• Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

Forest Management Efforts Stumble as Senate Bill 134 Fails to Pass

BySamantha Johnson

Mar 6, 2024
House denies forest health bill due to funding source

A bill aimed at establishing a grant program for healthy forests in the state has failed to pass the House floor. Senate Bill 134 was designed to allocate relief grants to support forestry management efforts, with funds coming from the American Rescue Plan Act and managed through the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Rep. Scott Odenbach, a primary sponsor of the bill, emphasized the need for such a program due to what he described as poor forest management practices by the federal government. He argued that insufficient levels of logging and thinning put contractors, loggers, log haulers, and forest products manufacturers at risk of extinction in the Black Hills.

However, opponents of the bill raised concerns about where the money was being sourced from. While they agreed on the importance of protecting forests, they were hesitant about the funding allocation of the bill. During debate on Senate Bill 134, Rep. Linda Duba expressed doubts about its funding and its impact on the general fund if audited by the government. She emphasized that urgent action was needed to prevent wildfires like those seen in other states and urged caution when allocating funds.

Despite efforts to garner support, Senate Bill 134 failed to gain enough backing to pass through

By Samantha Johnson

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