Forest Policy Reform & DOE Authority Confirmed

Forest Policy Reform & DOE Authority Confirmed

Forest Policy Reform & DOE Authority Confirmed

I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

During a visit to the National Interagency Fire Center August 20th U.S. Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, both of Idaho, called for a national commitment to better managing public lands to help reduce the increasing number of large wildfires that occur every year. All three Senators stressed that the fires currently raging in much of the western United States are proof the federal government’s policy for fire prevention is broken. The senators’ plan for better management of public lands includes more thinning of overgrown forest stands, proper grazing and increasing the number of collaborative healthy forest efforts.

Executive Vice President of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, Jack Field, says the recent Washington State Supreme Court’s 8-1 ruling against a Dayton rancher, who argued that the Department of Ecology failed to prove his cattle polluted a nearby creek, was not the outcome anybody in the livestock or property rights arena wanted to see.

FIELD: That signal is fairly clear from the court. In their interpretation, the court believes firmly that the Department of Ecology has the authority to enforce the clean water act. They don’t believe they need to show causation prior to enforcement so that’s a very high bar that the regulated community now has to be well aware of as we move forward.

Ranchers and land owners should know that if they are experiencing such regulatory action they should contact their local conservation district and seek technical assistance. Also, there is a great network of support at the county state and national levels with a variety of programs that can help landowners and livestock producers offset impacts.

FIELD: Hopefully, we can keep people out of court and keep the issues resolved so we can reduce economic impacts and environmental impacts as we go forward.


I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network. 

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