Department of the Interior
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Contact:CEQ, Bill Holbrook (202) 456-6224
Julie Quick, USDA (202) 720-4623
Joan Moody, DOI, (202) 208-6416
Bush Administration Officials: Federal Land Managers set Record-Level Accomplishments of President's Healthy Forest Initiative
Agencies More Than Tripled Hazardous Fuel Reduction Efforts from 2000
Oct. 12, 2004 - Council on Environmental Quality Chairman James L. Connaughton,
Agriculture Under Secretary Mark Rey and Interior Assistant Secretary
Lynn Scarlett today announced that federal land management agencies
have surpassed all of their hazardous fuels treatment targets for 2004
under the President's Healthy Forests Initiative. The administration
officials were joined by U.S. Congressman Greg Walden here today for
a tour of a Healthy Forests Restoration Act project and to celebrate
the initiative's successes in restoring forest and rangeland health
and protecting communities from wildland fire.
"Federal land management agencies made an unprecedented number of acres healthier and safer for communities thanks to President Bush's initiative," said Rey. "Not only have we exceeded our targets for this year, but we expect to continue stepping up our efforts to prevent the risk of catastrophic wildfires and restore forest and rangeland health with the new legislative tools provided by the Healthy Forest Restoration Act."
In Oregon, federal land
management agencies removed hazardous fuels from more than 907,000 acres
of public lands since 2001. In 2004, agencies treated more than 335,300
acres, 120,900 more than last year. Of the 335,300 acres, 126,300 acres
were in the wildland urban interface.
"Collaborative efforts are the key to identifying lands for treatment. Public land managers have formed partnerships with state, Tribal and local parties to identify the areas in the greatest need of treatment," said Scarlett. "Together, we are investing in the future of communities and our natural resources by reducing the threats from wildland fire."
Announced in August 2002, the President's Healthy Forests Initiative is an ongoing commitment to care for America's forests and rangelands, reduce the risk of catastrophic fire to communities, help save the lives of firefighters and citizens and protect critical natural resources. President Bush signed into law the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 in December 2003. It aims to reduce the threat of destructive wildfires by streamlining the process for approving high-priority fuels reduction and restoration projects while upholding environmental standards and encouraging early public input during project development.
To view the report, visit the interagency website--which now has a new real-time reporting system for hazardous fuel reduction projects throughout the country, at http://www.forestsandrangelands.gov/Healthy_Forests/index.shtml.
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