Republican News

Republican News

As firefighters across the country brace for what experts warn will be a severe fire season, Senate Energy & Natural Resources is bracing for a serious hearing on the hot topic tomorrow.  Specifically, the committee will learn how prepared Federal agencies are for the 2007 wildfire season, and will consider new reports from the Government Accountability Office and from Brookings Institution on Federal plans to contain escalating costs of wildfire management activities.

Chairman Bingaman and others on the committee have repeatedly expressed concern about the rising costs of putting out wildfires and doing fire prevention, especially after the Forest Service and Interior Department spent nearly $2 billion last year fighting fires that burned about 10 million acres.  Already this year, wildfires have blazed more than 1.6 million acres of land … and that doesn’t include the big fires which broke out yesterday near Lake Tahoe or over the weekend in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.

 The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. in Dirksen 366.  Witnesses will be Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey; C. Stephen Allred from the Department of the Interior; and Robin Nazzaro, director for natural resources and the environment for GAO.

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