House to Consider Rahall Bill to Create FLAME Fund
Press release – House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV) announced that at his request, the House of Representatives will consider on Wednesday, July 9, under suspension of the rules, the "Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act" (FLAME Act) (HR. 5541). Consideration of the much-needed legislation comes just weeks into the unprecedented forest fires that have scorched Big Sur, Santa Barbara County, and other communities up and down the coast of California, and have ravaged public lands throughout the Nation in past years.
The legislation – which aims to prevent future catastrophic, emergency wildland fires from crippling federal land management agency budgets – will create an emergency federal fund dedicated solely to fighting these devastating fires, separate from appropriated agency fire fighting funding. Over the last decade, the rapid growth in destructive forest fires across the United States has increased federal fire suppression costs – dramatically shifting spending priorities at the expense of other important Interior Department and Forest Service programs.
The FLAME Act was introduced by Chairman Rahall, Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA). It has received broad, bipartisan support from 56 Members of Congress, including the Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Don Young (R-AK). H.R. 5541 has also been endorsed by the five former Chiefs of the Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters, the National Association of Counties, the National Federation of Federal Employees, the Western Governor's Association, and nearly 40 other organizations.