Opinions / Op-eds

“Treating Tribes & Counties as Good Neighbor Authority Act” Passes House of Representatives

WASHINGTON, D.C. — H.R. 1450, “Treating Tribes & Counties as Good Neighbor Authority Act,” passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, September 14th, 2023, on a voice vote. H.R. 1450 will modify the Good Neighbor Authority to allow counties and Tribes to retain timber receipts from authorized restoration projects. H.R. 1450 is a multi-year effort by Congressman Fulcher to expand the Good Neighbor Authority for counties and Tribes in Idaho to share receipts like States have for years. H.R. 1450 is co-led by Representative Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington State. H.R. 1450 passed unanimously out of the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Agriculture. H.R. 1450 was introduced alongside similar legislation led by Senator James E. Risch in the U.S. Senate.

Chairman Westerman: “I want to thank Representative Fulcher for his leadership and applaud all our committee members for getting H.R. 1450 passed through the House. This bipartisan bill will ensure tribes and counties can fully participate in Good Neighbor Authority program, a critical tool in confronting the wildfire crisis that enables cross-boundary forest management activities on our overgrown, fire-prone federal lands. I am pleased to see this bill bipartisan pass and hope to see it quickly move through the legislative process.”

“Ensuring the health and longevity of our national forests for future generations is central to who we are as rural Americans. The Good Neighbor Authority has been critical to that effort and gotten boots on the ground to manage these lands,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “I’m thrilled that the House has taken this important step to build on the success of the Good Neighbor Authority to ensure Tribes and counties can fully share in its success and we can continue to enjoy this resource for years to come.”

“We in the West care about our environment. God has blessed the West with an abundance of natural resources,” Congressman Fulcher stated during the debate on H.R. 1450. “Tribes and counties are at the “front lines” of these lands; they are most in danger from excess fuel loads.” Fulcher continued. “Tribes and counties should be able to fully participate in this good conservation program that relies on local input and collaboration,” Fulcher concluded.

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Background: Since 2014, Good Neighbor Authority has been broadly available as a tool for the Forest Service and States to partner in performing federal forest restoration and management. In the 2018 Farm Bill, Tribes and counties were made eligible entities to enter into Good Neighbor Agreements. However, in doing so, the 2018 Farm Bill did not afford them the same ability to use receipts for landscape restoration as States do now. H.R. 1450 provides Tribes and counties with the ability to reinvest receipts in authorized restoration and enables all GNA partners to perform restoration not just on federal lands but also on ground approved under the project’s Good Neighbor Agreement.

Footage of the Floor Session is available here from September 14th, 2023.

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