Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Rim Fire salvage logging measure passed

The House of Representatives on Friday approved a measure designed to ease the salvage logging of timber from the devastating Rim Fire.

By a mostly party line 243-172 vote, the Republican-controlled House approved the amendment authored by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Granite Bay. The provision, added to a larger forest management bill, is supposed to streamline logging by waiving judicial review of salvage plans for 2013 fires.

“Salvaging the timber will provide for an economic lifeline to communities already devastated by this fire as local mills can be brought to full employment salvaging the timber,” McClintock declared in a statement.

The Rim Fire burned more than 250,000 acres in and around Yosemite National Park, with McClintock estimating that “an estimated one billion board feet of timber” could be salvaged from the area. Republican Rep. Jeff Denham of Turlock added sidestepping judicial review will help because “the permitting process is typically fraught with problems, lawsuits, delays and frustrations.”

The underlying forest management bill faces an uncertain future, as House Democrats say it would “dramatically alter the management of our national forests, and undermine the multi-use mission of our public lands.”

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