U.S. Senators Christopher Bond and Jim Talent are praising Senate passage of the healthy forests initiative, which was approved in the chamber as deadly wildfires continue to rage through parts of California. In a speech on the Senate floor, Bond raised concerns about the dead limbs and debris plaguing forests in Missouri and throughout the country. Those forest fuels, according to Bond, increase the dangers of wildfires. Senator Talent says the legislation is much needed because it will streamline excessive bureaucratic procedures so federal land managers can begin thinning up to 20 million acres in high-risk areas. Environmental groups have been successful in their attempts to prevent any such activity in the forests. Similar forest management legislation has passed the U.S. House. The two versions must be reconciled before a bill can be sent to President Bush. Talent hopes that will happen by year’s end.