Shaheen Writes to Chief of Forest Service Urging Restoration of Funds for Milan Community Forest
The federal grant for this project was rescinded to pay for wildfire suppression, jeopardizing completionOctober 29, 2015
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today wrote to United States Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to ask that his agency reinstate funds for the Milan Community Forest Project (CFP) in Milan, New Hampshire. The project’s $400,000 grant to create a new community forest was rescinded by the agency to pay for wildfire suppression.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen worked to include $700 million in the Forest Service budget to replenish the agency’s accounts that were depleted due to a record-breaking wildfire season.
Shaheen’s letter reads, in part:
“…I understand that you have yet to determine where these funds will be distributed within the Forest Service’s budget; however, given this project’s time constraints, I urge you to replenish the CFP account in a timely manner. Matching funds for the Milan project are in jeopardy without CFP’s $400,000 grant.”
Senator Shaheen has consistently supported projects like Milan’s Community Forest Project that help New Hampshire’s outdoor recreation industry, which accounts for $4.2 billion in consumer spending and supports nearly 50,000 jobs in the state.
The full text of the letter is available below:
October 29, 2015
The Honorable Tom Tidwell
United States Forest Service
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Chief Tidwell:
I write to reiterate my request that the U.S. Forest Service immediately restore funds to the Community Forest Program (CFP) for the Milan Community Forest Project in Milan, New Hampshire. Your agency rescinded this project’s $400,000 CFP grant to pay for wildfire suppression.
As you know, my staff has been in contact with your office regarding the importance of the Milan Community Forest Project, which will create a new 1,342-acre community forest by consolidating existing town lots with three new parcels of land. The new community forest will continue to support forestry activities, while serving as an outdoor recreation area for residents. Projects such as these are critically important to New Hampshire’s economy, where the outdoor recreation industry accounts for $4.2 billion in consumer spending, $1.2 billion in wages and salaries and nearly 50,000 jobs.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I supported efforts to include $700 million in the FY 2016 Continuing Resolution to replenish U.S. Forest Service accounts affected by the borrowing of funds from non-related accounts for wildfire suppression. I understand that you have yet to determine where these funds will be distributed within the Forest Service’s budget; however, given this project’s time constraints, I urge you to replenish the CFP account in a timely manner. Matching funds for the Milan project are in jeopardy without CFP’s $400,000 grant. Specifically, the Open Space Institute awarded the Milan project a $50,000 grant, which is at risk if the new parcels of land are not acquired prior to December 31, 2015. In addition, the project committee applied for state funding through the New Hampshire Land and Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), which requires a match for the state investment. Without the CFP grant, the Milan project lacks leverage for LCHIP’s matching funds and will likely lose the additional grant funding they have already acquired.
Therefore, I urge you to replenish the CFP to ensure that this important community forest project is successful. I appreciate the initial award made to the Milan Community Forest Project, and I hope that we can continue working together to ensure this grant is restored.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I look forward to your timely response.
United States Senator
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