Congressman Paul Gosar, R-AZ, was joined by 27 of his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 15 to introduce the bipartisan Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act of 2012 (H.R. 5744). According to Public Lands Council President John Falen, H.R. 5744 will allow forest lands to be responsibly managed to prevent catastrophic wildfires that put human and animal health and safety at risk while costing economies severely.
"Decades of mismanagement and convoluted environmental regulation have left our nation's vast forest lands one spark away from a catastrophic wildfire. In many parts of the nation, these forests, which have historically provided grazing land for livestock and habitat to wildlife, are nothing more than kindling for the next big fire," Falen said. "Forest lands must be responsibly managed but that is not happening today because environmental extremists have abused regulations currently on the books to tie the hands of land management agencies. The Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act will restore some common sense to forest management, improve public safety and restore the environment."
H.R. 5744 will allow the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to streamline projects to reduce hazardous fuel loads, thus reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire and protecting endangered species on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Authorized projects include timber thinning and livestock grazing. Joe Guild, chairman of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Federal Lands Committee, urged Congress to consider H.R. 5744 and commended Congressman Gosar for stepping up and working to restore the ability of the federal government to work with farmers and ranchers to prevent catastrophic wildfires.
"Catastrophic wildfires cost taxpayers millions of dollars in immediate response and subsequent restoration projects. Managing the land and reducing hazardous fuel loads to prevent wildfires is the right thing to do," Guild said. "Environmental extremists should not be allowed to continue obstructing our ability to responsibly manage the land and its resources. Congressman Gosar's legislation is a crucial step in the right direction of stopping the abuse of well-intended environmental laws. We urge members of Congress to support this legislation and help prevent future devastating catastrophic wildfires."
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