FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 20, 2009
Contact: Jake Rubin
CONGRESSMAN KAGEN’S STATEMENT AT FORESTRY FIELD HEARING
(APPLETON, WI) Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. today welcomed the House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition & Forestry to Appleton, WI for a hearing to review forest resource management in northern Wisconsin saying:
“Thank you Chairman Baca for holding this field hearing. We’ve talked about having a hearing on the issues facing forestry for some time, and I’m glad to welcome you to Wisconsin. It’s appropriate that we’re having this hearing here, at the Paper Valley Hotel, because the name itself reflects how important paper and forestry have been to this community.
While many parts of the country can boast of their forests, few states have both the breadth and depth of forestry we take for granted in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin has over 16 million acres of forestland, which nearly encompasses half the state. It also has a diverse mix of both public and private forests that includes the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, over 10 million acres of private forestland held by 360,000 private landowners and state and country forests. This diversity means that the challenges and promises facing Wisconsin’s forest are reflective of the issues surrounding forests nationwide.
Northeast Wisconsin has always been known for its extensive forests which have played an important role in the housing and paper industries. Now, as our country moves toward greater energy independence, the forests of Northeast Wisconsin have the potential to meet our nation’s needs for renewable energy.
While this is a time of great promise for the forest industry, it is also a time of struggle. We’ve seen paper industries struggle under the weight of subsidized foreign competition. Timber sales have slowed along with the housing market, and the credit crunch has affected Wisconsin as well as the entire nation.
I look forward to listening to the witnesses assembled here today, as they talk about how we manage our forests here in Wisconsin. I look forward to learning what lessons I can share with my colleagues on the Agricultural Committee – and in Congress more generally – as we look to craft policy that helps our forests meet their full potential today as well as future generations. I also look forward to discussing what challenges are facing Wisconsin forestry. While Congress may not be able to solve all these challenges – and perhaps Congress should not be involved in solving some of them – it is crucial that we are aware of the realities facing forestry.
Thank you again, Mr. Baca for visiting with us and bringing this field hearing to Northeast Wisconsin.”