BigNews.Biz - Mar 07,2017 - Sen. Flake Closes Earth, Wind, and Fire Week with Bill to Prevent Catastrophic Wildfires and Promote Healthy Forests
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power, today reintroduced the Stewardship End Result Contracting Improvement Act. It is the seventh and final bill introduced by Flake as part of his “Earth, Wind, and Fire Week” – an initiative to advance solutions to ease burdensome regulations and provide for more economic development and infrastructure investment in rural Arizona.
Flake’s Stewardship End Result Contracting Improvement Act would improve the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s stewardship contracting authority, which is a critical land management tool that helps to proactively reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, restore watersheds, and promote forest health.
The bill also provides USFS and BLM with the flexibility to obligate funds for cancellations ceilings, which are funds reserved to pay obligations to contractors on canceled government contracts, over multiple years. This would facilitate larger, long-term partnerships through stewardship contracts, which allow cost-effective partnerships for reducing wildfire threats.
“Long-term stewardship contracting needs to be in the federal government’s toolbox to combat catastrophic wildfires,” said Flake. “We should be using all tools at our disposal to restore Arizona’s forests and protect our communities.”
Stewardship contracting allows the Forest Service and BLM to treat forests, reduce hazardous fuels, and protect communities by combining land-management objectives, such as forest thinning, with the exchange of goods, such as timber.
On Feb. 2, 2016, Flake and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced the Stewardship End Result Contracting Improvement Act. The bill would reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires by making it easier for federal land managers and businesses to partner on long-term, large-scale forest treatments