Recent Press Releases

Thune Announces Additional $1.4 Million for the Black Hills National Forest

Funds to benefit combating pine beetle epidemic, fire prevention and timber harvest practices

March 21, 2007

Washington, D.C. —  Today, Senator John Thune announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released an additional $1.4 million for timber harvest in the Black Hills National Forest in order to combat the pine beetle epidemic, prevent fires and benefit the local timber industry.

"The Black Hills National Forest is a precious resource that needs to be protected and properly managed. These additional funds will allow more timber to be harvested, which is necessary to combat the pine beetle epidemic, as well as prevent forest fires. A larger timber harvest will also help boost our local economies," said Thune. "Since 2000, pine beetles have killed over 1.5 million trees in the Black Hills. Only by aggressively dealing with this epidemic now will we be able to save this forest for future generations."

Senator Thune has been in contact with the Administration since last year to highlight the need for these additional funds. Just last month Senator Thune had a personal conversation with USDA Under Secretary Mark Rey about the importance of this funding. The $1.4 million is in addition to the $11 million already budgeted for the Black Hills National Forest timber harvest program. The funding increase was necessary to boost the saw timber harvest from 79 million board feet in 2006 to potential 85 million board feet in 2007, which is critical to managing the pine beetle epidemic in the Black Hills.