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Barrasso Gets Pushback On His Timber Proposal

Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso received pushback from the chief of the U.S. Forest Service on his bill to expand timber harvesting on federal lands. 

Barrasso’s legislation would greatly expand the Forest Service’s timber program throughout western states. The senator says it would create jobs and provide a new funding stream for schools in rural areas. Environmentalists accuse Barrasso of trying to gut environmental laws. At a hearing on the bill Thomas Tidwell, the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, told Barrasso he’s wary of how the bill undoes regulations.  

“We also have to be careful not to create public distrust by reducing some of the regulatory agency’s roles. Their role to be able to concur with what our biologists determine in our biological assessments and evaluations provides the public with that reassurance.”

But Barrasso is pushing back. He’s accusing the Obama administration of playing politics.

“Just like the Keystone XL Pipeline it looks like forest management decisions in the administration are being dictated more by political influence than by science. I say that because just like the pipeline the president’s activist base is mobilizing and fighting against the good American jobs that my bill would create.”

Legislation similar to Barrasso’s timber bill has already passed the House.

Based on Capitol Hill, Matt Laslo is a reporter who has been covering campaigns and every aspect of federal policy since 2006. While he has filed stories for NPR and more than 40 of its affiliates, he has also written for Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, Campaigns and Elections Magazine, The Daily Beast, The Chattanooga Times Free Press, The Guardian, The Omaha World-Herald, VICE News and Washingtonian Magazine.
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