Farm Bill amendment to battle beetles clears Senate
Written byMYERS REECE, Flathead Beacon
As the U.S. Senate worked its way through a long list of amendments to the Farm Bill last week, Montana Democratic Sen. Max Baucus announced today that a plan to combat bark beetles has passed. The announcement is a bit of good news for the timber industry.
The Farm Bill currently authorizes the U.S. Forest Service to use $100 million to address bark beetle infestation. Baucus said his amendment doubles that amount, while also authorizing "streamlined procedures that promote efficient and responsible action on the ground."
Baucus' office says western states are experiencing the "largest bark beetle outbreak in recorded history, having lost more than 41.7 million acres of trees." Montana's total loss of 6.2 million acres is the second-highest in the nation behind Colorado's 6.6 million. His office says bark beetles kill as many trees annually as all wildfires across the U.S.VIEW ORIGINAL ARTICLE