Wyoming Republican John Barrasso is leading a fight in the U.S. Senate to change regulations on timber harvesting in national forests. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that environmentalists and foresters are suspicious of his idea.
Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso received pushback from the chief of the U.S. Forest Service on his bill to expand timber harvesting on federal lands.
Barrasso’s legislation would greatly expand the Forest Service’s timber program throughout western states. The senator says it would create jobs and provide a new funding stream for schools in rural areas. Environmentalists accuse Barrasso of trying to gut environmental laws. At a hearing on the bill Thomas Tidwell, the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, told Barrasso he’s wary of how the bill undoes regulations.
Foresters say it’s a good thing that Saratoga’s saw mill is back at work.
Saratoga Forest Management opened this January, 10 years after its predecessor, Saratoga Saw Mill, went out of business.
Wyoming State Forestry Division’s Josh Van Vlack says half of the area’s dense forests have been killed by bark beetles, but foresters can’t afford to remove the dead trees. Van Vlack says that the saw mill is paying for the rights to remove the timber, which is turns into two-by-fours.