Johnson sponsors act aimed at improving forest management to reduce wildfire risk

WASHINGTON — “A managed forest is a safe forest,” South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson tweeted on Tuesday.

Johnson sponsored the PROTECT Act – or Protecting and Restoring Our Trees by Enhancing Conservation and Treatments Act – introduced by Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.).

The PROTECT Act would provide flexibility for land managers on federal lands to utilize active management methods – like prescribed burns – to help mitigate wildfire risk.

“As South Dakota and much of the Midwestern plains face drought conditions, the risk of wildfire has increased. A managed forest is a safe forest – environmental regulations shouldn’t stand in the way of forest managers and interest working in a collaborative way to improve the health and protection of their land,” Johnson said.

The legislation would allow for a 10,000-acre categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Protection Agency and encourage collaboration by allowing similar exclusions up to 30,000 acres.

The acreage would be exempt from some NEPA regulations, allowing managers to address insect and disease issues and hazardous fuel reductions.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News