House panel votes to boost wildfire budget

Daniel B. Wheeler dwheeler at
Sat Jun 29 01:28:31 EST 2002

>From The Oregonian, June 26, 2002, pA4

House panel votes to boost wildfire budget
	WASHINGTON - A House panel voted Tuesday to add $145 million to
President Bush's budget for fighting wildfires in the West, cutting
subsidies for private landowners and conservation grants to pay for
the increase.
	The $2.05 billion that Bush sought for the National Fire Plan was
increased to nearly $2.2 billion by members of the House
appropriations subcommittee that oversees spending by the Interior
Department and related agencies.
	The total amount for preventing and fighting forest fires is still
less than the $2.27 billion Congress approved last year. Democrats say
they've been told by U.S. Forest Service officials that the cost of
fighting the wildfires spreading throughout the drought-stricken West
will probably exceed what was budgeted by $466 million.
	"There are accounts in this bill that will wind up needing more money
- probably firefighting, for instance - which we're just now beginning
to deal with financially," said Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., the senior
Democrat on the sub-committee.
	The Agriculture and Interior departments are each allowed to borrow
as much as they need for firefighting from their other accounts and
then seek reimbursement from Congress. The amount in the bill
specifically for firefighting by the two agencies is $581 million.

- The Associated Press

Comment by poster: if Amtrak weren't also in financial problems, I'd
have to ask if this was any way to run a railroad. To say it now seems

Daniel B. Wheeler

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