Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after his amendment to cut funds from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Program and Management account and redirect those revenues to the Forest Service’s Hazardous Fuels account in order to prevent dangerous wildfires was successfully attached to the Department of Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017:
“The power of the purse is an effective way to send a message to all federal agencies; ‘Shape up or lose your funding.’ With our skyrocketing federal debt, it is long past time that Congress prevent unnecessary federal dollars from going to lawless agencies, like the EPA, that care more about pursuing their own misguided political agenda than the well-being of the American people.
“Instead of squandering more taxpayer money paying the salaries of unnecessary EPA bureaucrats, I’m pleased to see the House pass my amendment redirecting scarce resources to important wildfire prevention activities. Thinning overgrown forests and removing hazardous fuels creates good-paying jobs and increases overall forest health. I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate proactive fiscal policy, while reining in a lawless agency, than passage of this commonsense amendment.”
The full text of the amendment can be found HERE.
The 2015 fire season set a new record burning 10,125,149 acres throughout the country. In fiscal year 2015, the fire season appropriations request was approximately $4 billion for all wildfire programs. Shamefully, the president requested only $356 million of those funds go toward hazardous fuels reduction activities.
Lack of funding for wildfire prevention also negatively impacts education and rural communities. Historically, 25 percent of the receipts from timber harvests by the federal government go towards schools and important infrastructure projects.The failure to prioritize hazardous fuels reduction activities is also bad for our environment, as sound data from NASA concludes that one catastrophic wildfire can emit more carbon emissions in a few days than total vehicle emissions in an entire state over the course of a year.
As it currently stands, the Forest Service consistently raids its own treasury when firefighting costs exceed their estimated yearly allotment, taking money from programs that clear brush and remove dead trees. This represents yet another classic example of Washington’s misguided prioritization of federal funds.
Cosponsors of Congressman Gosar’s amendment include: Representatives Trent Franks, Doug LaMalfa, Tom McClintock and Ryan Zinke.
Endorsements of Gosar Amendment #16 include: American Farm Bureau Federation, Americans for Limited Government, Public Lands Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Services Group of America, Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona, Arizona Association of Conservation Districts, Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, Arizona Liberty, Arizona Mining Association, Arizona Pork Council, Arizona Rock Products Association, AZ BASS Nation, Bass Federation-AZ, Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, Concerned Citizens for America Arizona Chapter, Gila County Cattle Growers’ Association, Irrigation & Electrical Districts' Association of Arizona, Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce, New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, New Mexico Wool Growers, Inc., New Mexico Federal Lands Council, Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Veritas Research, Yavapai County Cattlegrowers’ Association, Yuma County Chamber of Commerce, Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen, La Paz County District 2 Supervisor King Clapperton, Yavapai County Supervisor Chip Davis, taxpayer Rory Van Poucke and Shake, Rattle & Troll Radio.