Administration to Buy More Forest Land When Can’t Manage Current Lands
Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05) today asked the new Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell why the Obama Administration is seeking to cut funding for forest management. In a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee Jewell also responded to questions from Lamborn about the need for more transparency within the Interior Department and the need to allow states to regulate fracking.
Lamborn Questions Sec. Jewell about Interior Department Spending Priorities
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Lamborn’s questions, as prepared for delivery:
‘The [Natural Resources] Committee has continued to request information from the Department about this Rule [stream buffer zone rule], and the Department continues to withhold information for no apparent reason. Just yesterday, the Department produced a series of documents claiming to be responsive to this oversight request, including emails from 2009 that are entirely redacted. It took the Department 5 months to provide these 5 year old emails. I continue to be disappointed with this administration’s total lack of transparency, as the new Secretary do you believe that this type of response is appropriate for a congressional investigation?’
Forest Management/Spending Priorities
“Last year’s fire season burned a total of 9.3 million acres, including the Waldo Canyon Fire in my district that destroyed 347 homes and killed two people – this was the third worst fire season on record for acres burned.This year there have already been more than 25,000 fires across the country, including the Black Forest Fire in my district the claimed around 500 homes and two lives.
“However, the Administration’s budget proposed cutting hazardous fuels reduction funding by 37%, or a $115 million decrease, while proposing to increase land acquisition funding by 10%. The Administration also requested a 27% increase in suppression funding, making it clear that its preference is to continue fighting catastrophic wildfire and adding to the federal estate instead of reducing the risk of fire on the lands it already manages. In light of the catastrophic fire season we experienced last year and are again experiencing this year, do you support the President’s desire to reduce funding for hazardous fuels reduction?”
“The states are already doing a good job of [regulating fracking]. You are an engineer, so you know that the hydrology and geology of every state is not the same. Why not let the states regulate? They know their own hydrology and geology better, instead of a one-size-fits-all imposed fiat, bureaucratic mandate from Washington. Why not let the states do what they are already doing a good job of?”