Washington, D.C. – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today passed 10 bills that will preserve certain lands in Montana and Washington as wilderness, protect and restore old growth forests in Oregon and improve energy cooperation between the United States and Israel.
“We decided early on, that we wanted to see if we could break through on some of the paralysis here in the Senate,” Wyden said. “I’m expecting to be pulling out all the stops with (Sen. Murkowski) in January to have an agenda that builds on what we’ve done this year.”
Among the bills passed today is Wyden’s Oregon Eastside Forests Restoration, Old Growth Protection, and Jobs Act (S. 1301), which provides management direction for the forests on the east side of Oregon to increase timber harvests and improve the health of old growth forests and watersheds. It is the first legislative protection for trees older than 150 years. It also requires a large-scale environmental impact assessment for projects with similar characteristics and sets targets for the number of acres to be restored.
Additionally, the committee passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Landrieu, D-La., and cosponsored by Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, that promotes energy cooperation between the United States and Israel. The bill, S. 1491, supports Department of Energy projects to promote domestic energy production in Israel, where new deposits of natural gas have recently been discovered.
The committee has now passed a total of 88 bills this year. Of those, 17 bills have been passed by the Senate, and seven have become law.
The committee passed the following bills by voice vote:
- S.37, a bill to sustain the economic development and recreational use of National Forest System land and other public land in the State of Montana, to add certain land to the National Wilderness Preservation System, to release certain wilderness study areas, to designate new areas for recreation, and for other purposes (Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio , Mike Lee, R-Utah, John Hoeven, R-N.D., Tim Scott, R-S.C., Murkowski, John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., asked to be recorded as voting against the bill.)
- S.1237, a bill to improve the administration of programs in the insular areas, and for other purposes (Senators Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Lee, Scott and Barrasso asked to be recorded as voting against the bill.)
- S.404, a bill to preserve the Green Mountain Lookout in the Glacier Peak Wilderness of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
- S.974, a bill to provide for certain land conveyances in the State of Nevada, and for other purposes (Senators Lee and Scott asked to be recorded as voting against the bill.)
- S.1300, a bill to amend the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 to provide for the conduct of stewardship end result contracting projects
- S.1301, a bill to provide for the restoration of forest landscapes, protection of old growth forests, and management of national forests in the eastside forests of the State of Oregon (Senators Lee and Scott asked to be recorded as voting against the bill.)
- S.1341, a bill to modify the Forest Service Recreation Residence Program as the program applies to units of the National Forest System derived from the public domain by implementing a simple, equitable, and predictable procedure for determining cabin user fees, and for other purposes
- S.1491, a bill to amend the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to improve United States-Israel energy cooperation, and for other purposes
- H.R. 1158, an act to direct the Secretary of the Interior to continue stocking fish in certain lakes in the North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area
- H.R. 2337, an act to provide for the conveyance of the Forest Service Lake Hill Administrative Site in Summit
The bills now go to the full Senate.