dead trees

A wildfire prevention bill that included language authored by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton passed the House this week with something we don’t see very often when it comes to land management – a little bipartisan support from the Colorado delegation.

Of course Democrat Rep. Diana DeGette voted against it, and Rep. Jared Polis opposed the measure because it forces environmental groups to pay for frivolous lawsuits when they block timber removal for fire prevention efforts. However, Rep. Ed Perlmutter sided with GOP Reps. Tipton, Mike Coffman, Doug Lamborn and Ken Buck and voted yes.

The bill allows the Forest Service to obtain emergency funding for firefighting from FEMA, rather than pilfering it from other forestry projects. It also accelerates reforestation after a devastating wildfire.

“Inadequate, passive management of federal public lands has led to hazardous conditions that fuel the large, unpredictable wildfires we’ve seen in recent years,” Tipton said. “This bill eliminates bureaucratic hurdles preventing mitigation and hazardous fuels reduction projects, and increases state and local control over forest management decisions in their regions.”

Tipton’s language in the bill gives states increased control over forest management decisions in high-risk areas on federal public lands; extends stewardship contracting; expedites removal of hazardous fuels; and accelerates procedures to address insect, disease and deteriorating forest health conditions.

It’s not just negligence, but borderlines on being criminal when Democrats would rather dying timber be removed by wildfire that spreads to communities and threatens life and property, than see rotting trees chopped down and carried out of forests.

Coloradans will remember this vote as the wildfire season continues to heat up this summer.