EPIC EFFORT TO GET COLLEAGUES TO SWITCH THEIR VOTES
Congressman Don Young needed a few more votes for an amendment to the Farm Bill on Thursday. As the Department of Agriculture is over the U.S. Forest Service, Young slipped a germane amendment into the Farm Bill to reverse a Clinton-era rule that disallows roads in Alaska’s national forests.
It’s known as the Roadless Rule, and it’s a rule that is hated by the timber industry, which has been essentially put out of business in Alaska as a result.
“The Clinton-era Roadless rule applies a one-size-fits all approach to areas where those policies rarely work. Especially the federally locked lands in Alaska,” said Congressman Young. “At 16.8 million acres, the Tongass National Forest is the largest in the nation. Coupled with the Chugach National Forest, Alaska contains over 12 percent of the total acreage in the national forest system. The Roadless Rule is nothing more than another effort to end the multiple use mandate of federal forest lands. Something that’s required by law but often ignored by nameless, faceless, unelected bureaucrats.”
But the vote on the amendment was 209 to 206. And yet the House waited while Dean of the House Don Young went around and rounded up the votes he needed to pass the historic amendment.
Young turns 85 next month, but watch this video as as he darts around the House of Representatives and looks for representatives to change their votes, and watch the white lettering to see how the vote total changes due to his efforts:
In the end, Young’s amendment passed, 208-207.
“Over 90 percent of the Tongass is inaccessible by road,” Young said. “The lack of access to timber not only costs Alaskans good paying jobs, but results in trees dying of disease and infestations. To be clear, we’re not talking about clear-cutting the entire Tongass National Forest, we just want to help it stay healthy and fulfill its multi-use mandate. Those who don’t manage anything, allow for it to be destroyed. If any reasonable form of timber industry is to exist in the future, we must get this exempted from the Roadless Rule as soon as possible. So I’m urging my body, this Congress to do what’s right for the state of Alaska and right for the timber, right for the people that live there and depend upon a source of income.”
The other amendment Young saw through passage referred to Native and traditional foods.
“This amendment builds on a previous provision of mine in the 2014 Farm Bill that authorized the donation and serving of traditional food which meet the safety standards and are in facilities that serve these indigenous populations. It applies to programs in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and others,” Young said. “No safety issues have been documented, and the food handling, storage safety standards were incorporated in my previous amendment. The standards were in part based on successful standards from Alaska which has long led the way for safety procedures for traditional foods. This amendment is truly focused on the importance of nutrition.”
The amendment was approved by the House on a voice vote.