Legislation that would strip away environmental restrictions on the removal of dead timber from the area burned by the Rim Fire is scheduled to be heard Thursday by the U.S. House of Representatives' Natural Resources Committee.
The bill, HR 3188, was introduced on Sept. 26 by Mother Lode lawmaker Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Granite Bay, who serves on the House Natural Resources Committee. The legislation, also known as the Yosemite Rim Fire Emergency Salvage Act, would expedite the planning and implementation process for salvage timber sales as part of the U.S. Forest Service's efforts to rehabilitate the Rim Fire's 402-square-mile burned area.
McClintock says he would like to see the legislation passed by the House before the end of the year. He said at a town hall meeting last week that he's reached out to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in hopes of crafting the bill for swift passage in the Senate.
Various environmental groups have opposed the legislation, saying it would remove too many restrictions and hinder natural processes. Proponents argue the bill is needed because burned timber dramatically loses value after about two years, and current environmental requirements would take too long to complete.