Allen calls on federal government to reform forest management policies

Allen calls on federal government to reform forest management policies

07 June 2011

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USA — State Senator Sylvia Allen (R-5) today expressed her sadness and frustration over the devastation being caused by the rapidly-growing Wallow Fire in southern Apache and northern Greenlee Counties. Allen called on the U.S. Forest Service to reform its management policies and adopt restoration practices that will protect the forests and wildlife without harming rural communities, the economy, and the taxpayers.

“The Wallow Fire is further evidence that our current system of managing our forests is simply not working,” Allen said. “To the contrary, the federal government’s policies for protecting spotted owls and goshawks are wreaking devastation, destroying homes, and threatening lives, communities, and our economy throughout northern Arizona, and the owls and goshawks are no better protected.”

“It’s time that we return common sense to forest management. In areas where the forest had been thinned around communities, the fire has dropped and homes have been spared. Unfortunately, this thinning has only been accomplished in a few areas.”

Allen called on the Forest Service to move forward with the Four Forests Restoration Initiative, whereby the Forest Service contracts with private industry to do the mechanical thinning.

“The only way we’re going to restore our forests is to involve private industry, which will absorb the costs while responsibly thinning the forest, so we don’t have any more of these enormous fires,” said Allen. “It saves the taxpayers money, creates jobs, and protects us from these devastating wildfires.”

Allen also pointed to the economic devastation resulting from fires like the currently-burning Wallow and Horseshoe Fires and the Rodeo Chediski Fire of 2002. “Besides the millions of dollars it takes to fight these kinds of massive fires, there is another hidden cost to this beautiful region where I live. The fires kill tourism and recreation, and local businesses suffer for a long time after the fires go out.”

Allen expressed her gratitude to the firefighters and Forest Service officials who are responding to the Wallow Fire. “I want those who are fighting the fire to know that my prayers are with them for their safety, and my gratitude goes out to them for working so hard in fighting this fire. My frustration is with bureaucrats 2000 miles away with their misguided regulations that lead to these catastrophic fires, and with the extreme environmental groups who have made millions of dollars from American taxpayers by filing lawsuits.”

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