El Paso County, CO, July 26, 2012 – The Board of El Paso County Commissioners (BoCC) is asking Congress to approve the Healthy Forest Management Act of 2012. This legislation would give state and local governments a stronger voice in the developing policies for the management of National Forests and other Public Lands. The bill (HR 6089), which is sponsored by Colorado Congressman Scott Tipton will soon be under consideration by the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. Colorado Congressmen Doug Lamborn, Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman have signed on as co-sponsors.
All five El Paso County Commissioners have signed a letter to the subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop and Ranking Member Raul Grijalva noting that the Waldo Canyon fire was “fuelled by dead trees on National Forest lands” and urging prompt passage of the legislation. The letter, presented to the Board by Vice Chair Sallie Clark, notes, “Thousands of acres of dead or dying tress adjacent to urban neighborhoods are a recipe for the kind of disaster we experienced in the Waldo Canyon Fire. It is our belief that HR 6089 will put the right tools in the hands of Forest Service managers, working collaboratively with state and local officials so they can identify and mitigate the dangers posed by unhealthy forest lands throughout Colorado.”
In presenting the letter for consideration by her colleagues, Commissioner Clark noted that the Waldo Canyon fire was the most destructive in Colorado history. “The lives lost and homes destroyed were all within El Paso County and in my Commissioner District,” Clark said, “but Commissioner Glenn has forest land in his district which was also in the line of the fire and we know that just as the collaboration of federal, state and local agencies is critical in fighting wildfires, state and local collaboration with County Commissioners will be necessary to define high risk areas so we can establish mitigation plans to prevent these kinds of things in the future.” Commissioner Peggy Littleton shared her support of the bill adding, “We have seen how important it is to have effective mitigation plans in place and local control is key.”
Contact: Dave Rose
Public Information Officer
Phone: 520-6540 Cell: 337-9239