2015-11-30 National Governors Association

Fire Borrowing

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Harry Reid
Minority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Speaker Ryan, Minority Leader Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid:

We write on behalf of the nation’s governors. The practice of using Interior and U.S. Forest Service 10-year average suppression costs for budgeting no longer provides accurate funding estimates for wildfire suppression activities. We urge Congress to reform the current federal wildfire suppression funding formula.

Disruptions to funding undermine long-term wildfire mitigation strategies and force states to assume greater risk and cost when conducting fire suppression activities. Federal agencies have been forced to transfer funds from forest management programs to fill gaps in fire suppression.  Those programs are critical to manage timber, mitigate fires, restore ecosystems, provide recreation, administer livestock grazing, and ensure other multiple uses on public lands.

Governors urge Congress to help mitigate wildfire losses through budgetary reforms that ensure sufficient resources are dedicated and available for wildfire suppression activities. We look forward to working with Congress to address this critical issue.

Sincerely,

Governor Matthew H. Mead, Wyoming
Chair, Natural Resources Committee

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., California
Vice Chair, Natural Resources Committee

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