Chairman Newhouse, Peters Introduce Root & Stem Act

Legislation empowers federal agencies to efficiently treat forests through a collaborative process

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) introduced the Root & Stem Act, which provides the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management with a clear statutory tool to treat forests more efficiently and empower collaborative processes through “Root & Stem” projects.
“I have seen firsthand how these collaborative projects can benefit both local economies and the environment,” said Chairman Newhouse. “By encouraging ‘Root & Stem’ projects, we can ensure more effective stewardship of our resources and desperately-needed management of our forests. 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.”
"The Root and Stem bill will accelerate forest management projects that are smart and rooted in science to protect our ecosystems and climate," said 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. I thank Chairman Newhouse for his partnership on this legislation."
By authorizing the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to propose and enter collaborative stewardship contracts and agreements, this legislation will allow the agencies to accomplish more hazardous fuels reduction and empower the agencies to engage with state, local, and tribal partners to ensure forest management projects compliment ongoing conservation efforts, benefit communities, and protect local ecosystems.
Click here to read the bill.
The Root & Stem Act will:
  • Authorize the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to propose and enter into stewardship contracts and agreements prior to the completion of environmental review
  • Allow for the preparation of the environmental analysis to be included as a service item (i.e. paid for with timber receipts) in the stewardship contract or agreement, provided the environmental analysis would be completed by an independent third party and the agency retains final decision authority for both the environmental analysis and the project
  • Ensure Root & Stem projects are developed through a collaborative process and protect the collaborative process and consensus-driven management by:
    • Clearly defining “collaborative process” to eliminate confusion and encourage the use of the Root & Stem tool
    • Affirming that participants can intervene in any subsequent civil action and are considered full participants in any potential settlement negotiation relating to the project to ensure local voices are heard 
Companion legislation, introduced by Senators Steve Daines (MT) and Dianne Feinstein (CA), was unanimously reported out of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining on June 7, 2022.

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