WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican leaders say the House will vote next week on a GOP bill to make it easier to cut down trees on national forests to reduce the risk of wildfire.
A bill by Arkansas congressman Bruce Westerman would loosen environmental regulations for forest-thinning projects on federal lands. The measure would waive environmental reviews for projects up to 30,000 acres for areas prone to insect infestations, disease or extreme wildfire risk.
The bill comes as the Forest Service has spent a record $2.4 billion battling forest fires across the West in one of the nation's worst fire seasons.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California says the bill makes needed changes ``to keep our forests healthy and less susceptible to the types of fires that ravaged our state this month.''