Simpson's I&E Report:
A Look Back at the Week:
House Passes Six Month Continuing Resolution
The CR funds programs under the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee’s jurisdiction at $30.239 billion, a $984 million increase over FY12 funding. This includes about $820 million in wildland fire money, as well as an across-the-board increase.
Simpson Directs Increased Resources to Fight Wildfires
The continuing resolution increases wildfire suppression funding by $398 million from fiscal year 2012. In addition, because of the severe fire season, firefighting costs were higher than anticipated, and the Forest Service had to borrow a great deal of funding from other non-fire accounts after running out of wildfire suppression funding. To address this issue, the CR provides $400 million to reimburse the Forest Service and $23 million to reimburse the Department of Interior for the fire borrowing they have had to do this year.
“As this intense fire season rages on and countless acres of Idaho continue to burn, firefighters and land managers are working around the clock to save Idaho lands and communities. It is critical that they have the resources to manage and put out fires. It is also important that agencies don’t have to rob other land management accounts when they run out of fire suppression funding—especially funding that could help prevent catastrophic wildfires. It’s hard to budget for fire because you never know how bad the fire season will be, and the funding in this bill will go a long way in making sure the day-to-day activities on national forests and public lands continue without interruption.”
The House passed the FY12 continuing resolution by a vote of 329-91. The resolution, which is expected to pass the Senate and be signed into law next week, extends government funding at the level previously agreed to in the Budget Control Act for the next six months.
“As a lifelong Idahoan, I have seen the impact of catastrophic fires first hand, and as Chair of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, providing adequate funding for wildfire suppression has been a priority. That’s why I’m pleased that this bill fully funds wildfire suppression at the 10-year average. I believe it is also important that we review our existing fire policy and continue to look at reforms necessary to improve the health of our forests and rangelands.
Simpson increased wildfire funding as part of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Act for FY13 passed out of Committee in June. His bill also provided more funding to remove hazardous fuels buildup and prevent catastrophic fires.
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