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Wildfires

LETTER: Governors call for end to "fire borrowing"

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Western Governors sent a letter on Nov. 15, 2016, to Congressional leaders reiterating their support for congressional efforts to end the so-called “fire borrowing” practice employed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Department of the Interior to fund wildfire suppression activities. The outreach urged Congress to "pass legislation to fund federal wildfires off-budget (as many states already do), and ensure the USFS budget for forest restoration, recreation, road maintenance, hazardous fuels reduction, funding to states to treat Wildland-Urban Interface areas, insect and disease response activities, and wildlife/watershed protection is fully restored."

COMMENTS: Exceptional Events Proposal and Draft Guidance

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Western Governors sent comments on Feb. 3, 2016, to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its proposed rule, Treatment of Data Influenced by Exceptional Events, under the Clean Air Act, and the related Draft Guidance on the Preparation of Exceptional Events Demonstrations for Wildfire Events that May Influence Ozone Concentrations. The outreach noted, "Western Governors recognize the critical importance of maintaining air quality in our states and the western region and appreciate the opportunity to work with EPA to achieve this," and provided relevant WGA policy resolutions to help guide the rules.

LETTER: Governors share policy positions on wildfire management with Senate committee

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The Western Governors' Association sent a letter on Oct. 29, 2015, to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in advance of its Nov. 5, 2015, hearing entitled, “Wildfire: Stakeholder Perspectives on Budgetary Impacts and Threats to Natural Resources on Federal, State and Private Lands.” The outreach communicated relevant policy positions of Western Governors, including two policy resolutions, and requested that the correspondence be placed in the written record of the hearing. 

LETTER: State Collaboration in Addressing Rangeland Fire Risk

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Western Governors sent a letter on April 20, 2015, to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell regarding Secretarial Order 3336: A Set of Longer Term Actions and Activities, Draft Final Report, which addresses rangeland fire risk. The governors thanked Secretary Jewell for seeking input from states in the report, calling it an "important collaborative effort" and adding "we find many laudable steps to enhance federal coordination with the states and other partners on rangeland and fire management." The governors also offered additional comments on topics that included Enhancing Wildfire Fighting Resources, Fuels Management and Good Neighbor Authority. 

LETTER: Governors support Congressional efforts to end “fire borrowing” practice

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Western Governors sent a letter on March 19, 2015, to leadership of the Committee on the Budget in the Senate and House in support of Congressional efforts to end the so-called “fire borrowing” practice used by the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of the Interior to fund their wildfire suppression activities. The Governors' letter notes "the current funding situation has allowed severe wildfires to burn through crippling amounts of the very funds that should instead be used to prevent and reduce wildfire impacts and costs. This represents an unacceptable set of outcomes for taxpayers, at-risk communities, and responsible stewardship of federal land."

LETTER: Governors urge Congress to fix "fire borrowing" problem

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Western Goverors sent a letter on Aug. 15, 2014, to Congressional leaders to fix the perennial problem of "fire-borrowing," which occurs when the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of the Interior have to take money away from forest health and fire prevention activities to pay for costs to fight the current wildfires.

LETTER: Support for legislation to end practice of "fire-borrowing" to fight wildfire costs

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Western Governors sent letters on Feb. 24, 2014, to bill sponsors supporting the end of the “fire borrowing” practice employed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of the Interior to fund wildfire suppression efforts. The letters emphasize the devastating impact of this budgetary issue, noting, "Western states have been negatively impacted by fire borrowing for years. The health of the region’s national forests and rangelands has deteriorated due to a reduction in active management, past federal fire suppression policies, and drought."

LETTER: Governors urge shared leadership to improve forest health, wildfire response

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Western Governors sent a letter on Aug. 27, 2012, to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to request the departments work with Western Governors to identify additional actions needed to expedite hazardous fuels reduction and increase forest and range management in high risk areas of Western forests and rangelands. The letter highlighted opportunities under existing policies and authorities to improve forest and rangeland health and emphasized, "We need to stand together and identify a solid plan of action under shared leadership to protect lives and homes and improve forest health, wildfire response and recovery." 

LETTER: Governors request supplemental funding for wildfires

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Western Governors sent a letter on July 11, 2012, to Congressional leadership to request supplemental funding needed to aid federal, state, and local firefighters battling wildfires. The letter specifically requested that Congress provide adequate funding through FEMA for states and local jurisdictions through the Fire Management Assistance Grant program and urge FEMA to expedite reimbursements to the states under this program.