Representative Gosar Files Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Legislation

| May 16 2012

Washington, D.C. – Today, as wildfires burn in Arizona, Congressman Paul Gosar D.D.S. (R-AZ) filed the “Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act of 2012” (H.R.5744), legislation intended to remove bureaucratic red tape that slows or restricts forest health projects. This bill was filed with the support of twenty-seven Republican and Democrat members of Congress, representing twenty different states.

“The mismanagement of our national forest has tragic consequences to our natural resources, wildlife and our economy. This legislation will serve as an invaluable tool to protect communities throughout the southwestern United States from another devastating fire season,” said Congressman Gosar.  “Arizonans are tired of being victims of avoidable wildfire conditions.  This legislation will expedite the review and approval process for thinning and grazing projects, so that our forests can be maintained and rural jobs can be created.”

“Over the past year, I have worked with constituent groups, such as the cattlemen, who are directly affected by our forests’ fire-prone condition, to formulate this proposal.  When the federal government, local governments, stakeholder groups, and private industry work together, we can create much-needed jobs and a safer environment for our citizens.”

“The Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act of 2012” will implement a streamlined federal review process and allow the USFS to use the emergency provisions of existing regulations to expedite grazing and forest thinning projects on National Forest System and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands.  The current bureaucratic gridlock has had a drastic impact on many western states.  For instance, nearly one million acres of Arizona forests burned in the last year, polluting the air and killing or harming endangered species and destroying wildlife habitats.  Arizona’s 2012 fire season is off to a busy start and is expected to again experience above-average activity.

Arizona’s First Congressional District is home to over nine million acres of National Forest System and BLM lands.  That acreage includes all or parts of Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Coronado, Kaibab, Prescott, and Tonto National Forests.  As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Congressman Gosar is a strong advocate for federal forest policy reform.  To learn more about his work regarding forest health, please visit www.gosar.house.gov.

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