Re “Preventing forest fires is up to Congress” (Page 5A, July 7): The Merced Sun-Star rightly decries the self-defeating practice of raiding forest fire prevention funds to pay for escalating fire-fighting costs. Sadly, it focuses its support on a Band-Aid while taking another pot shot at me for a “plan that has gone nowhere.”
Actually, the bill favored by the Sun-Star has gone nowhere, for good reason. While HR 167 allows fire costs to be spent off-budget, it maintains the forest management policies that are causing an endless spiral of more fires and higher costs.
The Resilient Federal Forests Act, produced by the Federal Lands Subcommittee, permanently fixes the financing problem by accessing the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund within the budget while vastly increasing the acreage we can treat to prevent future fires. HR 2647 passed the House on a bipartisan vote last July, but is currently blocked by just six Senate Democrats.
Perhaps The Merced Sun-Star would want to “light a fire” under them.
Rep. Tom McClintock, 4th District, Chairman, House Federal Lands Subcommittee