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Rep. LaMalfa Helps Lead Bill to Reform Forest Litigation

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa issued the following statement after joining with Rep. Rosendale and others to introduce the Forest Litigation Reform Act. This legislation would prevent litigation from impeding responsible forest management practices needed to conserve our forests and mitigate wildfire risk by streamlining the litigation process and creating an alternative dispute process to resolve claims against forestry management projects to be resolved through arbitration.

Rep. LaMalfa said, “Litigation reform is needed to help prevent the huge wildfires we are experiencing across the West. Radical environmentalists have weaponized the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act and are using frivolous lawsuits to block nearly every management project or salvage sale that the U.S. Forest Service proposes. This means that needed work is delayed making our forests even more vulnerable to fire. Rep. Rosendale’s bill would make much needed reforms and prevent lawyers from blocking needed hazardous fuels reduction projects.”

“As wildfires rage across Montana, it is clear that we must do more to responsibly manage our forests to ensure healthy forests and mitigate the risk of catastrophic fires. It is far past time for us to put a stop to the constant barrage of frivolous litigation from radical activists aimed at halting forest management activities,” said Rep. Rosendale. “The Forest Litigation Reform Act is a commonsense approach to fix this abuse of our judicial system and ensure we can manage our public lands sustainably.”

“Every year, we continue to see record-breaking wildfires devastate communities and the way of life across the West. Every year, it also becomes more difficult to address the cause of the fires because of frivolous and obstructionist lawsuits that delay and cancel critical forest management activities. It needs to stop now. Congressman Rosendale’s Forest Litigation Reform Act of 2021 will do just that, allowing much-needed projects to proceed on our federal lands. As a critical component of larger solutions like the Resilient Federal Forests Act, we will be able to work through these critical projects and prevent wildfires from devastating rural communities, critical wildlife habitats and economies,” said House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman.

“Serial litigators are notorious for preventing critical forest management throughout the West,” said Rep. Dan Newhouse, Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus. “We know that in order to ensure healthy, resilient forests and to prevent catastrophic wildfires that threaten our communities, we must actively manage our lands. Montana is ground-zero for these obstructive lawsuits, and Rep. Rosendale is leading the effort to reform these dangerous practices.”

“I am proud to co-sponsor the Forest Litigation Reform Act to circumvent frivolous lawsuits from delaying forest management,” said Rep. Tom Cole. “This legislation would not only prevent extreme environmental groups from funding lawsuits with taxpayer money, but it would speed up the process for resolving claims in order to lessen the impact on projects. We cannot allow the manipulation of the judicial system to slow down the prevention of dangerous wildfires and conserving our forests.”

Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.

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