Merkley Wants More Funding For USFS
Oregon’s junior senator is pushing for more funding for the U.S. Forest Service. Jeff Merkley Chairs the Interior Subcommittee, which held hearings last week on the Administration’s proposed budget for the Forest Service. That funding has doubled in the past decade, in large part due to the high cost of fighting wildfires on federal land. Merkley’s committee wants to give the agency $405 million more than the President’s request.
“If, by the time we do the fiscal year ‘24 funding, and the fiscal year starts October 1st, if by then it looks like the fire season was very moderate, we may not need that and may be able to put that in other areas.”
But, Merkley noted, the buffer is needed for now, to ensure there is enough money for firefighting efforts without pulling from other Forest Service projects, until the model for funding mega fires changes.
“The broader goal has been to have everything over a certain level go to a FEMA-style funding, so that it doesn’t have to be covered by a big buffer of funds sitting in a bank account,” Merkley added.
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