Senate passes bill to expedite awarding of air tanker contracts

A bill introduced by Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico to speed the conctracting of air tankers to fight wildfires has passed out fo the Senate and is on its way to the House.  Currently there is a requirement that Congress be notified 30 days before certain contracts are awarded, but S. 3261, introduced on June 4, would partially waive that requirement, making it possible for the U.S. Forest Service to issue federal contracts for at least seven large air tankers before the end of that 30-day period.