Barrasso Introduces Bill to Prioritize & Protect Wyoming’s Black Hills National Forest

March 3, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), introduced the Black Hills Forest Protection and Jobs Preservation Act. This legislation will prioritize forest management projects to reduce the risk of wildfire hazards and insect infestations. It will also promote forest management projects that will result in timber production in the Black Hills National Forest (BHNF), and in the neighboring Bighorn and Custer Gallatin National Forests.

The bill is also sponsored by Senator John Thune (R-SD). 

“The longstanding partnership between the Forest Service and local sawmills has been key to managing and protecting the Black Hills National Forest,” said Barrasso. “Our legislation will help ensure this decades-long partnership continues. It will also cut red tape to expedite projects to reduce fire hazards in the Black Hills and help make sure the forest and local economies continue to flourish for decades to come.” 

“Active management of the Black Hills National Forest must continue in order to keep the forest safe from wildfires and insect infestations,” said Wyoming State Forester Bill Crapser. “This legislation from Senators Barrasso and Thune will help address dense stands within the forest that can lead to such mortality events, and preserve the small-town forest products industry that affects the livelihoods of hundreds of loggers and sawmill workers.”


The Black Hills Forest Protection and Jobs Preservation Act will: 

  • Require the Forest Service to expedite issuing NEPA decisions to carry out forest management projects, including thinning of overly dense stands, on the BHNF that align with the agency’s goal of reducing fire hazards;
  • Ensure that projects carried out under this bill are subject to expedited NEPA analysis and exempt from judicial review, which can significantly delay forest management projects;
  • Allocate $40 million in existing Forest Service funding to carry out projects specifically on the BHNF and the neighboring Bighorn National Forest in WY and Custer Gallatin National Forest in MT that would result in timber production; and
  • Prioritize the BHNF as a high priority as the Forest Service makes funding decisions for ecological restoration and forest management projects.

Read the text of the Black Hills Forest Protection and Jobs Preservation Act here