By Kristen Bergstrand, Utilization and Marketing Coordinator, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
August 24, 2016, International Falls Journal—U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar reacts to concerns about the USDA Forest Service's slow response to the implementation of the Good Neighbor Authority projects in Minnesota. Compared to neighboring states, the amount of timber offered from the Superior National Forest over the past two fiscal years has not matched the timber offered from the Chippewa National Forest or other national forests in the lake states despite similar funding increases. After touring Packaging Corporation of America's Boise Paper mill in International Falls, Klobuchar sent a letter urging the Forest Service to move project implementation faster. Klobuchar has worked to support forest management by including a nationwide expansion of Good Neighbor Authority in the 2014 Farm Bill and requesting that the Interior and Environmental Appropriations Subcommittee provide the highest level of funding possible to increase the speed and size of important forest projects. Her request was responded to by a $10 million increase in their draft report over the previous 2016 fiscal year funding level.
By Don Deckard, Economist, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
September 15, 2016, Missoulian News—State foresters would have more ways to help manage federal and private forests under a bipartisan proposal authored by senators Steve Daines and Amy Klobuchar. Daines, R-Mont., and Klobuchar, D-Minn., introduced the Environmental and Economic Benefits Restoration Act of 2016 on Monday evening. The bill would let state forestry agencies use federal fuels reduction money in places where work on state or private land would also improve federal land. Landscape-scale work would also take place on noxious weed control, mountain pine beetle restoration, habitat improvements and water quality protection projects. The 12-page bill has not yet been assigned to a committee or had hearings. Daines said it was uncertain if it would see action before this session of Congress expires. "This may lay the groundwork for a future farm bill," Daines said. "Whether that's in some current package of legislation or something in the future, I don't know yet."