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Western Senators Seek Firefighting Funds

LHC Fire

Senators Mark Udall of Colorado and John Barrasso of Wyoming say they plan to offer a bipartisan amendment to the 2014 U.S. Senate budget to increase the funding availability for fighting wildfires and modernizing the air tanker fleet. Udall and Barrasso, who both serve on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said their deficit-neutral and bipartisan amendment underscores the importance of ensuring that the U.S. Forest Service is prepared to fight wildfires, especially during the ongoing drought and continued threat of bark beetle. The two senators, who sit across the aisle from each other point out that that while the federal budget deficit needs to be reduced, not investing in firefighting efforts and mitigation will levy an unacceptably steep and entirely avoidable cost on the West. The amendment calls for the Senate Appropriations Committee to prioritize the suppression funding while reducing spending on lower priority items in 2014.

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