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 PRESS RELEASE 12/2/05, Congressman Walden's office

Support Continues to Grow for Walden's Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act

Statewide association, local governments, home builders, educational foundation endorsements announced during speech delivered by Walden

WASHINGTON, DC - Support continued to grow this week for the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act, H.R. 4200, bipartisan legislation that would help federal land managers more responsibly and quickly recover federal forestlands damaged by catastrophic events.  During a speech delivered today to more than 200 people attending the annual luncheon of the Portland Wholesale Lumber Association (PWLA), Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) announced new endorsements of H.R. 4200 from local governments, building associations and the non-partisan Evergreen Foundation. 

"The continued support received by the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act from such a wide variety of organizations and groups is a testament to the common sense principles outlined in the bill," said Walden, author of the legislation and chairman of the House Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health. 

"Congressman Brian Baird [D-WA] and I introduced this bill last month with nearly 100 original bipartisan cosponsors from all parts of the nation.  Since then, the bill has earned resounding endorsement from forestry experts, land management agencies, governments, conservationists and many others.  I welcome the continued support that comes as more individuals and groups learn what this solid piece of legislation would accomplish and judge it on its merits," he added.

Walden informed PWLA members that the Association of Oregon Counties, which represents Oregon's 36 counties, unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act.  Additionally, two Oregon counties - Jackson and Deschutes - passed individual resolutions expressing support for H.R. 4200 based on the bill's benefits to the environment and economy in their respective areas.    

Jackson County's resolution urged "prompt passage of the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act, with its commitment to timely responses to catastrophic events on federal lands, allowing for rapid restoration of ecosystems, usage of damaged trees before they lose all economic value, protection of adjacent lands from subsequent wildfires, insect infestations and disease outbreaks, and full public notice and participation, including involvement by state, local and tribal authorities in recovery planning and implementation."

The nonpartisan Evergreen Foundation, based in Montana, also recently endorsed H.R. 4200.  In a letter to Walden, Jim Peterson, editor of Evergreen Magazine and executive director of The Evergreen Foundation, wrote "In both literal and figurative senses, H.R. 4200 takes significant and positive steps in the direction of restoring the sanctity and stability of the common ground share by the majority of Americans who love forests and want them protected from harm, no matter its source." 

"Based on a century of scientific, historic and anecdotal evidence, and our own reputation for fact-finding, we are pleased to add the Evergreen Foundation to the long and impressive list of scientists, forestry organizations and federal agency personnel that are supporting The Forest Emergency Recovery & Research Act," he added in the letter.

The Oregon Home Builders Association (OHBA) also officially endorsed the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act this week, as did the Central Oregon Builders Association.

"Congressman Walden's legislation is not only good for the health of our national forests, but it's good for local economies as well.  By utilizing dead and dying trees in our local forests to help meet the demand for wood products - such as homes and paper - we reduce the pressure to cut green trees or import trees from foreign countries.  This bill just makes sense," said Tim Knopp, executive vice president of the Central Oregon Builders Association and former Oregon House Majority Leader.  "In addition to the responsible replanting of green trees where dead ones once stood, this environmentally conscious bill will help create jobs and sustain local economies while restoring the health of forests damaged by raging wildfires and other catastrophic events."

H.R. 4200 "would provide authority for timely and effective responses to catastrophic events, allowing the land management agencies to rapidly respond to the unique characteristics of each event and the particular needs of each locale, allowing for the use of damaged trees and other resources before they lose all economic value, while restoring ecosystems to a naturally functioning state," stated the OHBA's resolution.

Congressman Walden represents the Second District of Oregon, which includes 20 counties in southern, central and eastern Oregon.  He is a Deputy Whip in the House leadership structure and a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce as well as the Committee on Resources.





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