Gov. John Hickenlooper was joined today by Western governors in requesting that Congress support funding to address the risks and threats posed by the millions of acres of dead trees ravaged by insects and disease on National Forest land.
"We need to proactively restore the National Forests in our Western states that provide for industry, recreation and our way of life," said Hickenlooper, who led the effort to write to the Senate Appropriates Committee. "In not doing so, we may incur catastrophic loss to the environment, wildlife, communities, businesses, lives and property. We urge the members of Congress to immediately apply any unused carryover fire suppression funding to expand and accelerate restoration work."
March 9, 2011
Dear Chairmen Inouye and Rogers and Ranking Members Rogers and Dicks:
On behalf of western governors we write to request your assistance and support for allocating funding in the current fiscal cycle to address the risks and threats posed by the millions of acres of trees killed by various insects and diseases on our National Forests -- in some cases, these have reached epidemic, unprecedented proportions.
We appreciate earlier efforts by the Appropriation Committees to fund the restoration work that needs to be done in these insect and disease impacted forests. We request that every effort be made immediately to apply any unused carryover fire suppression funding to expand and accelerate that restoration work. We believe the condition of our forests warrant preventive action given the scale of this emergency situation.
While it's critical to address the federal deficit, and we don't want to get in the way of serious bipartisan efforts to do that, it's frankly penny-wise and dollar foolish to cut back on or fail to robustly fund restoration efforts for insect and disease mitigation in the West. We are risking a far higher cost in dollars, property and lives if we fail to address the threats and risks of an unfortunate catastrophic fire season.
Thank you for your consideration of this request and for all of your efforts to help address this urgent problem.
C.L. "Butch" Otter
Governor of Idaho
Christine O. Gregoire
Governor of Washington
Governor of Colorado
Forest Health Co-lead Governor