Barrasso Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Manage & Restore Wyoming’s Forests & Rangelands

September 24, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), introduced the America’s Revegetation and Carbon Sequestration (ARCs) Act of 2021. This legislation will restore ecosystems and boost carbon storage and sequestration through tree planting, fire risk reduction, and expanded use of forest products.

The bill is also sponsored by ENR Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and Roger Marshall (R-KS).

“Wyoming has incredible forests and rangelands that are critical to our economy and attract visitors from around the world. America’s Revegetation and Carbon Sequestration Act will help protect these natural wonders and rural economies,” said Barrasso. “The bipartisan legislation will help eliminate invasive grasses that fuel destructive wildfires and prevent livestock from grazing.  The bill will support the economy by expediting the logging of damaged trees and enhancing revegetation projects. The ARCs Act will also reduce emissions and the threat of future fires by allowing for additional wildfire mitigation such as tree thinning in fire-prone forests. I am thankful to Chairman Manchin for his partnership on this important legislation. It’s a critical first step towards improving the health of our forests and rangelands.”

“Senator Barrasso and Senator Manchin’s  America’s Revegetation and Carbon Sequestration Act of 2021 brings a rational, reasonable and common-sense approach to managing C02,” said Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon. “This is a refreshing change to the continual feed of anti-fossil fuel bills currently being discussed in Congress. Those bills are misguided and divisive. Fossil fuels are an abundant, reasonably priced and reliable source of energy.  Coupled with sources such as wind, solar and nuclear, these energy sources can provide grid stability and low-cost energy for consumers. Using fossil fuels is not the issue, the issue is the amount of C02 in the atmosphere. This bill provides recognition that our forests and open lands are important to the capture and sequestration of C02.  Proper management of these resources, including wildfire management, invasive grass control and use of forest products all could be a great benefit to the people of Wyoming. This bill unlocks a portfolio of important tools to proactively manage forests and enhance their natural ability to store carbon. I heartily support this bill.” 

“The forests and rangelands of Wyoming, and the rest of the west, face many serious challenges to their health and viability, including effects from catastrophic wildfires, and insect and disease outbreaks,” said Wyoming State Forester Bill Crapser. "This bipartisan legislation will go a long way to help managers address these challenges, and capitalize on existing opportunities. The ARCs Act will strengthen our forests and rangelands through thoughtful and coordinated revegetation efforts, expand opportunities for wildfire mitigation projects, and ensure that timber can be responsibly salvaged after disturbance events. I am thankful to Senator Barrasso for his leadership and look forward to working with our federal partners in implementing this legislation.”

“Senator Barrasso’s ARCs Act recognizes that active and timely coordinated management is the essential key to restoring America’s forest and rangelands to meet their incredible potential to store carbon while meeting resource needs for wildlife and livestock forage and wood products. Key provisions of the Act that address invasive grasses while providing support for locally driven revegetation will directly benefit ranchers in Wyoming and across the West,” said Jim Magagna, executive vice president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.

“The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has long championed healthy, resilient forests as important habitat for elk and other wildlife. America’s Revegetation and Carbon Sequestration Act would provide new, innovative forest and reclaimed mine lands management tools,” said Kyle Weaver, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. “We look forward to working with Senators Manchin and Barrasso to provide our land managers additional discretion to actively manage forests and to pass this important legislation.”

“I applaud Senator Barrasso's efforts through the America's Revegetation and Carbon Sequestration Act of 2021 to mitigate the impact invasive annual grasses such as medusahead and cheatgrass are having on our western landscapes,” said Slade Franklin, the Weed and Pest Coordinator of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. “These invasive species are degrading the health of the western ecological system critical to agriculture and wildlife while increasing the frequency and intensity of wildfires.  The language proposed in ARCs recognizes the need for planning across jurisdictional boundaries while emphasizing the need for quantifiable actions to directly mitigate the threat.”

The ARCs Act will:

  • Sequester carbon and improve ecosystems through revegetation;
  • Mitigate carbon emissions through wildfire prevention;
  • Store carbon through expanded use of wood products; and
  • Eradicate invasive grasses that make rangelands more flammable.

Read the text of the ARCs Act here.

Read a summary of the ARCs Act here.

Read a section-by-section of the ARCs Act here