WASHINGTON – On June 23, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, introduced S. 3085, the Emergency Wildfire and Forest Management Act of 2016. The legislation pares a responsible solution to “fire-borrowing” with much needed reforms to improve forest heath on federal lands. This bill is similar to H.R. 2647(Rep. Bruce Westerman, AR-04), the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, which passed the House on July 9, 2015.
“Last year, more than 10 million acres went up in smoke due to decades of unmanaged forests and a government spending more on fighting fires and special interest groups in court than managing the forests in scientifically-proven ways. The 2016 fire season could be worse than last year with multiple fires breaking out across Western states,” Rep. Westerman said. “I am pleased that Sen. Roberts has introduced legislation similar to the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, which the House passed last year. In order to fight catastrophic wildfires, we need a new strategy that reins in frivolous lawsuits, allows federal agencies to scientifically manage the national forest system, and ends fire-borrowing in a cost-effective manner. Our rural communities are suffering and our forests cannot wait any longer.”
“We are pleased Chairman Roberts has introduced a comprehensive approach to address catastrophic wildfire. The solution to our wildfire crisis requires a responsible budget fix coupled with targeted forest management reforms, and that’s what this bill achieves. We must simplify environmental process requirements so the Forest Service can reduce hazardous fuels at a far greater pace and scale. More money alone will not solve the problem. We look forward to working with the Senate on this important piece of legislation,” Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) said.