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Agriculture Committee to Hold Forest Management Hearing in Oregon

Congressman Bob Smith, the incoming chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, today announced that the full committee will hold a hearing in Sunriver, Oregon on January 16 to highlight the generally poor state of federal forests and to examine federal forest management.

The Agriculture Committee has jurisdiction over the national forest system and oversight responsibility for the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service.

"Throughout Oregon, federal forests are suffering from dead and dying trees, high fuel loads, disease and insect infestation, frequent and uncontrollable wildfires, and, unfortunately at times, neglectful federal management. These forests are an enormous resource and a truly special part of our heritage. We have to manage them properly to ensure their health, not leave them to chance," Smith said.

"At the hearing, we will hear from scientists, government officials and land managers, and community leaders to examine the proper role management can and should play in enhancing the health of our forest ecosystem. It should be an excellent opportunity to shine a bright light on federal forest management in Oregon and, hopefully, learn a thing or two," Smith said.

The hearing will be held at 9:00 a.m. in the Great Hall of the Sunriver Lodge in Sunriver, Oregon, near Bend. Smith has invited Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman and Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber to testify, as well as scientists, academicians, community leaders, and land managers. A full witness list has not been completed.

Smith, who assumes the chairmanship of the Agriculture Committee when he is sworn in on January 7, represents Oregon's Second Congressional District - which includes most of eastern, southern, and central Oregon - in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district is home to ten national forests.