Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune joined Senators Gordon H. Smith (R-OR) and Wayne Allard (R-CO) in introducing the Forests for Future Generations Act, legislation that would make important improvements to the process in which the federal government responds to damage resulting from catastrophic natural events, such as wildfire, windthrow and bug/disease infestation.

"The forests of the Black Hills are some of the most beautiful in the nation. They are a source of pride for all South Dakotans and a rich and fertile home for a wide variety of wildlife," Thune said. "Fires pose a serious threat to our state's forests. We must ensure that recovery from forest fires is timely, aggressive and top-notch, so that in the unfortunate event of a forest fire, South Dakota's forests are restored quickly and fully."

The legislation expands on the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act (H.R. 4200). Both measures expedite the federal response to catastrophic events by mandating prompt evaluations of forest damage and providing expedited timelines for forest rehabilitation projects. The legislation incorporates guidance from the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (Public Law 108-148) in the treatment of appeals and litigation against forest recovery projects.

Provisions specific to the Forests for Future Generations Act include:
  • Encouragement of mediation as an alternative to litigation over projects;

  • Requires an update of forest management plans to address post-fire recovery goals before wildfires take place;

  • Allocates 5% of revenues captured from fire-killed timber to communities impacted by catastrophic events;

  • Applies existing reforestation requirements to forests available for commercial timber harvest; and

  • Funds research and recovery projects using tariffs already collected on imported wood products.