WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans are targeting environmental rules to allow faster approval for logging and other actions in national forests in response to deadly wildfires in the West.

The House is moving forward with a bill to loosen environmental regulations for forest-thinning projects on federal lands. Republicans say the actions will reduce the risk of fire.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the bill "will help us stop forest fires before they occur."

Republicans and the timber industry have long complained about environmental rules that block or delay plans to cut down trees to reduce fire risk. Democrats and environmentalists say GOP policies would bypass important environmental laws to clear-cut vast swaths of national forests, harming wildlife and the environment.

Wildfires have burned nearly 9 million acres in California and other states.