FY 2009 U.S. Forest Service Budget

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 13 Feb 2008 15:00:00 GMT

From E&E News:
The agency’s fire suppression efforts would get a $148 million increase – to just under $1 billion – under the plan, a total based on the 10-year average of fire suppression costs. Last year, the Forest Service spent $1.4 billion fighting fires, the National Interagency Fire Center said.

The Bush administration budget proposal would provide $297 million for projects to reduce hazardous fuels, down from $310 million in fiscal 2008. Fire preparedness would fall to $588 million from $666 million in fiscal 2008.

Several lawmakers last week slammed the proposed budget, saying it overemphasizes firefighting at the cost of fire prevention and forest restoration. . . Kimbell will be the sole witness before House appropriators on Wednesday. The chairman of the Interior subcommittee, Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), was also highly critical of the agency’s proposed budget cuts.

The Forest Legacy Program, which helps conserve threatened private forests, would be reduced $40 million, to $12.5 million. The budget would also eliminate $40 million that Dicks placed in the fiscal 2008 budget for road decommissioning and reclamation.

“The Forest Service has just gotten crushed,” Dicks said in an interview last week. “It’s cut 16 percent … and they don’t have enough money over there to do the trail work, the road work, the forestry with the states, the conservation.”

  • Abigail R. Kimbell, Chief, U.S. Forest Service

Wildland Fire Management

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 12 Feb 2008 15:00:00 GMT

Witnesses * Dr. Anthony L. Westerling, University of California, Merced * Dr. Roger B. Hammer, Department of Sociology, Oregon State University * Albert C. Hyde, Consultant, Brookings Institution’s Center for Executive Education * Robin Nazzarro, Director for Natural Resources and Environment, GAO * Kathleen Tighe, Deputy Inspector General, USDA * Kirk M. Rowdabaugh, President, National Association of State Foresters and Arizona State Forester * James Cason, Asst. Secretary for Policy & Budget, Department of Interior * Mark E. Rey, Under Secretary for Natural Resources & Environment, USDA

Wildfires and the Climate Crisis

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 01 Nov 2007 13:30:00 GMT

The Select Committee on Energy Independence & Global Warming will hold a hearing on Thursday, November 1, at 9:30 a.m. in room TBD. The hearing is entitled, “Wildfires and the Climate Crisis.” Witnesses will be by invitation only.

See Markey’s dear colleague letter on the topic.

Global Warming Committee Seeking Comment on Wildfires Hearing from Daily Kos

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 31 Oct 2007 15:00:00 GMT

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is on Daily Kos asking for questions for tomorrow’s Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming hearing, Wildfires and the Climate Crisis.
In an effort to expand the dialogue around this issue, I am seeking ideas, thoughts and questions prior to the hearing. Please have a look at the hearing information below and then post your thoughts in the comment section of this blog. Time for Q&A is limited during Congressional hearings, but I ]will read all posts beforehand in an effort to inject your ideas into this important debate.

Rep. Markey on Wildfire-Climate Connection 2

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 26 Oct 2007 20:35:00 GMT

Last week, Markey sent this dear colleague letter (forwarded to Hill Heat) on the connection between wildfires and global warming, the subject of a Global Warming Committee hearing next week:

Record-Breaking Forest Fires in Western United State Increasingly Fueled By Global Warming

October 19, 2007

Dear Colleague,

Evidence shows that as a result of global warming, forest fires in our western states are burning more frequently and with greater intensity than we have ever seen before. Last year was the worst fire season in recorded history and this season is already second, with eight million acres burned.

What has brought this change about? A study published in the journal Science in 2006 revealed the frightening conclusion that global warming is contributing to the increased loss of our forests to fire. This publication revealed the impact of global warming, even while controlling for land use and management practices which also effect forest fires.

According to the Science paper, “Wildfires have consumed increasing areas of western United States forests in recent years, and fire-fighting expenditures by federal land-management agencies now regularly exceed US$1 billion/year. Hundreds of homes are burned annually by wildfires, and damages to natural resources are sometimes extreme and irreversible.” [1]

Global Warming’s impact on fires in the West and the threat that an increasing number of wild fires pose will be featured on 60 Minutes this Sunday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. 60 Minutes will speak with author Tom Swetnam, an author on the 2006 Science paper, on the role global warming has played on the frequency and intensity of these mega-fires. I encourage you watch this program to learn more about this important issue.


Edward J. Markey

Member of Congress

[1] C. Whitlock, Nature 432, 28 (2004).

See also Is Global Warming Causing More, Larger Wildfires? (Running, Science v313. no.5789, pp. 927-928) and Warming and Earlier Spring Increase Western U.S. Forest Wildfire Activity (Westerling et al., Science v313 no.5789, pp. 940-943)

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