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(Washington) – The US House of Representatives passed H.R. 1526 today, along with an amendment by Rep. Jason Smith (MO-8) to stop the prescribed burning of harvestable timber in the Mark Twain National Forest.

The Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act seeks to renew the federal government’s commitment to manage federal forests for the benefit of rural schools and counties and to improve forest health.

“One of the issues I constantly deal with in Washington D.C. is rogue, unaccountable federal agencies. Whether it is the Department of the Interior trying to take away our property rights through a White River National Blueway, the National Park Service trying to tell us that we can’t baptize people in the river, or now the Forest Service burning whole swaths of the Mark Twain National Forest at great cost to our forest products industry, these bureaucrats just seem to think that they can get away with anything,” said Smith.

Mr. Smith’s amendment came on the heels of a letter he co-authored with the other Republican Members from the Missouri Congressional delegation asking that the National Forest Service review its policies with regard to the prescribed burning in the Mark Twain National Forest. Smith says that letter remains unanswered.

In addition to containing Mr. Smith’s Amendment, HR 1526 also would open up federal forestlands, including those in Missouri, for additional timber harvests.

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