Washington Congressman Doc Hastings, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, told the Western Governors Association this morning that more timber harvesting is needed on federal lands, and states need more control. “I think if you have a greater opportunity to manage the land within your area, you probably will have a better outcome,” he told the governors. As Congress considers the future of the legislation initially known as Craig-Wyden, the secure rural schools and communities act that provides payments to rural counties to make up for lost federal timber money, Hastings said, “The true solution to the secure rurals act is more harvesting of timber. That's what we really should be doing.”
He also said the Endangered Species Act, last reauthorized in 1992, “cries for being reauthorized” now, but instead “Congress keeps kicking the ball ahead,” creating no incentive to address it. “This year, I've been working very closely with Congressman Mike Simpson,” Hastings said. “We have worked together on a number of issues and will continue to do so. … There has to be a way by which we incentivize people to sit down and talk. … We'll probably work through the appropriations process to hopefully affect that outcome, because it needs to be done in a rational way and in a grown-up way.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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