Sen. Toomey joined Sen. John Thune and a group of seven senators in appealing to the Chairman and top Republican on the committee that designates funding for the National Forest Service that “Congress should ensure that the Forest Service prioritize limited resources to adequately manage the lands for which it is currently responsible, rather continue to acquire additional property.”
“Our Allegheny National Forest is the gem of northwest Pennsylvania and a treasure all Americans can enjoy,” said Sen. Toomey. “The ANF, like other national forests, must be cared for and proactively managed to improve forest health before the government seeks to acquire more land with taxpayer dollars.”
Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, whose district includes most of the ANF, and his predecessor, Congressman John Peterson both lauded Sen. Toomey’s efforts.
“Active forest management is essential to healthy, vibrant forests and the strength of our rural communities,” said Congressman Thompson. “With wildfires and fire prevention activities still making up approximately 49% of the Forest Service’s budget, dollars are already stretched thin and must be targeted towards management accounts. Given the overall management crisis we already face throughout our National Forest System, it is my hope the effort by Senator Toomey and his colleagues will bring a greater focus to the Forest Service’s inability to adequately manage existing lands and the need to prioritize management activities – rather than acquiring new acres – within the agency’s budget.”
“The U.S. government has finite resources and is struggling to maintain the Allegheny National Forest. Purchasing new forest land would only lessen the ability the government has to focus on revenue generating management activities and preventing disasters such as forest fires. I appreciate Sen. Toomey’s efforts to ensure that dedicated funds for forest-related costs are being used to maintain existing forests, not purchase new land that the government that government can’t afford to oversee,” said former U.S. Congressman John Peterson.
Support for preserving the ANF has also come from members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. State Sens. Bob Robbins (R-Mercer) and Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) and State Reps. Martin Causer (R-McKean, Cameron, Potter), Matt Gabler (R-Elk), and Kathy Rapp (R-Warren) have all endorsed Sen. Toomey’s effort.