Over 3 million acres have burned in America this yearPosted: September 15, 2016
Source: Healthy Forests
The U.S. Congress is working out differences between House and Senate versions of a comprehensive energy bill. There is one key difference between the bills: The House included a comprehensive wildfire funding and forest management reform package, while the Senate did not. It is now up to a conference committee to work out the differences.
The House version includes the Resilient Federal Forests Act. Passed by the House twice, the measure would end the nonsensical practice of “fire borrowing” when agencies are forced to rob money from forest management programs when fire suppression budgets are exhausted. More importantly, it would also give the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management a number of policy and legal tools to expedite critical forest management projects.
Over 3 million acres have burned in America this year. Congress can help address the threats facing our federal forests by enacting comprehensive forest management and fire funding reforms in the Energy Bill.
We believe the Conference Committee should adopt a package of reforms which:
- Prevents fire borrowing and stop further erosion of the Forest Service budget in the future.
- Streamlines environmental reviews to expedite forest management projects.
- Enacts common sense limits on obstructionist lawsuits.
There is broad, bipartisan support for a comprehensive solution to these problems. Please don’t let the Energy Bill conference be another missed opportunity to address these challenges.