October 27, 2021

Neguse Bill to Support Wildfire Recovery Efforts Passes Committee

Washington D.C.— Today, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed Congressman Joe Neguse’s bipartisan legislation to support wildfire recovery efforts in Colorado and across the nation, 61-3.

The legislation was introduced earlier this year by Congressman Neguse and Congressman John Curtis of Utah who Co-Chair the newly-formed Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus. The Wildfire Recovery Act would increase flexibility in the federal cost share for Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG) to bring in additional resources for communities as they rebuild from wildfire damage. 

“In the wake of the Cameron Peak, East Troublesome and Calwood fires in our district, our local communities are still working to rebuild and recover. It’s critical that the federal government has the flexibility to fully support this wildfire recovery work and that we are not asking our cities and counties to pick up so much of the bill.” said Rep. Joe Neguse, Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus. “The bipartisan Wildfire Recovery Act will bring additional resources to our communities to support fire management and mitigation. I’m thrilled this widely-supported legislation passed the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee with overwhelming support, and I look forward to bringing it to the House floor for a vote.”

“As Utahns know, wildfires leave devastating damage in their wake and the sooner restoration and recovery can begin, the better,” said Rep. Curtis, Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus. “I am pleased to see the Wildfire Recovery Act advanced through Committee and am hopeful we will soon hold a vote on the Floor. Our bipartisan bill will help our communities during their greatest time of need.”

The bill is also cosponsored by Representatives Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Chris Steward (R-UT), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Michael San Nicholas (D-GU), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Greg Stanton (D-AZ), Michael Simpson (R-ID), John Garamendi (D-CA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Kim Schrier (D-WA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Karen Bass (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Mariyln Strickland (D-WA), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Pete Aguilar (D-CA), Kaiali’i Kahele (D-HI), and Melanie Stansbury (D-NM). 

Representatives Neguse and Curtis have worked together throughout the 116th Congress to address wildfires in the West. In 2019, together they introduced the Study on Improving Lands (SOIL) Act which evaluates the effects of wildfire and land use practices on the ability of soil to sequester carbon. Last April, they introduced the Wildfire and Community Health Response Act of 2020 aimed at supporting the health of firefighters and mitigating the impact of wildfires on vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus, launched earlier this year, seeks to elevate bipartisan science-driven solutions for tackling western wildfires. 

Background

Following Colorado’s record-setting 2020 wildfire season, Congressman Neguse has worked to bring federal resources home to recovering communities and advocate for increased support for wildland firefighters, wildfire prevention and forest management. Earlier this year, Congressman Neguse launched the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus to focus on tackling western wildfires and was elected to serve as Chair of the U.S. Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, where his Restoring Our Lands and Communities Agenda prioritizes addressing the causes and impacts of wildfires. Last week, Neguse introduced the Tim Hart Wildland Classification and Pay Parity Act to raise pay for wildland firefighters, provide essential benefits and address classification. The legislation was considered today in a legislative hearing, chaired by Neguse.

Over a year ago, Congressman Neguse proposed the 21st Century Conservation Corps Act, a bold proposal to launch a new Climate Conservation Corps and make major investments in forest restoration, wildfire resiliency and mitigation.