Senators demand savings from Wildfire Disaster Account be reinvested in Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management for wildfire prevention
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today joined his colleagues in urging the Senate Appropriations Interior and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Tom Udall (D-NM) to reinvest savings from the Wildfire Disaster Account in the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to ensure the agencies can continue critical wildfire prevention, as intended. Specifically, the senators requested that savings from the Wildfire Disaster Account, which for fiscal year 2020 amounts to $650 million, be reinvested back into the agencies.
           
“For over a decade, the growing costs of wildfire suppression forced these agencies to borrow billions of non-wildfire funds to pay for wildfire suppression, which consistently meant less hazardous fuels thinning, less forest management, and a growing maintenance backlog … Therefore, in order to get the agencies back to work in the woods and on the rangeland, we request that you reinvest the full amount of
[Wildfire Disaster Funding Act] savings back in the Forest Service and BLM,” the Senators wrote.
                    
Background:
The Wildfire Disaster Account, established by the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (WDFA), included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, was created to save the Forest Service and BLM hundreds of millions in wildfire suppression costs. The letter, led by Senator Wyden (D-OR), was also signed by Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). A copy of the letter is available here.