[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E808]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                         CONSERVATION MOVEMENT


                          HON. JAMES P. MORAN

                              of virginia

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, May 11, 2010

  Mr. MORAN of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I am on the floor today 
acknowledging the upcoming 100th year anniversary of the passage of the 
Weeks Act, a significant conservation achievement in the history of the 
United States. John W. Weeks, a Republican Congressman from the 
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, was relentless in his efforts to pass 
this legislation, which authorized the federal purchase of cutover and 
denuded forestlands in the headwaters of navigable streams for the 
purpose of conserving the flow of streams and rivers and to restore 
lands for future timber production. Despite a fierce two year battle, 
Rep. Weeks was successful and the Weeks Act cleared Congress on March 
1, 1911.
  At the turn of the 19th century, vast amounts of private forested 
land in the eastern United States had been ravaged by clear cut 
logging. In the absence of trees, vast areas of the East were prone to 
flooding and soil erosion, as well as destructive forest fires. No 
longer productive, these lands were often abandoned and came into state 
and local ownership for nonpayment of taxes. To bring these lands back 
from the ecological brink, Rep. John Weeks introduced legislation 
directing the federal government to relieve state and local governments 
from managing these lands and restore them to their former condition.
  Today 26 eastern states are home to 52 National Forests encompassing 
almost 25 million acres. These forests provide significant economic 
benefits. Not only are the forests recreational sanctuaries, they are 
also a major contributor in keeping America's drinking water clean. 
Many eastern municipal water supplies depend on National Forest 
watersheds and currently $450 billion in food and fiber, manufactured 
goods, and tourism depends on clean water and healthy watersheds. In 
addition, the timber supply managed by the Forest Service provides a 
significant monetary benefit. The timber resource was almost 
nonexistent when the federal government purchased the land, but today 
these lands host an estimated 42 billion cubic feet of growing stock 
and about 210 billion board feet of saw timber.
  With this resolution we recognize and commemorate the vision of John 
W. Weeks and his contribution to the conservation effort. Both 
Republicans and Democrats recognized the importance of federal 
government in conserving the forests and the water supply for long term 
environmental goals. Today I encourage both Congress and the Forest 
Service to begin preparing a centennial celebration commemorating this 
major bipartisan accomplishment. Our 52 National Forests in 26 eastern 
states may never have existed if the Weeks Act of 1911 had not been 
  I encourage my colleagues to support this resolution.