Forest Service Oversight

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 11 Mar 2009 13:30:00 GMT

  • Robin Nazzaro, director for natural resources and the environment, GAO
  • Phyllis Fong, inspector general,Agriculture Department
E&E News:
House appropriators will delve into the state of the Forest Service on Wednesday, likely focusing on the escalating cost of wildfires and the agency’s fire management plans.

The session is one in a series of pre-budget hearings designed to get assessments and input from federal watchdogs on the operation of agencies overseen by the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.

One inescapable topic is how to fix the Forest Service’s budget problems due to wildfire costs. In recent years, the agency has run out of firefighting money and had to transfer hundreds of millions from its other programs to cover the wildfire costs, causing major disruptions to its other priorities.

The Obama administration wants to create a new contingent reserve fund for catastrophic wildfires. The fund would be tapped only if federal agencies exhaust regularly budgeted money for wildfires, which would continue to be fully funded based on the 10-year average cost of fire suppression.

The discretionary reserve fund would include $75 million for Interior agencies and $282 million for the Forest Service for firefighting. The fund would be tapped into after the $1.1 billion appropriated 10-year average runs out.

FY 2009 Department of Agriculture Forest Service Budget

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 14 Feb 2008 14:30:00 GMT