Wildfire Provisions in the Omnibus Appropriations Billby Senator Maria Cantwell
Posted on 2015-12-16
CANTWELL. Mr. President, responding to my colleague from Alaska--
and I will make a longer statement in a second--I do want to thank her
for her leadership, not just as chairwoman of the Energy and Natural
Resources Committee, but also as the chairwoman of the Appropriations
Thank you for your detailing exactly why it is so important to have real money up front. You are right. For you and me and for many Western States, we have seen a change in fire habit, and we have seen probably two of the worst fire seasons our country has seen in many years and the fact that this year's season may trump that.
It is very important that we give the agencies the tools to address this issue and that we give them the tools now--not a guessing game, not how much they might get or how much they might borrow but how much they have now. I think the 50-percent increase is a recognition of how dire the situation is and makes sure that these communities know that they get those resources.
Yes, I wish to thank the chairwoman for allowing the committee to have a hearing. Senator Barrasso participated at a very critical moment and at a very sad moment because it was just days after we learned that we lost firefighters in the central part of our State.
I wish to say that she has had a committee hearing. We have had committee hearings. My staff attended what was called the Wildfire and Us Summit. Many people in the central part of our State participated in that summit. Your question is, Is this important to us? I think when you have a rain forest that catches on fire or you have parts of Alaska that have never burned that are up in smoke, you bet this is of critical importance to both our States and to many Western States. I thank you for the question and thank you for helping to get real resources on the table and a 50-percent increase over last year's fire budget. Thank you.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska.