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President Bush Signs Healthy Forests Restoration Act into Law

  • On December 3, 2003, President Bush signed into law the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 to reduce the threat of destructive wildfires while upholding environmental standards and encouraging early public input during review and planning processes. The legislation is based on sound science and helps further the President.s Healthy Forests Initiative pledge to care for America.s forests and rangelands, reduce the risk of catastrophic fire to communities, help save the lives of firefighters and citizens, and protect threatened and endangered species.
  • The Healthy Forests Restoration Act:
    • Strengthens public participation in developing high priority forest health projects;
    • Reduces the complexity of environmental analysis allowing federal land agencies to use the best science available to actively manage land under their protection;
    • Provides a more effective appeals process encouraging early public participation in project planning; and
    • Issues clear guidance for court action against forest health projects.
  • The Administration and a bipartisan majority in Congress supported the legislation and are joined by a variety of environmental conservation groups.

The Need for Common-Sense Forest Legislation

  • Catastrophic fires, particularly those experienced in California, Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Oregon over the past two years, burn hotter and faster than most ordinary fires.
  • Visibility and air quality are reduced, threatening even the health of many who do not live near the fires.
  • The habitat for endangered species and other wildlife is destroyed.
  • Federal forests and rangelands also face threats from the spread of invasive species and insect attacks.
  • In the past two years alone, 147,049 fires burned nearly 11 million acres
    • 2002: 88,458 fires burned roughly 7 million acres and caused the deaths of 23 firefighters;
    • 2003 (thus far): 59,149 fires have burned 3.8 million acres and caused the deaths of 28 firefighters.
    • Nearly 6,800 structures have been destroyed in 2003 (approximately 4,800 in California).
    • The California fires alone cost $250 million to contain and 22 civilians have died as a result.

>>More about the Healthy Forests Restoration

September 25, 2007
President Bush and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Exchange Toasts
December 16, 2005
President Meets with Ambassador to the United Nations from Iraq
October 21, 2004
National Forest Products Week, 2004
August 27, 2004
Conserving and Protecting the Environment
March 3, 2004
Secretary Norton Underscores Healthy Forest Initiatives
More News »
August 11, 2003

May 19, 2003
CEQ Chairman Jim Connaughton Discusses the Initiative
  Reducing the Threat of Catastrophic Wildfires and Improving Forest Health (34kb)
  Healthy Forests Project Descriptions (695kb)
  Health Forests Guidance (377kb)
  Administrative Actions to Implement the President's Healthy Forests Initiative (67kb)
  Restoring the Everglades
  Global Climate Change Policy Book
  More about Clear Skies Initiative
  Climate Change Review - Initial Report (90kb)
  United States Department of Agriculture
  Healthy Forests: An Initiative for Wildfire Prevention and Stronger Communities
  Council on Environmental Quality
  Environment Protection Agency
  Interior Department

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