USA — The following information was released by Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley:
Oregons Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today introduced an amendment to the disaster aid bill currently before the Senate to help fund recovery efforts for ranchers, fruit growers, and farmers affected by this years historic wildfires and drought. Merkley and Wyden stressed the historic nature of the summers wildfires and drought across the country and the lack of action from the federal government to help with disaster relief.
It has been months since Southeastern Oregon was ravaged by wildfires and Oregon farmers and ranchers are still waiting for help from the federal government, said Merkley. It is crucial that we put together a disaster relief package that will help those families who have lost livestock, crops and pasture land.
Wildfires this summer crossed a drought-stricken landscape in southeastern Oregon, said Wyden. The fires destroyed critical livestock grazing land, and with the high cost of feed, put some ranchers at risk of losing their livelihoods altogether. In the months that have passed, Congress has not acted. It is past the time to get the aid to those who need it.
Senators Merkley and Wyden earlier this year worked with Agriculture Chair, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), to pass an extension in the Senate Farm Bill for crucial disaster relief programs to help Oregonians affected by wildfires and drought. However, the House has not taken up the Farm Bill and affected Oregonians have been left without assistance. The Senate is currently working on a supplemental appropriations bill to address disaster relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy. This amendment, modeled off legislation Merkley and Wyden introduced earlier this year and developed together with Stabenow, would create a more comprehensive disaster relief package that would help Americans across the country who are dealing with the aftermath of drought and wildfire.
This amendment would help reimburse ranchers, fruit growers, and farmers for lost crops, livestock, and damaged land caused by the large wildfires and drought. It would complement $25 million already in the supplemental appropriations bill for the Emergency Conservation Program that helps Oregon farmers and ranchers who lost fences in the wildfires from the summer.
Senators Merkley and Wyden were joined by cosponsoring Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Max Baucus (D-MT). The failure was in the forest areas.Advertisement
Following a 10-year strategy, ACT fire managers have created a mosaic across the landscape of different fuel levels, burning at every opportunity.
But forests have been too wet to burn this spring and the past two summers.
A network of 500 fire trails and strategic burns along the north-west urban edge, heavy grazing and extra grass slashing will create a fortress for the territory which forecasters say faces a higher than average risk this summer.
After a fire-fuelled tornado in January 2003 killed four Canberrans and frightened thousands more, CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney told the subsequent inquiry the fire’s penetration into urban areas under extreme conditions did not reflect a failure of fuel management on the urban interface.