Friday, August 22, 2014

Wildfires Could Bankrupt States If They Acquired Federal Tracts

Since 2010, California has suffered the fiery onslaught of over fifteen wildfires.  (Credit: Click to enlarge.
Western states are ill-equipped to take ownership of federal lands because of the spiraling cost of fighting wildfires on national forests, according to a new report from a Denver-based conservation group.

The report by the Center for Western Priorities found that in a handful of Western states in 2011 and 2012, the Forest Service spent more to quell wildfires than what the states spent on their entire law enforcement budgets.

But advocates of state ownership argued states would manage forests more proactively than the Forest Service through activities like logging and hazardous fuels removal, lessening wildfire costs over time.

The report comes as conservative state lawmakers in the West pursue legislation to acquire federal lands or study the pros and cons of doing so.  Conservationists, sportsmen's groups and Democrats have generally resisted the idea, saying the lands should remain under federal ownership and managed on behalf of all Americans.

Since 2001, the federal government has spent an average of $3.1 billion annually on wildfires, the CWP report said, citing a study by a former researcher for the Congressional Research Service.

Wildfires Could Bankrupt States If They Acquired Federal Tracts -- Report

No comments:

Post a Comment