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ALC Executive Vice President
Daniel J. Dructor
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P.O. Box 966
Hemphill, TX 75948
T: 409.625.0206
F: 409.625.0207

The Resilient Federal Forests Act Passes U.S. House of Representatives with Bipartisan Support

November 3, 2017, Hemphill, TX—On November 1, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Resilient Federal Forests Act, H.R. 2396 with a bipartisan vote of 232-188 that included 10 Democrats joining the Republicans that favor federal forest management reforms and opportunities to assist rural communities with economic growth following a devastating 2017 fire season.

Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR), the only member of the House with a degree in Forestry, introduced the bill on June 20, 2017, and it has been working its way through the House until its final passage on the floor this past Wednesday.  Members of the American Loggers Council (ALC) applaud the work that Congressman Westerman did to submit common sense measures that could assist the U.S. Forest Service in forest restoration projects that could lessen the severity of wildfires which have plagued the west this year as well as make them more resistant to insect and disease infestations.

ALC Executive Vice President Danny Dructor stated, “There are many organizations that worked hard to gain the support needed to pass this important legislation over the past several years, and my hat’s off to all of them for their time and commitment to make this a reality.  However, our work is not done just yet, and the challenge will remain to see if we can get the Senate to act on this critical piece of legislation that would provide economic relief to rural communities directly impacted by catastrophic wildfires and insect and disease infestations by years of neglect stemming from current forest management policies.”

The bill also included language which ALC board members Steve Sherich (Idaho) and Tim Christopherson (Idaho) first brought to the attention of the members of Congress in 2014.  They first approached Congressman Raul Labrador (R-ID) with the belief that the sixteen and seventeen year-old sons and daughters of logging business owners should be allowed to legally work on their parents job sites under parental supervision, much as those in agricultural businesses are allowed to do.  Later on, Idaho logger Mark Mahon appeared before members of Congress explaining how his own son had been denied the opportunity to assist on a project that he had been working on for the U.S. Forest Service because of his age.

Maine Logger Andy Irish serving on the ALC Board, and the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine Executive Director Dana Doran were also able to secure a similar bill with Congressman Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) in late 2014, and both Poliquin and Labrador re-introduced the language in the spring of 2017, with bipartisan support.  There is already bipartisan support for the measure over in the Senate with Senator Risch (R-ID) and Senator King (I-ME) cosponsoring a Senate version of the Bill, S. 694.

Members of the American Loggers Council thank the hard work of Congressmen Westerman, Labrador, Poliquin and their staff for not only supporting legislation that provides tools for expediting the restoration of our nation’s forests, but also recognizing that there needs to be a next generation of forest workers if the work is going to be accomplished.

The American Loggers Council is the only national organization solely dedicated to representing the independent contract logger on the national level. We have the combined forces of independent contractors and state and regional logging associations, as well as our many sponsors around the country to impact our industry positively and pro-actively by sharing the benefits of education and training opportunities, networking, research, promotion and legislative coordination. The Council is committed to enhancing the logging profession, establishing a more level playing field for professional loggers and providing accurate information about the logging profession to the forest products companies, landowners and the public. It serves as a national network and communication center, linking local, state and regional organizations around the country.