The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is primed to begin using its new authority to expedite the treatment process for forest land that has been damaged by insects and disease. In testimony Wednesday before the Senate Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said he expects to respond to governors by the end of the month on the areas to which he may be able to apply the expedited authority. The authority stems from the National Forest Insect and Disease Treatment Act that was signed into law as part of the Farm Bill earlier this year. The bill directs the Forest Service to treat one or more subwatersheds on all National Forests that are experiencing certain thresholds of insect epidemics or disease that impairs forest health. In consultation with state officials, USFS will identify eligible areas to conduct expedited treatments of acreage suffering from insect and disease epidemics. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell Wednesday told Senate appropriators that he had received recommendations from 36 governors, including Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, for areas that the Forest Service should prioritize under the expedited authority.