The National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) has commended forestry leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives for provisions in the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (H.R. 2642) preserving forest roads as nonpoint sources under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and otherwise promoting working forests. The legislation passed today by a vote of 216-208.
“We thank forestry leaders in the House for securing the forest roads provision and other important measures that sustain working forests,” said Dave Tenny, NAFO President and CEO. “The forestry provisions in the bill have strong support from members in both parties and in both chambers. This creates positive momentum going into conference.”
The forest roads amendment mirrors the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act (H.R. 2026) introduced by Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA3) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR5) on May 16. The legislation preserves EPA’s 37-year-old policy that forestry activities and forest roads are nonpoint sources under the CWA. The House bill also includes a provision ensuring that traditional forest products qualify for the federal procurement preference and product label under United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) biobased program.
“We are pleased also with language in the bill to include wood and paper products in the USDA's Biobased Markets Program,” Tenny said. “Wood is one of the oldest renewable manufacturing materials and is used in hundreds of products. It should naturally have the same opportunity as other materials to qualify as ‘USDA certified biobased’.”
Other notable provisions in the bill benefiting working forests include measures to increase the level of funding that can be used for wildlife projects and a required annual report from USDA on invasive species. The bill also provides tools and resources for forest owners to implement conservation practices that improve the health and productivity of their forests and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, forest pests and pathogens, and conversion to non-forest land uses.
NAFO is an organization of private forest owners committed to advancing federal policies that promote the economic and environmental benefits of privately-owned forests at the national level. To see the full economic impact of America’s working forests, visit www.nafoalliance.org/economic-impact-report.