Friday, February 09, 2007

Committee Passes Mountain Pine Beetle Bill

A bill proposed by State Rep. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne, that would create a pilot program for forest restoration projects cleared a hurdle in the House recently.

The Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee passed the freshman representative's bill in a unanimous 11-0 vote.

Gibbs said Wednesday evening that he was "ecstatic" at the outcome of the hearing, particularly since he has put so much focus on bringing forest issues to the forefront.

"When people think of The Beatles they're no longer thinking of Paul McCartney and John Lennon, they're starting to think of the bark beetle problems we're facing in the High Country," Gibbs said.

If House Bill 1130 is signed into law, the state would contribute $1 million per year for the next five years to fund cost-sharing grants for forest restoration projects on private, federal, state, county or municipal lands affected by the mountain pine beetle.

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