Full funding for Healthy Forests?

Joe Zorzin abc at xyz.hgmp.mrc.ac.uk
Mon Mar 22 17:15:20 EST 2004


Maybe it should be called the "Healthy  Forests and Keep Larry Harrell Busy
Act". <G>




"Larry Harrell" <lhfotoware at hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:7a90c754.0403220611.107ca86 at posting.google.com...
> March 19, 2004   Oregonian
>
> Healthy Forests Act unlikely to get full U.S. funding
>
> The Interior Department doubts there are enough qualified contracts
>
> by JIM BARNETT
>
> WASHINGTON -- The Interior Department will not support a Senate budget
> plan to fully fund the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, a law passed
> last year to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires, a spokesman
> said Thursday.
>
> The House Budget Committee this week passed a resolution authorizing
> $2.4 trillion in federal spending next year. But the measure did not
> contain a similar forestry provision, likely setting up a showdown in
> conference with the Senate.
>
> The Senate plan, sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., would carve out
> an additional $343 million to pay for hazardous-fuel reduction and
> other projects authorized by the forests law, which passed late last
> year.
>
> President Bush's proposed budget for 2005 meets the $760 million
> spending level set by the law, but draws all except $80 million of
> that amount from existing programs administered by the U.S. Forest
> Service and Interior Department.
>
> John Wright, a spokesman for the department, said the administration
> would not support Wyden's plan because it could not find enough
> qualified contractors to justify more spending.
>
> Mark Rey, agriculture undersecretary, did not take a position on the
> Senate plan, but he agreed that the Forest Service could not ramp up
> its fuels-reduction work in time to use the additional money.
>
> "I don't believe we could spend that much money in one fiscal year,"
> Rey said.
>
> Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said the administration's budget plan
> would jeopardize firefighting, research and other ongoing programs
> that it included in its $760 million total.
>
> DeFazio plans to offer an amendment similar to the Senate plan when
> the House holds a floor debate on its budget resolution next week,
> although he does not expect the measure to pass.
>
> "The debate needs to be held," said Kristi Greco, a DeFazio
> spokeswoman.
>
> In addition to paying for additional thinning of fire-prone forests,
> the forests law limits the reach of environmental laws as agencies
> treat as many as 20 million acres of fire-prone forests.
>
> Comment by poster: And the plot thickens...  I'm having trouble
> following who is telling the truth and what is election year spin.
> What I do know is that it is going to take money to accomplish
> non-commercial fuels reduction projects near communities. I'm hearing
> rumors that the money will be diverted from distant Forests to those
> that have lots of wildland-urban interface. Without more money,
> catastrophic fires will burn more and more endangered species habitat,
> important watersheds and old growth forests that aren't close to
> communities.
>
> Larry,    Healthy Forestry Technician
> www.fs.fed.us/teams





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