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Press Release

Commonsense Wildfire Solutions Start With Active Management

Today, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a legislative hearing promoting solutions to address the catastrophic wildfires that plague American forests. Subcommittee Chairman Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) issued the following statement in response:

"America desperately needs solutions to the catastrophic wildfire and forest health crisis decimating our federal lands and forests year after year. The four forestry bills the Federal Lands Subcommittee held a hearing on today will cut red tape, put an end to frivolous litigation, address the Biden border crisis by cutting off illegal marijuana cultivation from cartels on our federal lands, and save lives and land through wildfire prevention. Republicans remain committed to advancing real, concrete, and scientific solutions to better manage our federal forests."

Background

Due to burdensome regulation, frivolous litigation and unnecessary red tape, national forests and public lands are facing historically devastating fire seasons year after year. 

The Cottonwood Environmental Law Center v. U.S. Forest Service decision has caused unnecessary and burdensome bureaucratic hurdles, ultimately resulting in the weaponization of the legal system by environmental activists. Delays on land management projects due to this decision have had devastating impacts, including the Hermits Peak Fire in New Mexico, the largest and most destructive wildfire in the state‚Äôs history. The Forest Information Reform Act will create a permanent solution to problems created by the Cottonwood decision.

Illegal cannabis cultivation sites result in significant environmental degradation, harm to wildlife, increased crime and catastrophic wildfires. The Targeting and Offsetting Illegal Containments Act aims to eliminate the environmental destruction from illegal cannabis growing operations in federal forests.

The three worst wildfire seasons on record all occurred in the last decade, with each burning more than 10 million acres. Unfortunately, the Forest Service only treats approximately 2 million acres a year, largely due to inaccurate reporting and a lack of transparency. The Accurately Counting Risk Elimination Solutions (ACRES) Act provides a way to hold federal land management agencies accountable, to see the work they are doing to reduce the amount of fuel for wildfires on our public lands and determine the effectiveness of the fuel reduction work.

As America faces a wildfire crisis and rapidly intensifying fire seasons, it's increasingly important for firefighters to have the tools they need to effectively fight wildfires. Serial litigation is threatening the use of fire retardant, in use since the 1950s and approved by the EPA, a critical tool for those putting their lives on the line to fight fires. The Forest Protection and Wildland Firefighter Safety Act of 2023 ensures the brave men and women protecting public lands can retain access to this important tool in their firefighting arsenal.