Forest Service chief testifies before appropriators on agency budget

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell responded to concerns from House appropriators this week over Obama administration plans for a major restructuring of the Forest Service budget and a proposed drop in funding for forest roads and research (E&E News – subscription req’d). The agency is proposing to combine what have been three separate habitat, watershed and forest product programs into one "integrated resource restoration" budget line that would receive $694 million. Tidwell said the agency chose to combine the three programs because they share the same objective and it will provide a more integrated approach. "It is not at all clear that this big funding bucket, with less accountability, is needed," said Interior Appropriations Subcommittee chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA). MORE: read about NASF’s appropriations recommedations.