Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Western Governors Set Policy Resolutions at Annual Meeting

Governors from the Western U.S. met this week in Jackson, WY to set the path forward for the upcoming year.  The Wildland Fire Management and Resilient Landscapes policy resolution is one of seven new resolutions that support and/or call for action to address a variety of natural resource issues including the FLAME Act and the Cohesive Strategy.

The full resolution can be found here and outlines the following:
  1. Western Governors call on Congress and the Administration to finally put an end to “fire borrowing,” by enacting legislation to allow federal agencies to treat wildfires similar to other disasters, in which federal agencies can access an emergency account to pay for disaster response activities once they extend beyond an average annual limit.
  2. Western Governors call on Congress and the Administration to fully implement the FLAME Act, to accomplish the goals of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, and to implement the regional action plans, accepted by the Wildland Fire Executive Council, for each of the Cohesive Strategy regions.
  3. Western Governors call on Congress to authorize active management and forest and rangeland health improvement on federally managed lands, especially those nominated by the state governors and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture as priority landscapes. Western Governors call on Congress to enact legislation designed to reinforce the role and effectiveness of collaboration in implementing projects on federally managed lands, and to reduce administrative and preparation processes, costs, and legal challenges to science-based collaborative projects.
  4. Western Governors support increased capacity and coordination of state, federal and private aerial resources to respond to wildland fire. The Governors support an immediate revision and implementation of the National Interagency Aviation Management Strategy. Federal policy should not unreasonably restrict the mobilization and use of state and national guard firefighting aircraft on federal wildfires.
  5. Western Governors encourage expedited and coordinated consultation of requirements by federal and state agencies to address Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and other environmental laws to ensure timely review and approval of needed forest and rangeland restoration and active management on affected landscapes.
  6. Western Governors support identification and correction of policy barriers that prevent the effective sharing of resources for wildland fire and land management activities.
  7. Western Governors encourage federal agencies to fully implement, and for Congress to fully fund, the tools provided in the 2014 Farm Bill, to expedite forest and watershed restoration projects that improve the resiliency of federal forest lands.
  8. Western Governors support the use of Good Neighbor Authority, as authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, to increase the pace and scale of restoration on federal lands where local interest and support exists.
  9. Western Governors support the use of Stewardship Contracting as permanently reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill to enable federal agencies to more effectively implement forest health improvement projects on a landscape scale.
  10. Western Governors urge FEMA to make Individual Assistance more accessible for communities affected by wildfire disasters. In addition, Western Governors encourage federal agencies to work directly with individual states and territories to identify their disaster risks and needs, and to reconsider the important role played by pre-disaster mitigation efforts, particularly for wildfires.

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