Two county commissioners, representing the National Association of Counties, spoke before Congressional Committees on March 8. (NACo). Idaho County, Idaho, Commissioner Skip Brandt spoke at a hearing held by the United States House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry titled, A Review of Title VIII: Forestry Stakeholder Perspectives.
Commissioner Brandt, on a panel with public and private sector representatives, spoke about counties’ responsibilities in public land management and offered suggestions for how the 2023 Farm Bill might improve cooperation between local governments and the federal government.
Commissioner Brandt spoke about the difficulties and potential benefits of county participation in public lands management. He mentioned the need to address chronic revenue shortfalls, the increasing risk of catastrophic wildfires, and the positive effects on ecosystems and communities that such participation can have.
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If you’d like to read Commissioner Brandt’s written testimony, you may do so by clicking here. John Espy, the commissioner of Carbon County, Wyoming, testified at a hearing of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Forestry titled “Promoting Conservation with a Purpose on America’s Federal Lands and Forests“ to discuss the ways in which counties can help federal land managers face new challenges.
Commissioner Espy discussed the successes and challenges of collaborating with the federal government on Carbon County’s public lands and emphasized the need for more possibilities for intergovernmental collaboration. Below you can read Commissioner Espy’s prepared statement.
Public lands make up a significant portion of the total land area in 62% of all counties. Counties, as primary managers of public lands, adhere to the principle that harmony between environmental and socioeconomic goals is best served by a policy of multiple-use management that permits a wide range of activities to be carried out there in service of local communities.
It is imperative that federal agencies coordinate their administration of public lands to ensure that land use and natural resource management practices are consistent with local visions. When it comes to encouraging responsible public lands and natural resources management that can serve the needs of our people and the environment, counties are ready to work with Congress and our federal partners to achieve our shared aims.