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Good Neighbor Forestry Act moves forward

Washington DC (KELO AM) - U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) today announced that the Good Neighbor Forestry Act (S. 327), a bipartisan bill which he has cosponsored, was approved by the Senate Energy Committee and now awaits consideration on the Senate floor.

“I am glad the Good Neighbor Forestry Act, which is so important to the Black Hills region, was passed today in the Energy Committee and now heads to the Senate floor,” said Johnson. “The Good Neighbor Forestry Act adds another tool to the toolbox by allowing the Forest Service to enter into cooperative agreements with state foresters to work on restoration projects on federal lands. This authority is particularly useful in areas with large amounts of state and private lands interspersed with federal lands. The Black Hills provide a perfect example of the need for cooperation among all levels of government to address major forest health challenges like the pine beetle. These partnerships will help increase efficiency and make our federal dollars go further, and I look forward to this bill being considered by the full Senate.”

The Good Neighbor Forestry Act is a bipartisan bill that provides the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior authority to enter into cooperative agreements with States to undertake certain forest restoration projects on federal lands. 

The partnerships created by the Good Neighbor Forestry Act would allow federal agencies to contract with state foresters for activities including treating insect infected trees, hazardous fuels reduction, and restoring or improving overall forest, rangeland and watershed health, including fish and wildlife habitats. The legislation would help promote and coordinate projects that deal with both state and federal lands.

Senator Johnson is an original cosponsor of this legislation, which was introduced by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY).  Additional cosponsors include Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Senator John Thune (R-SD), Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Senator Dean Heller (R-NV).