Congressman Raul Labrador calls his sponsorship of the Self-Sufficient Community Lands Act H.R. 2316 a “fantastic idea.” In reality it is nothing more than a political scam against the people of Idaho and this country.
If logging our way to forest health was the complete solution we wouldn’t have a forest health issue today. The Forest Service basically tried that for over 30 years, all it got were issues with water quality, listed salmon and steelhead, court battles, tree plantations it cannot afford to thin, and roads to access the logged area it isn’t funded to maintain. Instead of working to help solve the budget crises caused by disastrous wildfires upon the U.S. Forest Service’s budget, our congressman gives us this poorly disguised timber grab. Labrador wants to take the best acres, clear-cut them and let the Forest Service retain all the wildfire suppression costs to protect the mess.
Better yet would be for Idaho’s congressional representatives to engage members of Congress to craft bipartisan solutions to the wildfire funding problem and existing national forest planning legislation that slows and stalls large landscape restoration projects that could benefit Idaho’s forested landscapes and rural communities.
John Szymoniak, Boise