ICYMI: Sen. Crapo speaks on timber

Coeur d’Alene
April 2, 2016

Sen. Mike Crapo honored the Associated Logging Contractors on Friday by announcing he has issued a statement into the Congressional Record commemorating the group’s 50 years of existence in Idaho.

Crapo brought copies of the resolution to the association’s headquarters and gave a short speech thanking the organization for its work in forest management policies over the years.

Crapo said the organization has been a driving force in natural resource protection since he was serving in the Idaho State Legislature more than 20 years ago.

“I commend you for not only making Idaho so great for this industry, but for making Idaho great overall,” Crapo said.

The congressional statement laid out how the association has been instrumental in
shaping policies that enhance the timber industry and the environment.

“Throughout the past 50 years since its organization, the association has worked to serve its purpose of developing programs that are instrumental in helping members to reduce costs of operation and to craft creative solutions to problems confronting the industry,” Crapo’s statement said. “I value the organization’s and its members’
input and involvement in shaping solutions to our natural resources challenges.”

Crapo has been working toward a collaborative approach to timber harvest.

“I have put most of my focus on collaborative decision making,” he said after his speech. “I am trying to move the decision-making away from the centralized government agency making the decision and back to the collaborative groups.”

He said those groups include not only federal and state regulators, but also counties and other local stakeholders.

“Whether it be the logging association, environmental organizations, off-road vehicle interests or hunting and fishing interests, we are working with all of the groups,” he said.

“I am working toward a local-control-driven collaborative process where the decision making is done by the people who live where the land is.”

As part of his congressional statement, Crapo emphasized the importance of that collaborative approach to forest management.

“While challenging, collaboration is working, and ALC members have been instrumental in advancing this effort. The organization has much to be proud of for its efforts in bringing folks together to achieve solutions and working toward their implementation,” Crapo wrote in the statement. “Collaboration is difficult but indispensable work, as it brings lasting advancements for habitats, recreation, rural economies and job production. I have greatly valued ALC members’ support of local collaborative efforts.”

Crapo also briefed the group on the upcoming elections, saying it’s not just a presidential election that is at stake this year, but the Senate has a target on it as well.

“All three branches of the federal government are on the line,” he said. “There is a battle going on in the country right now — as powerful as, as you see with the battle for the presidency, there is a battle for control of the Senate.”

Crapo said 24 of the 34 Senate seats that are up for re-election are held by Republicans.

“The Democrats see that statistical advantage and are going at it full speed,” he said, adding the balance of the Supreme Court of the United States is at stake and that should concern voters.

Aside from that, Crapo told the logging association he plans to continue trying to pass the Equal Access to Justice Act, which the association favors. He said he is also working with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, to shift wildfire funding from the U.S. Forest Service and into the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s budget, where he
believes it is a better fit.

“We need to treat catastrophic forest fires like all other catastrophes,” he said.