CONGRESSIONAL INACTION JEOPARDIZES HOOD RIVER COUNTY SEARCH AND RESCUE -- (House of Representatives - February 06, 2007)
Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Speaker, the failure of Congress to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act amounts to a breach of faith to the almost 600 forested counties across America and 4,400 school districts.
Hood River County, Oregon, is my home and hosts two of Oregon's icons: Mount Hood and the powerful Columbia River, both attractions for outdoor recreation and the dangers that come with it. Surely you remember the December search for the mountain climbers lost on Mount Hood? This event unfolded just miles from my home.
The county paid for this rescue and recovery effort entirely with county payment funds. This included the airplanes, snowcats and equipment for volunteers, radios and medical supplies.
County Sheriff Joe Vampler says, ``We will do search and rescue on Federal lands and waterways no matter what but the Nation must share this cost.''
County payments also fund many other vital services like the County Health Department's vaccination program for children.
County Commission Chair Ron Rivers says, ``The loss of these funds will have a significant impact on all services, including those provided to protect our most vulnerable citizens.''
Congress must keep the Federal Government's word to timbered communities and pass H.R. 17. Time is running out.