Daines, Feinstein, Newhouse, Peters Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Boost Efficient, Effective Forest Management

U.S. CONGRESS – U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Congressmen Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and Scott Peters (D-Calif.) today introduced the bipartisan, bicameral “Root and Stem Project Authorization Act” to facilitate efficient and effective forest management by empowering collaboratives and public-private partnerships. 

“Collaboration between the federal government and Montanans is key when it comes to common sense forest management. We should be encouraging public-private partnerships that will find creative and effective solutions to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, promote healthy forests and protect local communities. Season after season, Montana is facing devastating wildfires. It’s past time we restore active forest management practices,” Senator Daines said.

“I’m pleased to join Senator Daines on his Root and Stem Project Authorization Act. This bill would codify into law the authority of the Forest Service and Interior Department to allow qualified, vetted contractors to prepare environmental analyses for forest management projects. This practice has long been permitted under executive branch regulations, and codifying it will allow critical wildfire mitigation work to move forward on schedule,” Senator Feinstein said.

“Collaborative projects have extraordinary benefits to both local economies and the environment. The Root and Stem Act will be helpful in accelerating these forest management projects to restore federal forests that have suffered from years of poor—or nonexistent—management. I am proud to re-introduce this crucial piece of legislation alongside Rep. Peters and Senators Daines and Feinstein and look forward to restoring healthy forests through efficient and collaborative management,” Congressman Newhouse said.

“The Root & Stem Act will accelerate forest management projects that are smart and rooted in science to protect our ecosystems and climate. As we combat the increasing risks of wildfires and drought due to climate change, bipartisan action to protect our forests and public lands will be more critical than ever. I thank Chairman Newhouse for his partnership on this legislation,” Congress Peters said.

For bill text, click HERE and for a one pager click HERE.

Statements of Support:

“Only with the help of states and the private sector can we tackle the wildfire crisis and the 80 million acre forest-restoration backlog. Building on the success of the Colville National Forest’s “A to Z” project, the Root and Stem Project Authorization Act of 2023 proposes to harness the power of public-private collaboration by empowering states and private parties to design forest restoration projects, to fund environmental analysis, and to implement projects. The bill also addresses the serious threat of litigation to responsible forest management.”—Jonathan Wood, PERC Vice President of Law and Policy

“The Root & Stem Act of 2023 is an innovative and bipartisan solution for improving the health and resiliency of our federally owned forests- more quickly and at less cost to taxpayers. This legislation builds upon a successful and collaborative partnership on the Colville National Forest that has accelerated needed treatments to protect communities, reduce severe fire risks, and enhance wildlife habitat, while providing timber for American-made wood products.  It is time for Congress to codify this approach to promote more investment in science-based public land management, and to give forest collaboratives across the country further incentive to get more work done on the ground.” —Travis Joseph, President and CEO, American Forest Resources Council

“The Root and Stem Act will provide an essential new tool for federal land managers to improve the pace and scale of crucial forest fuels reduction projects.  We applaud Senator Daines’ creativity and tenacity and appreciate his ongoing efforts to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires in Montana and across the western landscape.  Expanding capacity to address this growing threat is crucial to the agencies charged with managing our national forests.” —Barry Dexter, Director of Resources, Stimson Lumber Company

“The Root and Stem Project Authorization bill passed the Senate last year with bipartisan support.  We are pleased to see Senator Daines reintroduce the bill again this congress and we at the Montana Wood Products Association look forward to seeing bipartisan support and passage this congress. With over 9 million acres identified in the Montana Forest Action Plan as acres needing restoration treatments, we believe passage of this bill will help address forest health concerns in Montana and across the west.  With collaboratively developed projects authorizing a private person or private/public entity to enter into a contract not to exceed 10 years, while still being subject to judicial review but with a statute of limitations, we believe the “Roots and Stem Project Authorization Act” is a game changer.”—Montana Wood Products Association

“The last several summers have demonstrated that the old approach to managing our National Forests is not working. Large scale fires, insect and disease mortality, and general forest health on our National Forests is at a crisis level. The collaborative approach to management in the Feinstein Daines legislation has proven effective where it has been tried. It’s time for Congress to codify this Root & Stem approach that will encourage partners in the public and private sector to invest in more active forest management. We’ve got to try everything to stop the devastation we’re seeing on our forests.”—Bill Imbergamo, Executive Director, Federal Forest Resource Coalition. 

“MLA fully supports all efforts in helping the USFS increase its restoration efforts.  The bottleneck of getting NEPA done in a timely manner is a consistent message we hear from our agency partners. MLA stands committed with our collaboration partners in designing and implementing forest management on those acres of high priority.  As always, Thank you Senator Daines for your leadership on forest management issues.”—Montana Logging Association

“The Root and Stem Act encourages collaboration between public and private stakeholders, which is key to reaching the scale and pace necessary to address the state of emergency that exists within our nation’s forests and public lands.”—Becky Humphries, CEO, National Wild Turkey Federation  


The “Root and Stem Act” passed the U.S. Senate in December 2022.


Contact: Matt Lloyd, Rachel Dumke,  Blake Kernen