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David Sparks Ph.d Walden and Fires
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: December 19, 2018

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Representative Greg Walden applauded H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (Farm Bill), but said that more work remains to improve forest management to prevent catastrophic wildfires in Oregon. Speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives, Walden said that while he intends to vote in support of the 2018 Farm Bill, he is disappointed that the legislation did not include the sweeping improvements to federal forest policy that he helped secure in the House-passed version of the bill.

“These fires are monsters when they light up. They kill. It’s unfortunate that the provisions that the House passed as part of the Farm Bill were rejected by the Democrats in the Senate. It’s unfortunate because after these catastrophic fires, we should be able to get in and remove the fuel load so the next fire does not burn even more intensely, which is what happens,” said Walden. “But Senate Democrats rejected that. And while we’re expanding categorical exclusion authorities in some forests, the House provisions said that we should expand the authority to all forests so that we can begin to catch up and remove the excess fuel load from our forests. Unfortunately, again, Senate Democrats rejected that.”

Walden applauded the 2018 Farm Bill’s inclusion of provisions that will help improve the management of federal forests by extending expedited management tools for insect and disease projects in eastern Oregon and expanding it to hazardous fuels reduction to reduce the threat of fire and smoke. The legislation also allows more local involvement from counties in forest management projects and extended funding for collaborative forest projects.

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