Congressional Meeting Held in Montrose for Forest Maintenance Legislation
KREX News Room
MONTROSE, Colo.- Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., organized a congressional meeting on Monday in Montrose to discuss legislation regarding forest maintenance.
He said that if Congress doesn't enact regulation to allow for more logging, the effects in Colorado could be irreversible. "This will be our third congressional hearing on the Western Slope of Colorado," said Tipton.
"It's always much more interesting when folks from Washington, D.C. come out into the actual rural areas of the state because sometimes I don't think we get the attention we need," said Nancy Fishering, the vice president of the Colorado Timber Industry Association.
In attendance were members of the subcommittee on public lands as well as members of the subcommittee on water and power. "(We want) to be able to cut out the dead and down timber that threatens our environment and our ability to create jobs," said Tipton.
The committee said legislation that passed decades ago prevents forests from being properly maintained and thinned out. "We continue to see hillsides that are being ravaged by the pine bark beetle," said Tipton, which adds fuel to wildfires and reduces natural water reserves. "We have to be able to get in and effectively manage those lands. We then get the benefit of being able to get timber, to be able to create electricity and to be able to do it in an environmentally friendly way," he added.
"The mill in Montrose has been closed for four weeks. That's 85 to 100 jobs," said Fishering.
Officials say the dirtiest job isn't the forest clean up, it's cutting the red tape.