Congressman Bentz Delivers Remarks on Oregon Wildfires and Commonsense Coordination Act
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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.) delivered remarks on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Bentz spoke on Oregon wildfires, specifically the Bootleg fire, and his recently introduced bill, the Commonsense Coordination Act.
"This horrific fire, now the third largest in my State’s history, has consumed some 400,000 acres, (660 square miles), which had been a beautiful landscape of pine and fir timber, sage brush, grass and meadows," said Bentz. "The fire has already taken with it millions of board feet of timber, the lives of thousands of forest creatures, cattle by the dozens if not hundreds, horses, fences, buildings, and homes. The fire released hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon, which had been and could have remained sequestered indefinitely. The smoke plume created by this conflagration has reached across this nation, more than 2000 miles, to cloud the air along the east coast, including the air right here in Washington, DC."
Bentz continued, "I am pleased to report that I am currently working with Ranking Member Bruce Westerman whose 'Resilient Federal Forests Act' will be a huge step toward giving Forest Service the tools it needs to better manage our public lands. I introduced legislation included in that package, the 'Commonsense Coordination Act.' This bill will cut through some of the red tape that agencies must overcome to complete critical forest management activities."
Congressman Bentz's bill, the Commonsense Coordination Act, allows the United States Forest Service to utilize the same exemptions from the National Environmental Policy Act as other federal agencies when working to implement joint projects that can range from wildfire preparedness and response to certain land management and infrastructure activities. The bill would eliminate duplicative paperwork for potentially life and property saving federal projects that do not require an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement.
Click HERE to read the full remarks, as prepared for delivery.