U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S (AZ-04) introduced the Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act of 2013, H.R. 1345, legislation that renews and reforms the government's ability to partner with private industry to implement thinning and ecological restoration projects, streamlines the bureaucratic review process, and allows the Forest Service to partner with State Foresters to treat national forest land. Currently, the bill has 13 co-sponsors.
Rep. Gosar said, "This bill would put people back to work in our national forests, restore the environment, and improve public safety. It also allows our government to partner with private industry, like what has been done with the White Mountain Stewardship Project and the Four Forest Restoration Initiative." Rep. Gosar continued, "By cutting bureaucratic red-tape and streamlining the review process, this bill ensures that projects can move forward quickly when the public is at-risk. As we anticipate another dangerous fire season, with minor fires in Northern Arizona and Colorado already taking place, Congress must act now."
"As local stewards of our land and precious natural resources, conservation districts remain concerned about the devastating impact of wildfires," said Earl Garber, President of the National Association of Conservation Districts. "I am pleased with Congressman Gosar's proactive proposal to provide local land managers with the tools they need to help combat and mitigate the effects of destructive wildfires on the landscape."
Andy Groseta, President of the Arizona Cattle Growers' Association, said, "We would like to commend Congressman Gosar for his efforts in introducing a common sense approach to managing public lands in a manner that will avoid catastrophic wildfires in the west. Fire season is fast approaching and we need our land managing agencies to return our working landscapes and manage for true multiple use. It is time to allow rural America to begin producing again. It is with legislation like this from Congressman Gosar that we will create jobs in the west while reducing the devastating effects of wildfires in our communities."
Nearly 30 national and state multiple-use associations have supported Rep. Gosar's bill, including the Arizona Cattlemen's Association, the Arizona Natural Resources Conservation Districts State Association, and the Arizona Farm Bureau.