LaMalfa leads effort to block Biden Administration’s ‘top -down’ forestry plan 

Congressmen Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry, Dan Newhouse, Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus, and Tom Tiffany, Chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands, introduced a bill to block the Biden Administration’s misguided proposed plan to hinder forest management activities that protect old and mature growth.

The USDA’s National Forest Plan Amendment the Biden Administration proposed would implement a unilateral approach to managing old growth forests to go over regional management without carefully considering unique local factors.

“Forest management activities should be spearheaded at the regional level, not decided from some top-down plan that was crafted by a DC bureaucrat that has never set foot in the forest in question,” LaMalfa said. “Regional voices should be prioritized, not ignored, and DC bureaucrats have proven time and time again that they are not willing to authorize the work needed to manage our forests and reduce wildfire risk, such as thinning projects and timber harvesting. We must block the Biden Administration’s irresponsible new plan that will tie the hands of those on the ground who are actively combatting this wildfire crisis,”

“The proposed Old-Growth Plan Amendment is out of touch with the needs of rural America,” said Western Caucus Chairman Newhouse. “By limiting timber harvesting and proper forest management, the risk of catastrophic wildfires increases. I’m proud to join Western Caucus Executive Vice Chair LaMalfa on this important legislation to overturn this attack on common sense forest management and to ensure forest managers have access to the tools needed to do their jobs.”

“Local land managers are the best stewards of the land—not bureaucrats a thousand miles away in Washington, D.C.,” said Congressman Tiffany. “The Biden administration’s Old Growth Plan Amendment imposes a one-size-fits-all approach that sidelines local expertise and makes it harder to maintain forest health. This much-needed bill will block this misguided policy and ensure active wildfire mitigation.”

In April 2022, the Biden Administration directed the U.S. Forest Service to define, identify, and assess the risks to “old-growth and mature” forests absent a Congressional mandate or existing authority to do so.

In December 2023, the U.S. Forest Service released a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that would amend all 128 forest plans in less than one year, in direct conflict with its own processes that require tailored approaches at the forest level.

On June 21, 2024, the draft EIS was published in the Federal Register, opening a 90-day public comment period.

A final EIS and record of decision for the amendment to all 128 National Forest system plans is expected at the end of 2024/beginning of 2025.

About Congressman Doug LaMalfa
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Lassen, Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba counties.