WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Representative Ed Royce (R-CA) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act, bipartisan legislation aimed at streamlining resources for federal agencies to proactively prevent wildfires before they occur:
“Californians can no longer afford to suffer the consequences of short-sighted and reactive forest management policies. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reports that wildfires have burned 556,090 acres this year statewide, more than double the amount of acres burned at this time in 2016. Tragically, the agencies responsible for managing forests on federal lands face too many bureaucratic and legal hurdles to effectively treat our nation’s woodlands. Enacting proactive solutions that incorporate scientifically-proven forest management techniques will not only save millions of dollars in property damage, more importantly it will also save lives.”
H.R. 2936 would implement a series of reforms to how the Forest Service manages and administers national forests and grasslands. The bill would reduce project planning times, the cost of implementing forest management projects, and would simplify environmental requirements. Additionally, this legislation would include “wildfire on federal lands” within the definition of a major disaster under the Stafford Act which provides assistance to states during declared emergencies. Click HERE to read the full text of the legislation.
Last year, Rep. Royce asked the leadership of the U.S. Senate to consider changes to how Congress funds the U.S. Forest Service and Department of Interior's wildfire fighting operations. In the letter, signed by 57 other members of the House, Rep. Royce highlighted the nearly $700 million federal land agencies borrowed from land management and other important activities to fight wildfires during 2015. That letter can be found HERE.