May 11, 2010 - Issue: Vol. 156, No. 70 — Daily Edition111th Congress (2009 - 2010) - 2nd Session
RECOGNIZING THE VISION OF JOHN W. WEEKS AND HIS CONTRIBUTION TO THE CONSERVATION MOVEMENT; Congressional Record Vol. 156, No. 70
(Extensions of Remarks - May 11, 2010)
Text available as:
Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.
[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E808] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] RECOGNIZING THE VISION OF JOHN W. WEEKS AND HIS CONTRIBUTION TO THE 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 passed. I encourage my colleagues to support this resolution. ____________________