Montana Logging Association

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“MLA supports the streamlining and making NEPA more efficient and is appreciative of submitting comments. With Montana ranked near the top for acres at risk for wildfire MLA supports all efforts to increase pace and scale of these acres. This can only be achieved with reducing the burdensome and litigious working environment the USDA Forest Service must follow in regards to NEPA. Timber outputs from the National Forests declined from over 5.7 Billion Board Feet (in 1991) to just over 1.5 Billion Board Feet in 2002; a dramatic decline of more than 73 percent. Harvest levels have yet to fully recover to the roughly 6.2 Billion Board Feet called for in current National Forest Plans. As a result of this dramatic decline in harvest activity, the National Forest System has suffered unprecedented declines in forest health resulting from overstocking, stand stagnation, and drought stress. In 1999, the Forest Service said that about 39 million acres of National Forest lands were “at high risk from catastrophic fires.” Today, that total has skyrocketed to over 89 million acres.”