Failed to Pass: Senate Bill 134 for Healthy Forests in South Dakota Falls on Floor of House

House denies forest health bill due to funding source

Senate Bill 134, which aimed to establish a grant program for healthy forests in the state, did not succeed in passing the House floor. The bill was designed to allocate money in relief grants to support forestry management efforts, with funds intended to come from the American Rescue Plan Act and managed through the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Rep. Scott Odenbach, a primary sponsor of the bill, emphasized the necessity of such a program due to what he described as the federal government’s poor forest management practices. According to Odenbach, the inaction of the United States Forest Service is putting contractors, loggers, log haulers, and forest products manufacturers in the Black Hills at risk of extinction as a result of insufficient levels of logging and thinning. However, opponents of the bill raised concerns about where the money was being sourced from. While they agreed on the importance of protecting forests, they were hesitant about the funding allocation of the bill. During the debate on Senate Bill 134, Rep. Linda Duba expressed doubts about

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