Friday, February 12, 2016

Secretary Vilsack Not Mincing Words

Firefighters monitor a backfire on the Valley Fire in September 2015 near Middletown, California. Photo: Stephen Lam Getty Images.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack repeated his promise that he will not borrow from other programs to pay for fire suppression this summer.  President Obama's proposed budget, released this week, calls on legislators to allow the US Forest Service to use disaster funds from FEMA to pay its firefighting tab.  But under that proposal, the relief from FEMA would begin in the fiscal year that begins October 1st - well beyond when the agency will need funding for this season's fires. 

Vilsack visited with California forest managers last week and reaffirmed his position that he won't raid other department accounts to fill the gap and will demand that Congress pony up.  Read more here. 




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