Christiansen testimony Appropriations Committee May 15

Bill Gabbert at Wildfire Today posted a few clips from C-Span coverage of Chief Vicki Christiansen’s testimony yesterday before the Senate Appropriations’ Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies subcommittee, (May 15, 2019). In this clip, she answers a question from Sen. Steve Daines on Montana, about creating fuel breaks along USFS roads, esp. in or near WUI zones. Her answer: Yes.

The brief clip is worth a look and listen, but the first thing I noticed is that, of 11 of the 12 seats for subcommittee members that are visible in the opening scene, only one is filled (by Daines). Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) was there — she chaired hearing — and Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) attended, but they are off camera.

2 thoughts on “Christiansen testimony Appropriations Committee May 15”

  1. I’m tempted to say “duh.” Right up there with Cohen’s “concentric circles” around housing, proximity to existing roads in the WUI should generate a lot of agreement as a priority. I don’t understand why Daines thinks there needs to be “new statutory authority” for this. I thought the budget process (this is an appropriations subcommittee) was where priorities were assigned by Congress under existing authorities. I’m sure they have the authority to manage lands by roads; wouldn’t they normally just tell the Forest Service to do this? (Or is he angling for a new authority that exempts such projects from existing laws?)

    • Great comment Jon. I’d certainly be curious if anyone can come up some solid reasons or evidence that the USFS currently lacks statutory authority to do fuel reduction and thinning near roads.


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