Congressman David Schweikert Leads Letter to U.S. Forest Service with Bipartisan Support
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Schweikert (AZ-06) sent a letter to the U.S. Forest Service, with support from members of the Arizona delegation, regarding forest health in the State of Arizona. Members of the Arizona delegation released the following statements in support of this letter:
“Ensuring our forests in Arizona are given the proper resources to be healthy and sustainable is critical to reducing the possibility of wildfires and maintaining healthy watersheds. We must begin implementing innovative approaches to our current system to ensure Arizonans and our state’s natural resources are kept safe. I am proud to see members of our delegation working together to ensure our state’s forests and communities are being supported.” said Congressman David Schweikert
“In recent years, fires have ravaged Arizona communities and destroyed our precious natural resources, which is why I have worked tirelessly to expedite the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) through the Farm Bill, the appropriations process, and in conversations with the United States Department of Agriculture,” Congressman Tom O’Halleran said. “4FRI is important for the responsible management of our forests and the protection of our state from the effects of fires. I am glad to see members of the delegation joining together to support my efforts to protect Arizona’s forests and water.”
“The original 4FRI Initiative sought to thin 300,000 acres over a ten-year period. After six years, only 12,000+ acres have been managed. While Phase 1 has been a major disappointment, there were some important lessons learned. I am extremely optimistic and supportive of the Phase 2 RFP given the buzz I’ve been hearing as well as the commitment being demonstrated by local stakeholders and federal agencies. A 20-year stewardship contract that aims to actively manage 600,000-800,000 acres is ambitious, but I’m confident Arizona can pull it off and this proposal should provide the certainty necessary to rebuild our timber industry and open other markets. Failure is not an option. We must manage our overgrown forests and take proactive steps to prevent catastrophic wildfires. I’m proud to stand with the members of the Arizona delegation in urging Chief Christiansen to release and implement the Phase 2 4FRI RFP in order to ensure Arizona is no longer a victim of inaction and that the necessary steps are being taken to protect our communities, natural resources and firefighters.” said Congressman Paul Gosar
The hot summer days are quickly approaching, and so, too, are the fires that devastate forests and rural landscapes around our state. I’m grateful to join Congressman Schweikert and other members of our Arizona delegation to highlight the Phase 2 Request for Proposals for the Four Forests Restoration Initiatives. The health of our forests and watersheds depend on our expedient action. said Congressman Andy Biggs
This letter was sent to the USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. It advocates for maintaining healthy forests in the state and requests an update on the progress of the Phase 2 Request for Proposals for the Four Forests Restoration Initiative
The full letter is attached here.