Romney, Bennet, Curtis, Garamendi Reintroduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Emergency Wildfire Cleanup Bill

MATCH Act will expedite disaster cleanup, save taxpayers money, and prevent further disasters

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), with Congressmen John Curtis (R-UT) and John Garamendi (D-CA), today announced the reintroduction of their bipartisan, bicameral Making Access to Cleanup Happen (MATCH) Act, legislation to expedite disaster cleanup, save taxpayers money, and prevent further disasters.

“In the aftermath of a wildfire, many Utah communities face delays in receiving necessary funds to begin recovery efforts in a timely manner,” Senator Romney said. “Our legislation would help local communities cut through burdensome red tape, expediting the cleanup process and the start of restoration projects. We are proud to continue advocating for leaders in our state by reintroducing this important legislation and hope we can get it across the finish line this Congress.”

“Colorado has experienced some of the most catastrophic wildfires on record in just the past few years. We need more investment from the federal government and a stronger partner in Washington,” said Senator Bennet. “The bipartisan MATCH Act will help communities recover faster from wildfires by reducing hurdles posed by local match requirements and delays in project approval. There is still a lot we need to do to address wildfires across Colorado and the American West – including by investing in forest management and wildfire prevention on the front end – but this is an important step forward.”

“As Utahns know, the impacts of a wildfire do not end when the fire is put out. Without quick action to rehabilitate and restore the land, it is left open to additional damage,” said Congressman Curtis. “While federal cleanup programs have been a significant recovery tool, administrative delays and backlogs too often lead to extra work and unnecessary cost overruns. Communities need the flexibility to begin cleanup activities as soon as possible. To that end, I am proud to introduce the MATCH Act which will allow communities to begin certain rehabilitation activities immediately following a disaster while saving local funds and taxpayer dollars.”

“California is experiencing historically devastating wildfires with regularity and a year-long wildfire season. We must take forward-thinking steps to recover from wildfires as quickly as possible to support our communities. The MATCH Act takes critical steps to prioritize wildfire prevention and recovery, and I am proud to support this legislation,” Congressman Garamendi said.

Statements of support:

“The last thing communities affected by devastating wildfires need is more red tape. This legislation will streamline the federal process and get help quickly to those who need it. We’re grateful to Sen. Romney and Rep. Curtis for their ongoing efforts to get the MATCH Act across the finish line. “ – Governor Spencer Cox

“We forget about the impact of wildfires after they live been extinguished. We are currently working as a county with cities to mitigate flooding during this high water season and being told funding is not available to help until it’s been declared a flood disaster. The MATCH Act gives us the ability to be better prepared as it pertains to the burn scars on the mountain. I thank Senator Romney and Congressman Curtis for their leadership on this important issue for our state.” – Brandon Gordon, Utah County Commissioner

“I appreciate the efforts of Congressman Curtis and Senator Romney in helping local communities recover from the aftermath of a natural disaster. The MATCH Act will greatly assist the city of Woodland Hills in our post-fire mitigation efforts as we prepare for potential flooding, debris flow, and mudslides after the devastating Bald Mt/Pole Creek fires of 2018.” – Kari Malkovich, Woodland Hills City Council Member

“The city council and I greatly appreciate the efforts of Representative Curtis and Senator Romney in sponsoring the MATCH Act. For communities like ours that are vulnerable to the devastation of wildfires, this provides an opportunity to take additional preventative measures, and would speed up the recovery process if a wildfire should occur.” – Troy Walker, Mayor, Draper City

The MATCH Act will:

  • Direct the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a list of watershed rehabilitation activities for potential Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program sponsors to carry out prior to project approval.
  • Direct the NRCS to establish a procedure for potential EWP sponsors to consult with state NRCS offices about additional pre-approval watershed rehabilitation work.
  • Ensure that those activities count towards the program’s required 25% sponsor match.