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House Passes Bill to Reduce the Risks of Catastrophic Wildfires

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 1, 2017 -

Today, the House passed H.R. 2936, the “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017.” Introduced by Rep. Westerman (R-AR), the bipartisan bill reduces the risk of catastrophic wildfire and dramatically improves the health and resiliency of federal forests and grasslands.

“This year has proven to be another catastrophic year for wildfires. Dozens of lives have been lost, thousands of homes destroyed and millions of acres burned. Congress spoke today and said enough is enough. We must give the Forest Service the tools it needs to stop these fires before they start. We must end the practice of fire borrowing and treat wildfires as the natural disasters they are, funding recovery efforts through FEMA. We must do what is right for our environment and stop these catastrophic wildfires. I thank Speaker Ryan, Leader McCarthy and Chairman Bishop for their leadership on this issue, and I thank my co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle,” Rep. Westerman said.

“This is a bill based on a simple idea – that we must do more to expand active management in federal forests," Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) stated. "With this bill, we tackle not only the symptoms of the crisis but also its root causes. We provide the resources for our fire-fighters, but also tools for our land managers to improve conditions on the ground and proactively mitigate the threat of wildfire.”

“Our national forests are becoming increasingly overgrown with hazardous fuel due to lack of active management. The ‘Resilient Federal Forests Act’ is a vital piece of legislation for the Forest Service, allowing for more authority and flexibility for improved forest management. As a member of both the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committees, I understand how important it is we provide our Forest Service with the tools needed to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires, insect and disease infestation and damage to municipal watersheds. I applaud my colleagues for their support of this common-sense legislation to combat future forest fires,” Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) said.

“The ‘Resilient Federal Forests Act’ begins to move us back toward sound and scientific forest management practices. It requires forest managers to consider the cost of no action alternatives; it streamlines fire and disease prevention programs and assures that fire-killed timber can be quickly removed to create both revenues and room to restore fire-damaged lands. It ends the practice of raiding prevention funds to fight fires. It streamlines onerous environmental review processes without sacrificing environmental protection and provides forest managers with alternatives to resolve frivolous lawsuits,” Subcommittee on Federal Lands Chairman Tom McClintock (R-CA) stated.

Click here to learn more about the bill.

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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