Industry backs the wildfire prevention act
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and Public Lands Council (PLC) voiced strong support July 20 for the Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act of 2012 (H.R. 5477), which was considered by the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.
David Cook, an Arizona rancher and vice chairman of NCBA’s Federal Lands Committee, who testified on behalf of NCBA, PLC and the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, spoke to the urgency of passing the legislation in light of the millions of acres of western lands being impacted by catastrophic wildfire.
H.R. 5477 was introduced by Rep. Paul Gosar, R-AZ, with 31 bipartisan cosponsors, to address the forest health, public safety, and wildlife habitat threats presented by the risk of catastrophic wildfire on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The legislation would require the agencies to expedite forest management projects, including livestock grazing and timber harvesting, for the purpose of hazardous fuels reduction, forest health and economic development.
According to Cook, decades of mismanagement of our nation’s public lands have led to the dangerous levels of fuels that have resulted in catastrophic wildfire.
“By all but shutting down logging and continuously reducing grazing on public lands, the agencies are not just hurting those industries—they are causing the buildup of fuels for catastrophic wildfire,” he said.