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tv   U.S. Forest Service Chief Moore Testify on Forest Management  CSPAN  April 5, 2022 10:20pm-11:23pm EDT

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the chief of the us for service, randy moore, testified and reduce the risk of while parser ford house oversight reform committee second panel on forest management was singer-songwriter and conservationist carol king. [background noises] >> welcome everybody. to today's hybrid hearing.
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pursuant to house rules, some members will appear in persons other will appear remotely via zuma. let me make a few reminders for those members appearing in person. you only see people it witnesses remotely on the monitor in front of you and they are speaking. it's what is known in zoom as speaker view a timer is visible in the room directly in front of you. remember appearing remotely so you're all familiar with zooms let me remind everyone of a few points. first the house rules require we see you so please have your camera is turned on at all times. second, members appearing remotely or not recognize remained muted to minimize background noise but i will recognize numbers verbally so members seek verbally and regular order members will be recognized in seniority. lastly if you want to be recognized outside of a regular order you may identify that in several ways pretty may use the chat function to send a request.
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you may send an e-mail to the majority staff or you may unmute your mic to seek recognition. we'll begin the hearing in just a moment when we are ready for the live stream. the committee will come to order. without objection the chair is authorized to declare a racist of the committee at any time. i welcome everyone to this hearing. i am grateful to our esteemed panelists for joining us today. the climate crisis and misguided forestry policies have given rise to catastrophic burning across our western forest including in my home state of california. for decades the forest service strategy for managing fires was to suppress all fires by 1935 the forest service established a so-called policy they would put out every fire by 10:00 a.m. the next day. however, fire is a natural part of the landscape.
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some trees in this forest even need to be exposed to fire to grow and reproduce. in recent decades, forest service a policy has changed. because the landscape was a private of fire for decades however, hence vegetation has accumulated. when there are wildfires they burn hotter and create more damage feeding up the dry brush for climate change last month united nations call for urgent action and a new report warning if we continue with business as usual climate solution will have 57% more wildfires by the end of the century. drier conditions make it easier for wildfires to spread and increase their intensity. trees with less water to fight off disease and pass, that in dying trees are less fire resistant. climate change combined with the fuel buildup because extreme wildfire disasters that can be deadly. the top five years the largest
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amount of wildfire acreage burn since 1,962,006, 2007, 2015, 2017, 2020. from 2000 to 2018 wildfires burned twice as much land per area than those in the 1980s. without objection i submit the united nations environment program spreading like a wild flower at the of extraordinary landscape fires into the record. we are not immune to this problem in my district in silicon valley in 2020 santa clara university complex and blanketed my district with smoke and unhealthy levels of smoke for weeks. land managers like the forest service had a hard job in addressing this crisis. they must bounce first and foremost human safety from wildfires but also the economy,
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how the ecosystems and meeting climate goals. unfortunate special is a solution to out-of-control wildfires according to public disclosure industry interest in forestry management spent over $12 million to influence congress. not only did they spend they work hard to influence the public as well. expend millions of dollars annually on advertising, defending many estates week forestry laws. special entrance or influence the policy process to acquire more contracts saying we can longer wait to fires will be easier to suppress and control. however this is not the full truth. while some management including removing brush and small trees is a crucial to returning forest to healthy state, industry is too often incentivized to remove the largest trees to sell for building materials and other
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forestry products. clear cutting or removing larger trees puts communities at greater risk. our forest of volvos alongside older larger trees are often the most fire resistant. depending on local circumstances, it can also increase fire risk if it's not been cautiously in a manner some thinning is necessary according to the science but has to be done cautiously and in accordance with the principles. too much spending and force can dry up from exposure the wind and sun create conditions for high wind. in fact a pro- public found public lands clear-cut in the last five years have burned hotter than federal lands that cut fewer trees. we cannot allow short-term financial gains to substitute for collaborative, careful forest management based on the science. another recent important to prioritize fire prevention is to help our wildland firefighters who risk their lives and how help teacher to help communities not paid enough and do not have
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year-long healthcare benefits. wildlife firefighters are grabbing is longer fire seasons and longer burning fires or screens more over time and exposure to deadly smoke. congress must conduct careful oversight to make sure the u.s. for service has the tools they need to reduce large fires and the resources to pay our firefighters. we do not want to make the situation worse by removing the big trees that have the most carbon slope wildfires down pretty want to have a science -based approach to forest management we need to listen to the science and a community driven process that incorporates all perspectives afford the best way forward. i now recognize or exceed for an opening statement. >> thank you chairman. i appreciate you holding this hearing. wildfires are an important issue 2021 there were nearly 60000
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wildfires burned over 7 million acres it's devastating for so many parts of the country. i met with carole king yesterday i grew up with her music she thanks the world of you. we had a great conversation. my questions to her, we have got something or national forest in south carolina my question was one, trees have lives into what do we do about the 4 feet that's built up because most of you light your fires today are in lands that nothing has been done. we had a disagreement but the passion she has i respect and i would love to have an open debate about that. the fires that occurred in 2021 or five and ten year national averages so why are we now getting around too having a
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hearing about wildfires? i think the answer is obvious. last week were supposed to have a hearing on how bad the oil and natural gas industry are but that issue is no longer fix the dirt democrat narrative that hereto was canceled the environment subcommittee needed something to do, why else would we wait over a year to the 1117th congress to talk about in important issues like wildfires? for weeks democrats paraded board members from oil and gas companies to appear before this committee. they threatened to subpoena witnesses that have been fully compliant with the democrats sham investigations. given the events of recent weeks, namely russia's invasion of ukraine, democrats finally came to the realization that i continue to assault on domestic energy production was no longer politically expedient. russia's a grip on european energy showcases how crucial it is that america expand for production and capacities for
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oil and natural gas to secure our own energy independence and assist our allies with energy needs throughout the world. buying from all rogue countries does not make sense particularly now when we have russia practicing genocide on the country of ukraine. but president biden does not seem to understand is that america stands ready to fill the void on the energy needs of our allies in times of geopolitical crisis. for the sake of national security, we must position our domestic energy resources to protect the freedom of democracy both at home and abroad. biden diminished duration officials feel they can drive ourselves out of the self-inflicted crisis with electric vehicles but this elitist idea does not take into account the average cost of an electric vehicle is $55000. the median household income is
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67000. it is completely out of touch to think americans can afford to use 84% of their annual income on an electric car pray for pete buttigieg who secretary of transportation to go out and buy an electric car, he isn't disconnected from reality. i've got a reality check for the democrats on this committee and president biden americans are still reliant on oil and gas. our constituents need them to drive their cars and heat and power their homes and businesses. the democrats on the american people to risk their livelihoods and way of life. they want to end the use of oil and gas immediately. this is an unsustainable proposition. unfortunately they are trying to accomplish this goal by berating american oil and gas companies into submission. constantly holding hearings, demanding mountains of documents and vilifying an entire industry. yet none of these actions will
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change the fact we need to use her domestic goal and gas supplies now more than ever. the stakes are just too high. americans demonstrated we can safely utilize our oil and gas reserves to the benefit of our people. it can bring energy stability to a world that has turned to chaos on the whim of irrational foreign actors. america is blessed with abundant natural resources including oil and natural gas though the democrats do not want to use them to our advantage. i am so tired of the left in notion we take a backseat to russia and china on energy issues. as for the topics of this hearing today, i am looking forward to hearing from mr. hubbard the former undersecretary for natural resources and environment of the united states department of agriculture who knows firsthand about wildfire responses. the democrats and the left wing environmental group push the narrative that climate change is the sole region for the worsening fire crisis that is
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just not the case. science clearly shows active forest management is the best way to prevent wildfires. 202070% of the united states average that burned occurred on federal lands. that statistic is a clear reflection of the mismanagement of our national forests and public lands. looking for some real science -based solutions to ensure the forest service accelerate the scope and scale of federal forest management to ensure a sustainable and resilient future. i appreciate the chief of the forest service appeared today before the committee. of this administration they invite more to the hearings i think the witnesses for their participation today and i yield back. >> thank you ranking member norman. before i give it to the chair
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our distinguished chair maloney, let me say we share an admiration for carole king. we also i think share a common commitment to standing with ukraine and the president zelenskyy and their fight against putin's unprovoked brutal war. they were unified in this congress and making sure no russian oil comes to the united states shores. in terms of the points raised on gas, we have great respect for the ranking member we sometimes have disagreements but one thing i want to make clear as i am for and i think many democrats are for short-term increase in production to make sure gas prices go down. i think that is something what the proposal to increase buying two filled up our strategic reserves. i am for increasing short-term
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production. i think long term the way you defeat the petro state like russia, like saudi arabia, like iran, like venezuela is by having a boost to the over at all energy certainly can respond visit sure what woman wanted to make that clear. now let me yield to our distinguished chairwoman maloney. >> thank you chairman and ranking member norman. for your leadership on this issue and holding this very important and timely hearing this morning, i like to be associated with the works president biden has called upon the american oil industry to pump more oil we hope they respond should pump the oil for
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came from a heartbreaking meeting the most moving part for me was not only his plea for unity and help as he fought for freedom and justice in the world and in ukraine, he showed beautiful pictures of ukraine and then the destruction i was destroying their way of life there are too many fires to join hands and work together it's important to our environment. as our country continues to experience increasingly frequent and severe wildfires and other natural disasters, the climate
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crisis has never been more dire. the united nations report issued last month detailed how climate change and port land use decisions more frequent and intense. all seasons will be fire seasons. an extreme virus will be more common up to 30% by 2050 and by up to 50% by the end of the century. the un report called on all nations and firefighters on the front line are crucial to the response in addition to fire suppression we need to prioritize fire mitigation. we have a responsibility to invest more in fire risk
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reduction to work with local and indigenous communities that know the land and strengthen our global commitment to fight climate change. that is why i am grateful that today's witnesses are joining us to explain what congress, the forest service and vulnerable communities can do if we work together. first he must act to address climate change the united nations has found that nation's current climate pledges are far too short to avert disaster. if current trends continue, global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees before the middle of the century a point at which scientists say our planet will suffer irreversible damage. to avert this disaster we need to immediately cut fossil fuel emissions but from three -- 4%
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each year and rapidly transition net zero carbon emissions. and lock them in trees and soil are force our precious echo system that support they also provide essential natural resources from food to medicine. forest also support the lives and livelihoods of local communities. despite their clear benefits and natural beauty, our forests are under attack. whether it is due to climate change, or timber industry, or other reasons we continue to lose our forest along with the animals and plants that live in them. many want us to believe that forest thick with trees fueled
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bigger and more destructive blazes but that i am told by scientist is not true. that is why i introduced hr 1755 the northern rockies echo system protection act. it is the kind of sweeping, systemic solution our nation needs to preserve pristine lands and benefit our environment too. my bill would designate an approximate 23 million acres of wild lands in the continental northwest as wilderness. it would also designate approximately 1800 miles of rivers and streams as wild rivers. this legislation would bring us significantly closer to president biden goal of protecting a 30% of our land and waters by 2038. my bill would also help us meet the goals of the paris agreement by preserving large swaths of
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forest and help cancel out our nations camp unchecked cancel entrance allowed generations including our children, our grandchildren to continue to enjoy these pristine, beautiful wild places. i want to thank forest service chief on each of our witnesses for the testimony today and their service. i am particularly grateful to the songwriter and great singer, probably the greatest in our time, carole king is with us today. she is one of the few singers whose in both the songwriters hall of fame and the singers hall of fame. she is here today as an environmentalist. in preserve them for future generations together we will
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pass this bill and help our country meet its goal of protecting our country, our land, our shared water and combating buyers, combating climate change. i look forward to this hearing and the important topics that will be covered today. i want to thank again the chairman and the ranking member for calling this hearing and i yield back a very special welcome thank you for your public service. we look forward to your comments i yield back. >> thank you madame chair thank you for your leadership in helping make this happen and the conversations you have had with carole king and others. you have been a great leader on this topic so thank you. ranking member norman i want to give you out of fairness if you or anyone on your side wants to say anything that is fine too. >> thank you chairman. i would just say that what is before us and now, what we are
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discussing today is important but pales in comparison to what's going on with this administration. getting from the strategic oil reserves is not going to do it. we have got to open up what he has shut down which is keystone pipeline, oil from alaska and oil from canada. to buy it from opec which is in 15 countries made up of iraq, iran, venezuela, these countries do not have our best interest at heart. so why are we not self-sufficient like we were under the trump administration? we were exporters of energy. we are just feeding the beast that conducted genocide on an innocent country that we saw heartbreaking pictures today of children, the people of ukraine did nothing wrong other than want freedom. to be attacked and then for this country to be beholding to countries that are aiding and abetting russia is simply wrong. and president biden either does not understand or is totally
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disconnected from reality to keep these oil and gas reserves shutdown in our country. i call on him now, open back up the reserves. but this get this country back up and running let's quit buying it from opec per of the wildfires 70% come on forest -- on the natural federal lands that are managed by the federal government as i mentioned before all you got to do i would be interested to have hear your comments one match would strike the whole fire. as i learn from carole king who again i like, they simply -- they would like good trees die because it holds carbon. america emits one sixth of carbons across the world that one sixth yet china is building a whole plant every week.
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so it does not make sense. when i asked her what you going to do about china she said basically we ask them to be nice. that is not acceptable in the world today we are seeing the horrors of the countries that are run by socialist and we got to fight it, yield back. >> thank you ranking member. now i'd like to introduce our witness mr. randy moore chief of the u.s. forest service. the witness will be on muted so we can swear him in. sir please raise your right hand. do you swear or affirm the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? >> let the record show the witness answered in the affirmative. thank you. without objection your written statements will be made part of the record. with that mr. moran you are now recognized for your testimony. >> chairman, ranking member norman and members of the
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subcommittee, thank you for the invitation to testify before you today. caring for the land and serving people, that is what we are really all about. we cannot fulfill this mission without successfully combating the wildfire crisis that is occurring. our job is to sustain the healthy, resilient landscape all the benefits of the people both in now and for generations to come. nationwide more than 60 million people living in 3400 communities across 36 states depending on the national forest in grasslands for the drinking water this includes great cities like portland, denver, atlanta, san francisco, los angeles and many more. the national forest systems has a tremendous source of jobs and economic opportunities for hundreds of millions of americans. in 2020 for example the national forest system supported more than three to 70000 jobs and contributed more than $37 billion to the gdp.
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that's a very conservative number when you look at the water that flows through and then national systems land. that's many times more than the annual budget of $8 billion. all of this is now at risk on forest in grasslands nationwide. changing environmental conditions have lengthened fire seasons into fire years and were sent wildfires across the west. i has contributed to outbreaks of disease and insects that have killed tens of millions of acres of forest across the west. at the same time that our forest is getting ever more overgrown and unhealthy developers put in ever more homes into fire prone landscapes in the wildland urban interface in increasing wildfire risk. altogether it is a recipe for catastrophic wildfires especially in the west. we have made some national wildfire crisis.
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over the past 20 -- 40 years we have seen growing fire site is extreme fire behavior in fire seasons lengthened into fire years. in three of the last seven years more than 10 million acres burned nationwide. that's more than six times the size of delaware. this unprecedented scale and extent of wildfire threatens key ecological values including carbon stories, species habitats, for stability and watershed function. in some cases even result in a long-term d4 station. unless we do something about the wildfire crisis, it will only get worse. based on decades of science and experience, we know what to do. to protect communities and natural resources we need to restore healthy, resilient higher adaptive forest. in overgrown force we need to use mechanical and other means to restore the landscape something approaching historical levels. then we need to return low
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intensity buyers to build fire adaptive forests. in the right places at the right scale, are burning treatment works. we have case after case in study after study to prove it. last year the cal door fire in california blew right through scattered small treatments on the national forest. then, hidden area of treatment and is scaled on the lake tahoe basin management unit. these treatments at scale up modified fire behavior enough for firefighters to get the firm burning into south lake tahoe. for decades of putting fuels and force help treatments but rarely at the skills needed. it will take a paradigm shift to confront the wildfire crisis that faces the nation. the old paradigm is to use limited funds and capacity to scatter treatments randomly across the landscape to the best of our limited ability. the new paradigm is a step up
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the pace and scales of our treatments to match the actual scale of wildfires across the landscape. we need to put that paradigm into action and that is what we are here to discuss. we work with scientists, states, tribal governments and partner organizations to draft implementation plans are confronting this crisis. we plan to dramatically increase fuels in force health treatments by up to four times the current treatment levels in the west. where the wildfire risk of homes and community is highest. we will fully sustain treatment levels in the south, midwest, northeast. we deeply appreciate congress passage of the bipartisan infrastructure law which provides a significant down payment on the work we intend to accomplish from the strategy. we now have the science and tools we need to place treatments and await the truly make a difference. less than 10% of fire prone force in the west account for
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roughly 80% of the fire risk to communities. will focus on the high-priority fire sheds and that risk to lives, homes, communities and natural resources greatest. under our strategy it will place treatments over and above our current treatment levels. we will treat up traditional acres on national forest land and will work with partners to treat neptune additional 30 million acres of federal, state, tribal and private lands. the forest service could not succeed in this alone for the wildfire crisis facing the nation confirms a crossed ownership. this is not just about the national forest system we are all in this together. fortunately we have decades of experience working through partnerships and shared goals and shared landscape. so in closing, i am grateful to the leaders from across the country for stepping up and help us finalize the plan for our wildfire crisis strategy broom grateful to our partners for stepping up and help us carry
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out the strategy. and finally i'm grateful to you all for your interest in your supports. thank you the opportunity i'll be pleased to take any questions you may have. >> thank you i recognize myself for five minutes of questioning. in general this year the department of agriculture and as a tenure plan to address our wildfire crisis. treating additional 20 million acres on national force in grasslands and 38 million acres on other government and private lands paid chief moore, how will you and the long-term term strategy to confront the wildfire crisis? [inaudible] >> our first goal is to work the partners across many different landscapes. we have put together this ten year strategy as you have mentioned 20 million federal forest service lands other
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federal tribal lands. what we are trying to focus on initially is to look the fire sheds that are high risk and put communities at the highest risk of fires. this bipartisan infrastructure bill gives us a really good down payment on trying to address those communities at risk. our goal by the spring is to release the projects we have chosen it's a good shot in the arm does not address all of the communities that are at risk. will start the selection process we attend our projects on the
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ground collection of resources and funding the firefighters get paid 40 grand of the year when we need to do to pay them more? the bipartisan infrastructure ledges duration one is to hire the other thing is to really look at the minimum paid especially at the lower scale and also the bill also allows us to create a firefighters series to put them in. we are working with opm try to
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get that implemented. >> when maurice's help? a lot of the issues on these hearings will be about that do you acknowledge there are times i understand their time sending is needed but do acknowledge there are times that contractors with thinning leave by more flammable material like dead branches going to large fire resistant trees. >> the problem may have, one of the problems we have we need to create new and different markets we currently have. we need to work with industry to
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utilize that material in some case maps are paid to rivet of the woods because it would become a hot fire hazard we do need to find a source to use this material. >> do you agree the time, the thinning what we need to be looking at when he took the landscape of the scale. when you talk about low value we don't want to limit ourselves i think we need to be realistic about the industry we do have this country and look at how we
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need to balance, how we make that landscaper. >> my times about to expire let me ask would you be committed to sitting down with some of the other advocates who are concerned about the thinning process? i understand their difference signs there but there is some consensus that sometimes the thinning may go too far. would you be willing to sit out all of the communities including the indigenous communities to see how we can have the best science dictate our policies? >> absolutely i would. >> thank you. >> i now recognize ranking member norman for five minutes of questions. >> thank you german. chief moore in 2027% of the acreage burned in the united states was on federal land. this seems like a clear reflection of the state of our natural forests and public
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lands. explain why a large majority of acreage burn is on federal land not private lands? and as i mentioned earlier, is the chairman mentioned, i got the impression from ms. king and the doctor with her they were not cutting any size tree at all. and were willing to again let the thatch build up two or 3 feet. all it takes is walking the land to see that as a fire hazard parade that is one of the reasons why. and i asked them they thought the atmospheric conditions was privately owned started the fires. by having a conversation at some point cutting trees there's economic benefit to this country whether it is thinning it or not. but trees have lives, am i not right? can you discuss some of this? >> if i understand your question
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congressman, let me start by saying everyone is right in their position. but a lot of the time when i look at the problem that is occurring out there, let's start with the fact that 90% of the fires that are started or human cause. 90%. a lot of those fires did not start on national force system land for those facts those we have a 98% success rate in suppressing those fires before they turn into large fires. so what we are really talking to her the 2% of the fires that grow into large fires and they are devastating in their catastrophic played i do not to downplay the significance of those fires. what is happening those we have conditions on the landscape that is ripe for catastrophic fires.
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we need to remove a significant amount of materials off the landscape. >> how do you mean or move it? >> when to take it off the landscape. you call that brush that's the place southern term. out west is a small material with the shrubs or. be as it may that is kindling for a fire. what happens is that starts on the ground comes up the ladder of different levels and then the wind carries it. >> does the thatch or the tree limbs or whatever you want to call this that contribute to it? >> of course it does. if you cannot cut a logging pass through the force which my most environmentalist does not have any type of access to it does that not drive up the cost of these catastrophic fires? >> there is a cost that striven
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to that. the problem is it's a lot more complex than that. we have species to be need to be concerned about we have to consider that. let's take a look 1935 with a 10:00 a.m. policy we put the fire before 10:00 a.m. the next morning. the part of that is the significance they played in the country. that was the right decision at that time. but, 100 years later almost we look back at the decision the country has changed significantly. it's more populated more influence. and so we cannot allow those fires to burn because there's too much at risk. and so what we have to do now is not joint the traditional industry. we need that we need to carry that forward. at the same time you need to look at new industries, new markets to look at how we utilize that material that does have a lot of value.
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but inclusive of the material that is out there, how do we make use of that to create job opportunities in a small rural community? that is a challenge you have that's what you pursue. >> about 28 seconds on timber gets a certain dynamic you cut whether it's thinning and on the thatch is that not mean getting logging trails through there so you can get the timber out and get the thatch out? i got ten seconds per. >> maybe we can get back to that. we have a four supplanted in that forest plan to have a desired condition it's almost like it sections off all across the forest. went to try to achieve certain desired conditions out there. in the forest plan. so in some cases we do
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recreation by some cases it's a bike country. in some cases it's wilderness. each one of those areas have certain desired conditions that require certain management type to take place to keep that desired condition out there. >> thank you so much. >> thank you ranking member norman. i recognize gibbs for five minutes of questioning. >> thank you, thank you. first i want to comment on your brief colloquy you had at the beginning mr. chairman. or talk about the oil production you're talking short term. that's a new developments. the problem is the other side of the aisle is talking about energy companies that is not encouraging and investing in this country because to put a wellin takes millions of dollars a short-term investment if it's months or year that's not going
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to make it happen. it is really sad we had the ukrainian thing today, the president and saw what's happening. we could solve a lot of our problems if we warp speed or energy production in this country and it puts putin behind everything. we could solve a lot of problems, create a lot of jobs in find things friendlier in the world i just want to get my 2 cents in on that. >> mr. moore checkup for street management i've seen pictures of had major forest fires and public lands and right next door will be a private managed land and fire did not seem to get a hole. is some of that because they are timbering and that and manage it better? i guess that leads into a couple of questions, what is the policy the forest service when it comes to timber harvesting, controlled
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burns, what is your policy? >> we certainly have policy and a program to look at having a timber program. i want to say, i mention context earlier i want to say that we have to go back a little ways, what's happened to the forest service that we are not managing the forest at the level we used to in the past? and a part of that has to do with how fire has significantly grown in the country and as fire has increased we have had to put a lot of our resources to fire. what has happened is over the last few years. before our natural resource professionals those were the professionals who put together timber sales. who put up a lot of the resource areas to keep the forest healthy. were down about 40% of resources
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where we used to be to the forest and a much higher level. with a infrastructure language in the legislation, we are very hopeful to start filling those positions. in fact we just filled hundreds of positions we currently have 200 force positions out there. this bipartisan infrastructure legislations given us a good shot in the arm to recover some of those resources, some of the positions we have lost. >> you are saying we haven't been doing enough timber harvesting because we did not have the personnel in place to put the contracts together? that could be a policy change that came from washington d.c. to discourage timber harvesting. >> i look at it as those is not so much timber harvest as managing the vegetation on the forest.
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and manage the vegetation on the forest is a number of products that come off certainly one of those products we use and manage the forest. we still need to do more of that because we have so much material. i'll give you an example if i can. when you look at conditions back at the turn of the century, even before you look at a ponderosa of force these are fire adaptive ecosystem. you probably had about 60 trees per acre. today you could have 800 trees per acre on that same piece of land. and so when we are talking about trying to get that piece of land back to a healthy, resilient system it means removing a lot of material that is out there now because it contributes to these catastrophic fires we are seeing across the country. now it is not all of that it's that plus the conditions from droughts, the conditions from
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disease and insects that are taking over in many places, california where i came from we had over 160 million trees that were affected through climate change through disease and insect infestation. it creates these types of conditions where wherever we go. that's why we need to talk about vegetation management. >> are we doing controlled burns in certain areas? >> recently do controlled burns. in fact last year we burned right at about 1.5 million acres told the across the country we treated about 3 million acres across the country. >> a quick question i don't have time but the controlled burns is that done while fighting a major wildfire? or do you controlled burns and there's not a fire present? >> i believe you may be for it referring to fire to resource benefit. strive time to answer? let's go ahead and answer. that is different.
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it's one tool in the toolbox. we try and give that to the incident commander as well as the regional forest supervisor about making that decision about what tool is needed. that is not a tool we use all the time we only use it when condition warrants it and when conditions are right on the landscape or we can use that. our scientists are telling us we do need to introduce more fire on the landscape but we need to do that in a way where conditions are right to handle the fire and in many cases we need to go in and do mechanical thinning on the landscape before put a fire on that landscape otherwise you create a disaster. >> thank you. >> thank you representative gibbs. i want to recognize representative fallon. >> thank you mr. chair. i had a question for chief moore. chief, the infrastructure and jobs act included several and that includes fuel breaks which
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applies to fuel break products up to 1000 feet near roads, trails, utility lines comes up to 3000 acres. and an emergency situation authority which allows for dying trees, control harvest for insects id infestation, hazardous fuels up to 10000 acres. can you provide an update on how the forest service intends to utilize these new authorities? >> yes or think your congressman. you are right the bill allows for a couple of things to one of those is a new counter growth exclusion for lineal fuel breaks might be what you are referring to. we are in the process now at the guidance to send out so that we have alignment and we have an understanding of what we intend with this new language in the new opportunity that we have it. so we are working on that now of course with the department getting ready to submit that information out quickly.
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>> you have a timeline chief? you say quickly are we talking weeks? months? >> we want to start looking at projects the spring. we want to have that out before we start the project selection and implementation. i cannot give you a time but it will be this spring. >> okay thank you. thank you mr. chair i yield back. >> thank you representative. and now i like to recognize. >> thank you mr. chair i wasn't quite ready. thank you chief moore at so good to meet in person we have talked on the phone so i really appreciate this. this could really be your lucky day because i am listening to your talk with some of the tools and items you need in order to have healthy forests. i've introduced a bill called the biochar act. i'm really asking you to take a look at it. what it does in short it takes
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the small diameter low value ground cover and wild timber uses it for biochar which retains moisture we can use interactive operations for fertilizers. it has a lot of applications that could be beneficial but also create jobs for these rural communities. i grew up in that lincoln national forest and very familiar with this groundcover. but i would really like for your office to look at that. this could be an opportunity and i thank you for mentioning the number of trees. we have seen that where the tree growth has been in the hundreds per acre. it what that does to the underlying watershed is devastating. especially for areas. i also want to talk a little bia little bit is the endangered species act. it has really been complicated and hard for my constituents. especially when it comes to the
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lesser prairie chickens. it does not feel like there has been much inner agency help or communication as it relates to, these are allotments these are forest areas. what i would like to know, is there any way to improve interagency communications with fish and wildlife? especially the local and regional level whether it's the jumping mouse or the spotted owl et cetera? >> congresswoman we are always trying to find that balance. i am pleased to say we do have one of the wonderful relationship of the u.s. fish and wildlife service. so your challenge of course we accept to get together and try to work through some of these concerns. also, please understand under the endangered species act we are obligated to manage the species to protect them.
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we are obligated through legislation by congress of course. and so, we will work to find that balance and how we do that. it is so complicated when we talk about endangered species, whether they are threatened or endangered. that potential impact of our lives as we are now there is no easy answer. and a lot of times we are just and stark disagreement with how to do that. we have to try to work on that balance in that discussion. it is a tough, tough decision but. >> would like to work with you on that. i also know grazing on federal lands is a forest and wildlife tool. it also helps an economic necessity for rural communities especially in the west. there any plans the forest service to improve grazing access for ranches and re-
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populating this been left vacant? >> congresswoman thank you for that question. one of the problems we've had as i mentioned earlier we lost 40% of our resource professionals with the bipartisan infrastructure laws we are hopeful to start gaining some of those resources back so we can start addressing the significant issues we have particularly in the west. we look forward to working with you as we begin to build our capacity internally but also increasing our partnership levels externally. >> i appreciate that. and still look forward to seeing in new mexico but i know we talked to offer to come out we'd love to show you around our state and visit with you. will follow-up with you on that. thank you so much for your information today i yield back. >> thank you representative. thank you chief moore for your
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testimony today and for your continued leadership. we have a ranking member the committee at large. let me yield it to you. >> thank you chairman. chief moore, thank you for being here today. he wanted to take a moment to discuss with you a unit of the forest service in my congressional district, landed between the lakes national recreation area also known as lbl. el bl has a unique as you know the known as land between the rivers. in the 1930s the area it was required -- acquired by the department of interior. later, the tennessee valley authority form the rivers in kentucky and barkley lakes for hydroelectric dam projects. this project displaced and
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relocated residence. today it's a side of a great historical and emotional significance for many former residents and their families in my congressional district. around two thirds of the population lives within a six hour drive making it one of the most six sets full national recreation areas in the u.s. and encompasses one of 70000 acres of forest and open lands and attracts visitors from all over the world to ride atvs, hunt, fish, boat and simply enjoy nature. unfortunately, lbl has suffered from several deferred maintenance projects and chronic understaffing. lbl has also suffered from a shortage of law enforcement officers to cover the extensive federal lands. the lbl advisory board recently expired charter compelled these issues. this prevents the advisory board
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for meeting with the forest service to share their expertise on the cultural and historical context of the area. i greatly value my constituents and local stakeholder's input on lbl. i trust and rely on their advice regarding what aspects of lbl management need to be approved and appreciate their advocacy. as the oversight committee obviously we want to ensure that the federal government is properly managing the federal hunting provided for the management of lbl. so chief moore, will you commit to working with the individual -- you commit to work with the valuable local partners and elected officials in kentucky and tennessee because it covers part of tennessee to, to ensure the forest service is sufficiently managing and addressing issues within lbl? >> yes i would congressman. >> can you also commit, sir, to
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federal funding provided lbl is used to address priority maintenance and recreation projects in consultation with the advisory board and local elected officials as required by federal statute? work certainly a spray. >> thank you. one of the issues we have had their, it is such a huge amount of land as i described earlier. so there's no taxes being paid to the local government because this is federal land. but yet, because of the staffing shortages of law enforcement, anytime there is a wreck or a call there is no federal law enforcement agents there. we have had to use local law enforcement for they are expensive and they do not get the tax base there because that sections off the tax roll. there are required law enforcement officer does for
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patrolling that area that have not been meant for many, many years. we want to make sure the funding is used to make sure there is appropriate law enforcement protection for the tours and the local residents of that area. >> thank you for that congressman. since last time we talked i have looked into that. we have made a commitment to hire up to six additional law enforcement personnel there. that is completed now. i also committed to sending our director for law enforcement : : and your testimony and thank
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you for your continued leadership on this important issue. the first panel is now excused and we will pause for a moment while we get the second panel ready.


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