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AAC


NEWS FROM NACo www.naco.org


About NACo – The Voice of America’s Counties National Association of Counties (NACo) is the only national organization that represents county governments in the U.S. NACo provides essential services to the nation’s 3,068 coun- ties. NACo advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public’s understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innova- tive solutions through education and research and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money.


House passes bipartisan NACo-supported forestry bill By Jonathan Shuffield Recent legislation passed by the House of Representatives


would improve conditions in the country’s national forests and for the counties that share them. By a bipartisan vote of 232 to 188 on Nov. 1, the House passed H.R. 2936, the Re- silient Federal Forests Act of 2017. Te bill would expand rev- enue sharing with county governments, empower counties by allowing more flexible use of Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Title III dollars and delegate the authority to make appointments to local Resource Advisory Committees (RAC). H.R. 2936 promotes forest health by authorizing categorical


exclusions for collaborative projects, reducing regulatory reviews for timber salvage projects in response to a natural disaster, and requiring the costs and benefits of a proposed forest project to be weighed against the costs and benefits of doing nothing to address wildfire threats or disease and insect infestation. Additionally, the bill includes language that would pay counties 25 percent of the revenues from stewardship con- tract projects located within their boundaries. Counties do not currently receive a share of the revenues generated from stewardship contract projects unlike traditional timber sales. H.R. 2936 would bring stewardship contracts in line with tra- ditional timber sales, giving counties a new revenue stream. Te Resilient Federal Forests Act also gives counties greater flexibility in using SRS Title III funds for law enforcement


training and patrols on federal lands. Counties with federal lands within their boundaries are required to perform law en- forcement, and search and rescue functions on public lands. Tis bill will help ease the cost of these mandates. Finally, H.R. 2936 would allow the secretaries of the de-


partments of the Interior and Agriculture to delegate the ap- pointment of RAC members to agency leaders, such as Bureau of Land Management State Directors or Regional Foresters. Under current law, only the secretaries may sign off on the ap- pointment of RAC members, leading to appointment delays that hold up land management decisions. Te bill will be sent to the Senate. Two other forestry bills


have been introduced in the chamber: S.1991, the Wildlands Fires Act of 2017, introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D- Wash.); and S.2068, the Wildfire Prevention and Mitigation Act by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).


Register now for the 2018 NACo Legislative Conference Registration has begun for NACo’s annual Legislative Con-


ference, to be held March 3-7, 2018, in Washington, D.C. More than 2,000 elected and appointed county officials will come together to focus on issues critical to our nation’s coun- ties: Disaster Response & Recovery, Crisis Communications, Mental Illness, Advocacy and more. Early bird registration, available through Jan. 19, 2018, is $515. Go to www.naco.org/events for more information.


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