Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

SUPPORT GROWS FOR FOREST COUNTIES BILL

Mark Rey pledges to work with Congress to reauthorize the law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a Senate hearing today, Mark Rey, U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, pledged to support the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, commonly referred to as the Craig\Wyden bill.

Rey was testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests, which Idaho Senator Larry Craig chairs. During his testimony, Rey acknowledge the successes the Bush Administration has seen, “Our experience in implementing the Secure Rural Schools Act has shown that a stable payment to States has been achieved, the establishment of Resource Advisory Committees (RACs) has created a cooperative working relationship with local communities and the Forest Service in implementing projects under Title II of the Act, and these projects have had a positive impact on improving natural resource conditions on National Forests and Grasslands.”

Craig, who worked with Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., five years ago to enact the original law, stated, “This legislation has a proven track record of giving local residents a voice in forest management, completing projects on the ground, and helping to fund schools and roads. I am pleased the Bush Administration recognizes this and will work with Congress to reauthorize it.”

“This law has produced nothing less than a revolution in forest-dependent communities, and it was critical for the Administration to recognize its success and its importance to the region,” said Wyden. “When we talk about efforts that can unify us, and not divide us, we don’t need to look any further than this legislation. How often do you find the Administration, the Forest County Schools Coalition and the Wilderness Society all testifying on behalf of a natural resources bill?”

For more information on S. 267, please visit Senator Craig's website or the Library of Congress.

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