently in the spotlight. The Committee may:
- vote this week
- reach an agreement this week but decline to vote on it until after the late-January recess concludes; or
- leave matters open until Congress reconvenes from that recess, on January 27.
We urge all of our members—and any business associates and community members they believe likely to respond—to send a message to Congress on this issue, using FRA’s “Write Your Legislators” module at this link. It is easy to do, takes little time, and greatly helps to move our message forward.FRA membership is not required to use the module.
Additional background on this issue at this link.