A news brief from the National Association of State Foresters. The Continuing Resolution wasn’t “clean,” but this is a good thing.
The legislation signed into law early Thursday didn’t just end the 16-day-old partial government shutdown, it also paid back $636 million in fire transfer funds moved from other accounts to battle wildfires in the 2012-2013 season.
“Funding to restore budgets that have been drained through fire borrowing is a critical piece of this legislation,” Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson said in a statement. “It means (the government) can do the restoration work and hazardous-fuels removal needed to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires next year.”
Alan Rowsome, a budget expert at The Wilderness Society, said Congress deserves credit for recognizing that the Forest Service and the Interior Department must be repaid. “This is a good, important step,” Rowsome said in an interview. “But I think it also underscores the fact that the way we’re budgeting for fires is not adequate.”