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U.S. House Passes Case's Measure Advancing First National Forest for Hawai‘i

Despite unique tropical forest system, Hawai’i is one of the few states without a National Forest

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) announced that the U.S. House of Representatives this Thursday passed his bill to advance creation of Hawaii’s first National Forest.

A member of the House’s Natural Resources Committee and of its Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands with jurisdiction over the National Forest System, Case managed (led majority party efforts) in the full House in debating and passing his (H.R. 7045) and several other key Natural Resources bills. Case’s bill now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration. 

“My measure will move us toward finally correcting a longstanding omission by adding the best of Hawaii’s unique and endangered forests to our country’s invaluable National Forest System,” said Case. “It will direct our federal government to pursue a formal process led by the U.S. Forest Service of engaging with state and community stakeholders toward identification of the most suitable Hawaii forests for inclusion as National Forests.”

The National Forest System currently comprises 154 national forests, 20 national grasslands and several other federal land designations containing 193 million acres. Its core mission is to conserve precious resources for a variety of uses to include watershed management, research, cultural site preservation, wildlife habitat management and research and outdoor recreation.

Case said: “Despite having some of the most unique and endangered forest lands in the country, Hawai‘i is one of only a handful of states nationwide without a National Forest. Establishing a National Forest in Hawai‘i would support tropical forest conservation and research throughout the Hawaiian Islands, and provide appropriate recreational, cultural and commercial opportunities in Hawai‘i,” all with financial and other assistance from the federal government.

Earlier this year, Case arranged for Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources’ First Deputy Robert Masuda to testify before his Subcommittee in favor of the measure. “The citizens of Hawaii share a passion for the lands and resources that have sustained our islands for generations,” Masuda told the Subcommittee.

“It’s ingrained into our culture and outlook.  Like other island peoples around the world, we understand that we live with finite resources on a limited land base.  Living on isolated islands, we are particularly sensitive to the threats posed by pollution, climate change, and invasive species.  We know that the conservation of our terrestrial and marine resources is necessary for the quality of life we now enjoy, and for future generations. 

Masuda continued: “The State and the U.S. Forest Service already have a successful record of ongoing collaboration in tropical forestry research. We believe Hawaii’s existing Forest Reserves, watershed and endangered species protection programs would align well with a National Forest in Hawai‘i.”  

NOTE: The measure can be found here https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/7045.

NOTE: Congressman Case on C-SPAN speaking on the measure is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhzwzeKxkug

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