Benishek Authors Bill To Promote Timber Jobs

Jun 16, 2011 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Energy and Resources

WASHINGTON, DC:  Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-01) today introduced his first piece of legislation intended to streamline timber sales on federal forest lands. 

“By utilizing Northern Michigan’s timber resources in a responsible manner, we can create jobs in the First District.  The bill I’m putting forward is a simple, common sense approach that cuts government red tape in the review process for timber sales,” said Benishek, a general surgeon and Iron River native.  

Benishek explained that since taking office in January, he has met with loggers, timber product companies, and forestry experts regarding issues facing the industry and ways to increase timber production on federal lands. 

“So far I’ve learned that outside environmental groups and federal government bureaucracy have been barriers to timber jobs in our area.  The timber sale process is highly complicated and is often slowed by lawsuits,” Benishek continued. 

Benishek’s legislation will allow the U.S. Forest Service to use a “pre-decisional” administration review process for timber sales.  The Congressman explained that this will require outside groups—such as environmentalists—to submit their objections to the Forest Service before a timber sale plan is determined.  By doing this, their concerns can be heard without having the sale process be bogged down endlessly in court. 

“Ultimately this is about jobs in the First District, and responsibly using the God-given resources found in Northern Michigan,” Benishek added. 

Benishek said that such a “pre-decisional” process is already used for removing hazardous wood prone to forest fires and deceased trees.  Benishek’s proposal would simply apply that process to commercial timber sales.

As a Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Benishek is confident he will be able to educate his colleagues about the importance of promoting jobs in the timber industry.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, Michigan’s First District is home to three national forests, Ottawa, Hiawatha, and Manistee, which total some 2.3 million acres of woodlands. 

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To read the legislation, click here

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