Bennet Joins Bipartisan Group of Senators to Protect Funding for BLM and Forest Service Wildfire Prevention Efforts
Senators Demand Savings from Wildfire Disaster Account be Reinvested in Forest Service and BLM for Wildfire Prevention, as Intended
Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today joined a bipartisan group of senators led by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) in urging that savings from the Wildfire Disaster Account be reinvested in the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to ensure the agencies can continue critical wildfire prevention, as intended.
Bennet and Wyden were joined by U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jim Risch (R-ID), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Mitt Romney (R-UT) in sending a letter to the Senate Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Tom Udall (D-NM). The senators requested that savings from the Wildfire Disaster Account, which for fiscal year 2020 amounts to $650 million, is reinvested back into the agencies.
“For over a decade, the growing costs of wildfire suppression forced these agencies to borrow billions of non-wildfire funds to pay for wildfire suppression, which consistently meant less hazardous fuels thinning, less forest management, and a growing maintenance backlog … Therefore, in order to get the agencies back to work in the woods and on the rangeland, we request that you reinvest the full amount of [Wildfire Disaster Funding Act] savings back in the Forest Service and BLM,” the senators wrote.
Bennet’s Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (WDFA) created the Wildfire Disaster Account to save the Forest Service and BLM hundreds of millions in wildfire suppression costs. The WDFA was included and passed in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018.
A copy of the letter is available HERE.
Michael Bennet, Colorado’s senior U.S. Senator, serves as Ranking Member of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry, and Natural Resources.