Washington, D.C. (December 14, 2018) — American Forests has released a statement applauding the inclusion of timber jobs, water restoration, conservation and innovative provisions in the $867 billion 2018 Farm Bill Conference Report. It was sent to the President’s desk for signature December 12, 2018:
“This final version of the Farm Bill will create jobs and increase timber, restore water quality and improve wildlife habitat by investing in collaborative approaches to managing our national forests through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP). Previously, the CFLRP reached its authorized funding cap, so no new projects could be added. This provision doubles the allowed spending cap to $80 million a year and extends the program authorization for five more years.
“The bill delivers conservation results on private forestlands in critical conservation areas, by investing in outcomes-oriented public-private projects through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The measure increases RCPP baseline funding from $100 million to $300 million, while maintaining mandatory annual funding at 7 percent of the Healthy Forests Reserve Program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Conservation Stewardship Program, and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. It provides funding to conservation groups and farmers to work together to cut pollution and improve water quality, in part by restoring forested lands. The percentage of funding for critical conservation areas will rise from 35 percent to 50 percent.
“It also focuses new attention on forested buffers — which are critical for water quality — thanks to Senator Casey of Pennsylvania. These improvements will reduce administrative burdens on landowners, establish a new level of transparency and accountability and ensure states like Pennsylvania can meet their forest buffer goals in partnership with the federal government.”
“We are pleased the bill will spark innovation. There are key provisions from the Timber Innovation Act that will provide funds for research and development of wood-building construction as well as wood innovation grants. Additionally, it reauthorizes authorities directing U.S. Forest Service and state counterparts to tackle forest health, wildfire, and drinking water protection.
“We do acknowledge there are many authorities that didn’t make it into the bill, and even Secretary Purdue was disappointed, we look forward to working with the next Congress to get stand-alone legislation that will give us the resources to solve the climate change crisis, address pest and disease infestation, and rebuild stronger forests across the country.”
“We thank Congress, especially Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire for her provisions to create energy-efficient wood energy systems and Senator Susan Collins of Maine for her provisions for creating new opportunities for the forest economy. We are proud that it has strong bipartisan support. The Agriculture Improvement Act will deliver important benefits — from jobs to clean air and water and healthy and resilient forests. It is a win-win for Americans and America’s forests.”
— Jad Daley, President and CEO, American Forests
ABOUT AMERICAN FORESTS
American Forests inspires and advances the conservation of forests, which are essential to life. We do this by protecting and restoring threatened forest ecosystems, promoting and expanding urban forests, and increasing understanding of the importance of forests. Founded in 1875, American Forests is the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the country and has served as a catalyst for many key milestones in the conservation movement, including the founding of the U.S. Forest Service, the national forest system and thousands of forest ecosystem restoration projects and public education efforts. Since 1990, American Forests has planted more than 60 million trees in all 50 states and nearly 50 countries, resulting in cleaner air and drinking water, restored habitat for wildlife and fish, and the removal of millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Lea Sloan | Vice President of Communications | 202.370.4509 (direct) | 202.330.3253 (mobile) | firstname.lastname@example.org