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Department of Defense Appropriations Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. TESTER. Mr. President, I would like to make a few remarks on amendment No. 3350. This past summer was the third worst fire year in the history of this great country, with over 9.2 million acres burned. Over 1 million of those acres were in the State of Montana. The drought that drove this year's fire season persists and is projected to worsen in 2013, creating conditions for an equally or potentially greater fire season this upcoming year.

This trend is not stopping. Conditions are changing on the ground. I think we are all seeing impacts. I am certainly seeing impacts on my family farms. We are seeing impacts across the forests of this country, and western Montana is no exception.

My amendment with Senator Udall does two things: First, it provides funding for the difference between the current funding request to prepare for and suppress wildfire and the amount the 2013 fire season is expected to cost; second, it requires GAO to make recommendations on a better model to project the cost of wildfires in the future.

Wildfires are continuing to burn, and burn hotter and faster, larger and earlier, and doing more damage than in past years. We need to assure the resources to address these catastrophic events are there this next year and with a study into the future.

I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.


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