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Rep. Mike Garcia (CA-25) has co-sponsored the bipartisan Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2021, which seeks to take critical steps to address the environmental and economic threats of catastrophic wildfires.

The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2021 was introduced by House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and includes Garcia’s Protecting and Restoring Our Trees by Enhancing Conservation and Treatments (PROTECT) Act. The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2021 would reportedly address the continuing threat of wildfires by restoring forest health, increasing resilience to wildfire, and supporting the economic revitalization of rural communities.

“I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2021,” Garcia said. “For far too long, our federal forests have remained locked up. Decades of forest mismanagement have resulted in our forests being overstocked tinderboxes waiting to burn.

The legislation is said to remove burdensome regulations that will allow the Forest Service to better implement needed, proven forest management practices to better prevent these catastrophic fires from occurring.”

The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2021 provides federal land managers the tools necessary to pursue forest management practices, without sacrificing environmental standards. This may allow the managers to mitigate insect infestations, prevent damage to watersheds, and harvest trees destroyed by wildfires within a specific timeframe that will go towards re-developing a healthy forest. These efforts will reportedly improve wildlife habitat for several forest-dependent species.

“I am pleased that my bill, the PROTECT Act, was included in this larger federal forest management package,” Garcia added. “We can’t wait for our forests to burn to take action. We need to do better at preparing for and preventing wildfires. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in Congress to pass needed reforms to our federal forest management policy so that we can better protect our communities and the environment.”