LaMalfa, Conaway: Forest Health Key to Preventing Wildfires
Today, the House Agriculture Committee's Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee held a hearing to review wildfire response and recovery efforts in 2020. After the hearing, Subcommittee Ranking Member Doug LaMalfa (CA-1) and Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) released the following remarks:
"Over seven million acres have been burned due to catastrophic wildfires in the West this fire season. Year-after-year, I have called for better forest management practices to prevent this damage, but year-after-year Congress and the Forest Service fail to address it. Today's hearing put pressure on the Forest Service to improve their forest management efforts and spotlighted Congress's inability to enact real forestry reform. Given the current fire situation, the federal government has a concrete reason to act. There's no reason why we can't streamline forest management projects for timely completion, make common sense reforms to the way we manage our forests, and ensure that our wildland firefighters have the equipment and personnel they need to address a fire right when it starts. Congress and the Forest Service need to step up," said Subcommittee Ranking Member LaMalfa.
"My prayers are with those on the West coast; the loss of life and property is staggering. I also remain mindful of the men and women of the Forest Service--risking their lives daily--to manage our forests and fight these fires from the frontlines. Last week, I was reminded that Senate Democrats outright rejected commonsense House Republican reforms in the 2018 Farm Bill conference discussions. These policy reforms would have helped mitigate the loss of life, property, and acres we are seeing today. Unfortunately, the Forest Service continues to be constrained by bureaucracy and extreme environmentalists, who seem content to continue their pattern of suing the government as a business model. I'm hopeful that today's hearing will revive policy conversations that will lead to solutions to these wildfires," said Ranking Member Conaway.