The House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies held a hearing today on the Administration's fiscal year 2015 budget proposal for the USDA Forest Service with Chief Tom Tidwell was a witness.
Rep. Moran (D-VA) questioned Chief Tidwell over proposed reductions to the Urban and Community Forestry Program (UCF). Tidwell responded to Moran's concern that it was not a reduction in overall funding for UCF since the Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) line item would be increased and some of that money would be spent on urban projects. Rep. McCollum (D-MN) also voiced concern over the UCF program funding and also over the President's proposal to zero-out funding for International Forestry. Rep. Pingree (D-MA), among others, voiced concerns that continued budget reductions are harming the ability of the Forest Service to keep forests healthy and threataning jobs in forestry.
Chairman Calvert and Ranking Member Moran both voiced support for the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (H.R. 3992). Several other subcommittee members also expressed support for the Act during the hearing, including the bill's initial sponsor Rep. Simpson (R-ID). Chief Tidwell highlighted the need for the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act nothing that it would not increase discretionary spending, would retain current accountability requirements for the Agency and would help prevent further fire transfers that prevent the Agency from delivering needed land management and other programs. His full testimony can be found here.