Obama threatens veto of forest bill

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“The bill would significantly harm sound long-term management of these Federal lands for continued productivity and economic benefit as well as for the long-term health of the wildlife and ecological values sustained by these holdings,” the White House said in a statement of administration policy on Wednesday.

The legislation would require that the Forest Service sell at least 50 percent of the harvest from a new timber reserve, which the White House claims would ignore environmental conditions or public wishes. The bill would would force plaintiffs to pay for the government’s court fees, potentially limiting access to the courts, would give states new powers for federal land management and exempt a variety of actions from federal laws.

“This would undermine appropriate management and stewardship of these lands, which belong to all Americans, would compromise habitat for threatened and endangered species, and would create legal uncertainty over management of these lands as well as increase litigation risk,” the White House said.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill would cost $86 million over the next five years, but would reduce federal spending by $269 million by 2023.

The House is expected to vote on the bill this week.