Washington, DC – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after passage of a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded for the next 6 months. The continuing resolution includes $400 million to cover the gap in the United States Forest Service’s firefighting funds. Cloture was also invoked on the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, a package of bills to expand access for hunting and fishing.
“Because of the passage of today’s continuing resolution, the U.S. Forest Service will no longer have to choose between fighting fires and sending logs to our timber mills. These emergency funds are critical for all those in Oregon who depend on the forests for their livelihood.
“I am also pleased the Senate took the first step to advance a package of bills for hunters and land conservation, including the Making Public Lands Public Act, which expands access for hunting and fishing.”
In August, Senator Merkley called on Congressional leaders to provide emergency assistance to cover the costs of firefighting for this season, which have massively exceeded the Forest Service’s fire suppression budget due to historic wildfires in the West. Without additional funds for the fires, the Forest Service would be forced to fund firefighting operations via draconian cuts to other services like park operations and the preparation of timber sales. Merkley’s letter calling for emergency assistance can be found here.