News Releases

Tribal Forestry Amendments Removed from Final Farm Bill

May 10 2002

Senators Murray & Cantwell Disappointed

WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) today expressed disappointment at the elimination of their tribal forestry amendments from the new Farm Bill that passed the Senate Wednesday by a vote of 64-35.

The amendments would have promoted cooperation between Indian tribes and the U.S. Forest Service in the management of forestlands and grasslands.

The amendments would have established an Office of Tribal Relations and programs within the Forest Service to provide for better coordination between the Forest Service and Indian tribes, which have lands sharing common borders.

The amendments improved the management, resource production, and environmental protection of tribal and forestlands. Tribes would have been eligible for financial, technical, and educational assistance from the Department of Agriculture.

"I am very disappointed that the final Farm Bill does not include the Tribal Forestry amendments," Senator Murray said. "I will continue working with my colleagues in the Senate and on the Agriculture and Indian Affairs Committees to get these provisions passed this session."

"Tribes have a significant role to play towards our national goal of ensuring that forests are managed as both sustainable resources and enduring habitats. The federal government has a duty to tribes to respond to their call for help," Senator Cantwell said. "I'm frustrated our amendment was stripped from the Farm Bill. I'm committed to seeing this legislation passed and will work hard to make it happen."

Senator Murray worked closely with Senator Daschle, who was a conferee, on reaching a compromise with the House on the Tribal Forestry provisions. At the last minute, the House conferees rejected the language.