USFS needs markets for pine-beetle wood, Tipton told
The continued loss of businesses in the wood-products industry in the West has hampered the U.S. Forest Service in dealing with the ravages of the mountain pine beetle, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said Tuesday.
The Forest Service, however, has the regulatory tools it needs to deal with the 4 million acres and millions of trees, most of them lodgepole pine, in the Rocky Mountains, Tidwell told a U.S. House subcommittee. Tidwell was questioned by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., during a hearing before the subcommittee on conservation, energy, and forestry.
“The Forest Service does seem to understand the threat” posed by dry, dead timber, “and now it’s just a matter of moving the ball forward,” Tipton said.
In some cases, a bureaucratic maze slowed some management efforts, Tipton said.
Tidwell “recognizes that there are some unnecessary rules and that regulation is often taken to the extreme,” Tipton said.
Tidwell emphasized during the hearing the needs of forest managers to take broad views of the lands they administer.
“Instead of looking at 500 or 1,000 acres, we need to look at tens of thousands of acres at a time” to better manage forest, Tidwell testified.
Some new businesses that are needed to help manage the forests are taking shape in Colorado, Tipton said, citing a biomass plant in Pagosa Springs and a proposed plant in Gypsum.
The Forest Service and others are working to make better use of the Intermountain Resources sawmill in Montrose, Tipton said.