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Public Statements

Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act Of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. President, I have offered this amendment with my colleague Senator Thune from South Dakota.

This is a commonsense amendment that would increase resources to land managers to address insect and disease epidemics spreading across our forests, while maintaining the farm bill's more than $23 billion in mandatory savings, and that is important.

This bark beetle epidemic, which is in many States, has left dangerous dead and dying stands of trees that worsen the threat from forest fires. This is particularly evident to Coloradans because, today, we have an 86-square-mile fire, and more than 1,600 brave firefighters are challenging this blaze, which is already the most destructive fire in Colorado's history. We don't expect to fully defeat this fire or bring it to ground for several weeks.

The Forest Service has set a goal of doubling the number of acres treated to address beetle kill and prevent forest fires. This amendment would help them reach that goal. If we don't pass the amendment, they will not have the wherewithal and resources to do so.

I ask my colleagues to support this bipartisan amendment.


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