Bipartisan bill sponsored by Newhouse would ramp up collaborative forest management projects

U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) on Oct. 14 sponsored a bipartisan bill that would increase the pace and scale of forest management on federal lands through increased collaboration on Root and Stem projects.

“I have seen firsthand how these collaborative projects can benefit both local economies and the environment,” said Rep. Newhouse. “By encouraging Root and Stem projects, we can ensure more effective stewardship of our resources and desperately needed management of our forests.” 

The Root and Stem Project Authorization Act of 2022, H.R. 9184, would codify the authority of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to conduct certain landscape-scale forest restoration projects, according to the text of the bill.

The federal agencies would have statutory authority to increase collaboration with states, local communities, tribes, and private industry through stewardship agreements that would ensure forest management projects complement ongoing conservation efforts, benefit communities, and protect local ecosystems, says a bill summary provided by Rep. Newhouse’s staff.

The congressman introduced the bill with original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) as companion legislation, S. 3046, introduced in October 2021 by U.S. Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The Senate version on July 21 was favorably reported out of the U.S. Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, according to the congressional record.

“I am proud to partner with Representative Peters to introduce this bipartisan legislation because it is a necessary step in reversing decades of mismanagement and restoring healthy federal forests,” said Rep. Newhouse. 

“The Root and Stem Act will accelerate forest management projects that are smart and rooted in science to protect our ecosystems and climate,” added Rep. Peters. “As we combat the increasing risks of wildfires and drought due to climate change, bipartisan action to protect our forests and public lands will be more critical than ever.”