Washington, D.C. – April 27, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, (D-Wash.) ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced that the U.S. Forest Service will provide nearly $19 million to communities near national forests in Washington state and will hold an additional listening session on the proposed Northwest Forest Plan near the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest on Tuesday, May 5.
The funding increase is through the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program, which Sen. Cantwell voted to fund earlier this month. The program has provided predictable funding for public schools and roads, and it has assisted in community wildfire protection planning. Without reauthorization, Washington state would have received less than $2 million, compared to nearly $19 million.
“I strongly support robust funding for SRS and understand how important it is for Skamania County in particular,” said Sen. Cantwell. “I will continue to fight to ensure that the program is reauthorized at a level where it can continue to provide the benefits families and communities in Washington depend on.”
As for the listening session, the Forest Service is providing that session after the senator requested additional listening sessions near the affected national forests in Washington state last month in a letter addressed to United States Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Robert Bonnie.
“I would like to thank the Forest Service for addressing my concerns and offering additional opportunities for the public to share their opinions about the proposed Northwest Forest Plan,” Sen. Cantwell said. “These listening sessions are an important part of the management process of the national forests and important to the citizens who live in communities directly affected by any potential changes in the management of the forests.”
The current Northwest Forest Plan provides a framework and rules for how several of the national forests in the Pacific Northwest are governed. The Forest Service is soliciting comments on how to revise or reshape that plan.
View a list of additional public listening sessions here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r6/landmanagement/?cid=stelprd3831710.
Read Sen. Cantwell’s letter to Under Secretary Bonnie here: http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/democratic-news?ID=6cb8797a-f18c-4454-aa59-bf9cf7319c1f.