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Update from Congressman Scott Tipton: A Western Emergency
The West Fork Complex Fire near Pagosa Springs has burned more than 95,000 acres and is as of this writing still out of control. The East Peak Fire near Walsenburg and La Veta has burned more than 13,500 acres. These are just two of the fires that are burning in the 3rd District right now, and it is still early in the summer. Tens of thousands of acres of forests are already gone and entire communities are being threatened.
Just like the wildfires that have ravaged Colorado and other Western States over the past decade, these fires have destroyed property, and are doing irreversible damage to the environment and watersheds on which we rely.
Brave men and women are working around-the-clock to stop the devastation. They are truly incredible, and I want to thank them for all they are doing to protect property, save lives and contain these wildfires.
The incident commanders in charge of suppression efforts on the West Fork Fire told me that the behavior of the fire has been unprecedented. Because of all of the beetle-killed timber, unnaturally dense forest and dry conditions, the fire has acted in a way that defies computer models.
The most tragic part of this is that the occurrence of these forest fires could be reduced, if not outright prevented, with commonsense healthy forest management. With millions of acres of beetle-killed timber, prolonged drought, unnaturally dense undergrowth, and warm temperatures combining to create prime conditions for fire, it’s undeniable that Colorado’s forests need immediate attention.
This week I was joined by my Republican colleagues from Colorado and the Chairmen of the Congressional Western Caucus in introducing a resolution to express the sense of the House of Representatives that more must be done to address the conditions of forests on federal lands.
Video: Tipton speaks on House floor on the impact that the influx of new regulations has on small businesses. Watch here.
Vilsack designates Colorado counties as agriculture disaster areas: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has designated numerous counties in Colorado's 3rd District as agriculture disaster areas due to drought. The primary counties include Archuleta and Mineral, and the contiguous counties named in the designation include Conejos, La Plata, Hinsdale, Rio Grande and Saguache. Farmers and ranchers in these counties are eligible to be considered for assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). That assistance includes emergency loans. More information on the programs available, how to apply, and all counties affected. More information is available here.
The Colorado Observer: Obama seeks to sidestep Congress with new climate change rules: An ambitious plan by President Barack Obama to bypass Congress and impose new regulations for power plants was met with criticism from some lawmakers as costly for Colorado’s consumers and destructive to the economy nationwide. “Ultimately the president’s mandate will raise energy costs, stunt economic growth, and kill jobs,” said Republican Rep. Scott Tipton who represents the 3rd Congressional District. Read more.
Tipton statement on the Farm Bill: “This was not a perfect bill, but a good first step toward reform that would have eliminated or consolidated more than 100 government programs, and saved $40 billion, including $20 billion in reforms to SNAP by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse while ensuring that those who are truly in need of assistance would have full access to it.” Read more.
House adopts Colorado delegation amendment to aid in combating wildfires: he U.S. House of Representatives adopted an amendment to the Farm Bill (H.R. 1497) offered by Reps. Scott Tipton (R-CO), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Mike Coffman (CO-06) and Cory Gardner (CO-04) to allow the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to lease new air tankers for fighting wildfires, at no additional taxpayer cost. Read more.