The governors of Wyoming and South Dakota visited a lumber mill in Spearfish on Monday, warning that it and others like it in many parts of the country are threatened by new U-S Forest Service restrictions on timber harvesting on national forests.
Mark Gordon and Kristi Noem met with workers at Spearfish Forest Products to get their perspective, then spoke with reporters. They said the new restrictions could put mills and thousands of jobs in danger.
The Forest Service action came after the agency released a report calling current logging levels “unsustainable” because of past over-harvesting and the threat to the forests from global warming.
Noem said it’s not only about protecting jobs, but also about protecting lives by helping prevent massive wildfires by harvesting trees that need to be cut immediately to reduce available fuel.
Noem also said she plans to talk with the governors of Oregon and Colorado, both Democrats, about how to get the Forest Service to change the restrictions – explaining that a bipartisan group going to the White House has a “better shot” at getting the help needed to maintain timber-cutting contracts.