Ranking Member Stabenow Applauds First Large Scale Forest Restoration Project Under Expanded Good Neighbor Authority

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, applauded the U.S. Forest Service for finalizing the first large scale restoration project under the agency’s expanded Good Neighbor Authority (GNA).  The project – expected to treat 6,000 acres and increase timber production to more than 100 million board feet annually on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest – is seen as a template for other national forests. Good Neighbor Authority allows state foresters to perform forest restoration work on federal lands that, because of Forest Service budget constraints, would likely otherwise go untreated.

“This landmark agreement will help restore our national forests and create jobs by carrying out series of consensus-based timber sales and conservation practices on federal land,” Stabenow said. “With the Forest Service budget stretched beyond capacity, millions of acres are not getting the management and maintenance they need. This program allows more work to get done on the ground, all while creating new jobs in rural America. That’s why we pursued major reforms to the policies governing our national forests in the 2014 Farm Bill, including the expansion of Good Neighbor Authority.  I applaud the Forest Service for implementing this expansion and look forward to more partnerships throughout the country in the future.”   

In May, Stabenow led a letter with eight U.S. Senators urging Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to take additional federal efforts to protect and manage our national forests. Today’s announcement reflects the efforts of those Senators as well as represents a key step in the agency’s strategy to implement Farm Bill forestry reforms.