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tv   Wildfire Risks  CSPAN  November 10, 2013 5:15am-6:51am EST

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the opinion by the judge in some of these issues in section 702, his constitutional analysis struck me as one possible way to approach it, but there are many other ways to interpret the same issues. there are a lot of complicated issues raised by how broad the surveillance is, how broadly you take the foreign intelligence exception -- assuming that is an established exception. there are a lot of murky questions that would regulate that. it is much more complicated than in a similar criminal setting. >> go would you say that we are possibly bumping up against constitutional limits if there is such a different -- minimization in a criminal context is constitutionally premise. it flows from the scope of particular requirement. constitutionally based, could we be running up against without robust through minimization, in
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the foreign intelligence context, could we be running up against constitutional problems? >> yes, absolutely. there are many constitutional issues implicated here. there is obtaining content of people's communications, which is obviously going to raise fourth amendment questions. there is the reasonableness requirement and how that would apply in a national security setting. and there are not only the rights of u.s. persons communicating with other u.s. persons, which has been the primary focus in the statue so far, but there are also constitutional issues raised when a u.s. person is communicating with a non-us person. half of that medication is constitutionally protected, -- of that communication is constitutionally protected, but has not received that kind of attention at all. there are many issues at play. >> thank you very much to all of the witnesses. >> thanks to the witnesses on
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this panel and to all of the witnesses on the board that made this possible. you can see the comments related , a transcript will be posted at our website. i moved that the meeting be adjourned. all in favor say aye. it was unanimous. the meeting is adjourned at 4:20 p.m. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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him >>. like to talk about is the need for compliance you mentioned in your testimony that the complexity that we face with these fires is greater than ever. it is just not your old- fashioned forest fire. i guess what i'd like to know is , can you talk about the time that you have spent on the need for compliance, things like that? thatis the time spent on compliance now as compared to 10 or 15 years ago? has become an important part of our operating procedure for sure. the environmental clearance process is something that we respect and we will continue to work through, but we need to do better at it. it is not so much the time it as it is theops us
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litigation that results. even though that litigation is in the high percentage of our projects, it can be in some places. with anhave tried to do epa is a couple of things. the objection process which tries to settle issues early and resolve differences before you go into an appeal and litigation. landscape scale planning so that we can deal on a larger scale and not on individual small projects, but late out a work that makes sense and is consistent with forest plan and is consistent with dnieper and has the except ends of the people that are paying attention to environmental clearance. re-think both so those will help us get through and get more land treated. >> a few years ago we had the inuation where we great fail
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minneapolis-st. paul. the bridge was rebuilt in a matter of a year. there was just unbelievable. ability, whene you run into situations where you know that there is a possibility of great impact, not to do away with the processes that you have to deal with, not just this, but other things? do you have the ability to coordinate and expedite so that you don't get yourself in a situation where you have a large fire and then tremendous flooding and things like that? >> to some extent. categorical exclusions do help in some situations, but mostly it is those relationships that are built to the objection process. it does not inhibit our fire suppression efforts and our actions taken in response to fire. but we do have to hate more
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attention to it after fire. studyre was a 2009 gao that recommended -- to mitigate fire suppression. to reduce the needs of transferring funds. can you talk to us a little bit, 25 seconds worth, about some of the steps that the fire service mitigate funding needs for fire suppression? have a pretty good predictive services group. the scientists behind that tell us what that is likely to cost us in a given year based on weather patterns, setting up well in advance of the season in the pacific ocean. those predictions have been accurate. we have a good idea of that, it is finding the money to deal with those emergencies, those
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large fire set escape, that really become emergencies and big. that is what we need to probably have more conversation about is how to finance second of suppression. >> thank you for your hard work, . . hubbard trade had an opportunity in the days and weeks that followed to perhaps harvest some of the wood before it started to degrade form beatles and fungus. in this case it is easy to see how permitting delays was getting at the time sensitive nature of your work. permitting delays turned out what could be a profitable into the problem.
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>> that is the problem. i understand it is. blowdown is a problem with salvage after fire. we think within -- therent legislative current statues that we operate -- the current statutes that we operate. we would like to work with you to do that. >> that sounds great, good answer. we were briefed on the cost of the 2012 drought and predictions that we will continue to see more extreme weather due to climate change. he testified then as you mentioned today that you're seeing twice as many acres burn each year and seeing seven times as many large fires defined as fires that burn over 10,000
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acres as compared to 40 years ago. even the additional risk that these fires have on communities -- andce it areas, assisting theas, preventative efforts that event wildlife and property in force today it is? >> a seat as a challenge, but i think part of the challenge is finding ways of doing more than public, that is with private partnerships, that is thatan epa streamlining, is with picking the priorities and then getting the right people together, so it becomes increasingly important that we picked the right places to apply what resources we have and do what work we can. >> has sequestration reduced amount that we can get toward your goal?
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sequestrationof did not work to our advantage. it hit us during a. where we could have accomplished some opportunity work. when that is prescribed fire, you'll have a certain window. if you lose that window and you just have to wait. that was unfortunate. we lost some productivity that way and it we will work to gain it back. >> it was unfortunate for all of us. >> we cannot do any of the work we were talking about without a forced dash forest industry. the forest industry exists because of the supply from the federal lands and many of those
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communities depend on forest industry for their economy and their jobs. it is extreme important to us. >> what do you see as concrete steps we could take in a near- term to complete sales and a more timely manner and expedite many of the projects that can get tied up for months and the system of the nepa issues you are raising? >> i think we would have to have more discussion about that. there are things we would like to propose that we think make some sense. in the meantime, we will continue to press with the objection process and the landscape scale planning so we can get more work ready to go that has an agreement and support from enough of a base we can actually carry it out. >> i sound like a broken record but it's around the idea of the shutdown and sequestration -- do you see budget uncertainty as impacting some of the private investment decisions throughout the fourth -- forest industry
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from the loggers to the mill operators? i know it's such a fragile industry as it is with world demand and things going on with taper -- paper and the value of the dollar and i sit with her competition with the canadians across the border. helpful if we stopped the brinksmanship so you could have some certainty for the private industry that we ind so dearly to be involved these parts of our country? >> and the time i have left, yes it would be. >> thank you. >> with that, we will close the first panel and i want to thank mr. hubbard, thank you for your testimony. and listen to my colleagues i talk about the budget situation and reflect on the dysfunction of this place, one that would be good is to figure out how to pilot some of these practices rather than wait to figure out how we can do it
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for the whole country and everybody has their examples. inbark beetle kill colorado is ours but every state has their own challenges that we look forward to working with you in the future. give for coming today. to ask thee witnesses on the second panel to make their way forward and be seated. [no audio] >> the nepa structure and things like that, maybe having a hearing, our infrastructure boxer and, senator others have worked hard to expedite that, not in an effort to do away with things but to make sure that the different groups are talking. >> let's think about that and i will talk to senator boxer about
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that. welcome to our second panel and thank you for joining us today. we are looking forward to your testimony. we will hold error questions until the final witnesses testimony. please try to keep your remarks to five and his print your written testimony will be submitted for the record and with that, i am pleased to introduce our first panelist, ccher, - he has been involved with the ski area since 19 86. it is a privilege to live in colorado springs with his wife. our next panelist is dr. chris topic. he restores america's forest program. it improves the ecological management of america's forest for a previous the committee
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professional staff at the house appropriations committee for 15 years. he worked for the forest service for 16 years. ecologistss an area for 10 years on national forests in oregon and washington and received his undergraduate agree from the university of california, san diego, and earned his phd in forest ecology from the university of oregon. troxel, have mr. tom he is with the intermountain forest association. he has worked for the association since 1989, representing forest products companies in colorado, south dakota, and wyoming primarily on issues relating to national forests, timber programs, and timber sale contract. he received a bachelor of science degree in forest or from the university of montana in 1973 and work for the u.s. worst service in idaho, montana, and california from 1973-1989. last, but certainly not least, we have commissioner sally clark from el paso county, colorado.
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her district encompasses western el paso county including the southern and western areas. she holds a leadership position in the national association of counties as their second vice president. she will tell you help pass a county has been hit hard by wildfires and flooding in the past two years predicament he has has shown memorable courage and resilience. they have begun to rebuild from these terrible disasters. thank you, sally, for being here and thanks to all of you for being here. it is an outstanding panel. >> i have a little midwestern up eight. -- update. south dakota, you said north dakota. for mr. troxel. >it's a midwestern thing. [laughter] it's like me confusing colorado and wyoming. [laughter] up?did i screw that
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[laughter] all right, i am now pleased to turn to the panel. take it away. thank you very much again for being here. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and share my thoughts ,bout the beetle outbreak ensuing fires, and my perceptions of the u.s. forest service and their ability to adjust to these changing conditions. being born and raised in new mexico and colorado as a second- generation owner and operator of wolf creek ski area, growing up with the family business that is entirely on u.s. forest service land, as well as being an avid outdoorsman and private pilots and has given me a perspective with some relevance. wolf creek ski area is located on top of will creek pass,
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between south fork and pagosa springs, colorado. our family has built it up for the last 40 to be one of the largest employers in the tricounty area with over 400 seasonal and year-round employees and a payroll that has averaged over for money in dollars per year for over a decade. over 200,000 skiers visit each year, bringing economic stability to the region. around 2001, with the onslaught of drop -- drought, it was the perfect breeding ground for the spruce beetle. the forest service advises of this plight. as a private business, they could clearly see the impact to our livelihood. we budgeted and began to methodically treat our 1600 acre permit. we used forest service specialist guidelines and budgeted about 100 houston dollars per year -- about $100,000 per year. we removed infested trees. we began to see some signs of
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the spruce beetle in our surrounding forests and request permission to extend treatment the on their permit is part of a boundary management fire protection plan. we were informed by the local forest service that there was no mechanism forest regulations to do this emma that it would require administrative funds which were not available but they were being sought and certainly there was a level of frustration expressed by the forest staff about their inability to react given the regulations a work under. by 2011, it was obvious that the spruce hill was overrunning wolf creek pass and the surrounding forest. the number of bugs made our efforts on the permit seem pitiful. it also set the stage for fire. of 2013, 2 fires broke out and within seven days, the complex was over 90,000 acres and contains. our ski area was consumed in smoke and flames were licking the edge of our permit, the west
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fire ran 50,000 acres in three days, the flames were 400-600 feet tall and the smoke column topped 30,000 feet. it was entirely possible that the wolf creek ski area was going to be overrun by the fire. we were not without support. -- thet forest service u.s. forest service were quick to respond with structure protection and aerial support. resources were quickly mobilized and the very high level of professionalism was apparent. what struck me was how different the u.s. forest service performed when operating under rules that allowed decision makers to apply resources in what had to be a timely manner. believed that a paradigm shift in the u.s. forest service policy is needed rather than continuing to only have funds for these reactive moments of fighting fires, forest service supervisors should be able to work within a regulatory structure which empowers them to apply funds to mitigate the chances of large overwhelming
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fires that are becoming more and more common in the west. i believe this can be done without jeopardizing the values at risk which include protecting sensitive areas and watersheds, this is a priority for conservation groups, and makes good sense, identifying and creating fire buffers. the forest service should prioritize forest treatments near communities, ski areas, in holdings, highways, and critical power lines. this can be done in a variety of ways which include timber removal for local industry, fuel reduction utilized as biofuel, and controlled burns which closes a cycle that the nature has started with the beetle outbreak. in closing, wolf creek ski area has invested $5 million in new lifts and inter-structure. -- we understand we live and
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work in a dynamic forest in which there will continue to be forest mortality and fire. it does not have to be catastrophic. thank you for your time. thank you very much for holding this hearing. senateeased that the committee on a per culture and forestry getting involved in this issue and i hope you will stay deeply involved. i would also like to closely associate myself with the opening remarks that the chairman and ranking member may. you pretty much set my speech. i will try to summarize. i am with the nature conservancy and their mission is to conserve the lands and waters upon which life depends britt we have been around for over 60 years and for over 50 years, we have done controlled earns and our staff nearly 100,000 acres of burns and we use science to get involved with on the ground management and our fire learning network has been working for 12
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years with communities to build capacity to learn to live with fire. to structuret fires that occurred in the previous decade. the time,is is really like you all have said, to make a big step up and a sizable change in investment. we can do it and we have been hearing about all these upfront investments that need to be done. we know that the upfront investments in forest and committees reduce fire danger, have a tremendous other benefits to improving our water quality and quantity and help with jobs in our communities and helping a whole variety of industries. we know that many of the steps that can be done. i hope you have a chance to look at my rather long written testimony with many things in there that are specific. it will take more efficiency but work can happen. 12 years ago, the congress and administration and the states got together with the national fire plan and stepped-up activity dramatically but since then, it has wings so we need to
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step up. -- it has waned so we need to step up. hazardous fuels reduction program is essential. there is no reason why we cannot at least to a 50% increase in these funds. we know these projects work. we have ample evidence for the department of the interior and the forest service that these projects have tremendous benefits. to severalference articles give more detail. another important project that needs to be funded is a collaborative forest landscape restoration project. is a pilot effort that is bringing people together across the country. the conservancy is involved deeply in 16 of the 23 efforts. i personally have visited many of these and have had good experiences going to colorado with the front range group doing trevor e-work. -- doing terrific work. i also went to arkansas and spent time in ozark national forest where it was amazed at
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the terrific work being done there to bring out pine for the forest industry and have tremendous biodiversity. up with changing the way fire suppression is funded. the fire suppression is just killing us and all the money going to the reactive areas -- i have been suggesting that we need to create a separate wildland fire disaster suppression font. i think this can be done and i think you need to take a look at the pending house and senate fiscal 2014 interior appropriation bill. each of those use emergency declarations. i think a similar process could be used to help get the funding for the fire suppression to free up sizable increases in resources for these other efforts that we know work. nonfederal funding and partnerships are essential. there are a lot of terrific efforts going on. colorado in particular is a
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leader in having various partners, utilities, industrial partners, working to get work done on the ground and recreation and tourism industries can be deeply involved. we are seeing more municipalities get directly involved in helping take care of federal lands because they understand how critical that is for their own work. we have heard mentioned about the nepa problems and i think there is a lot to be done to increase the efficiency and scaling up of efforts. by keeping public transparency, it's essential to create a social license to be able to get better projects done. i think that is something we can't forget. the fire adaptive community coalition which is something the conservancy, the federal agencies, the state, the insurance industry and many others are working with the fire adaptive and unity coalition to produce educational materials and i think more can be done those kind of efforts to get people directly involved with protecting their community, get directly involved with the surrounding wildlands and with
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the federal and nonfederal investments, we can make a big difference. all that can happen if we can figure out and implement a better way of funding fire suppression. reflecting -- i have had the good fortune of visiting several of these hearings and the bipartisan agreement is so profound on these issues that would be a terrible shame if we do not seize this moment and make a big step up. i think the farm bill has some terrific first or provisions in it and i think if you stay involved, you can help us bring this across the finish line. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. mr.troxel. thank you for this opportunity to testify today. i am from rapid city, is south dakota. >> south dakota. [laughter] >> the power of the chair.
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>> i am here today on behalf of the federal forest resource coalition which represents 650 forest product companies and -- in 32 states. i would like to start by koppelman in each of you for your opening statements and your understanding of the issues and framing this hearing. the inadequacies of the current forest service fire funding model are well documented. exceedppression costs appropriated funding levels, the forest service is forced to withdraw funds from ongoing programs. this so-called fire borrowing diverse funding from current programs, increases for service cost, and distracts forest managers from their day-to-day business. is more significant issue that 82 million acres of the national forest are in poor health due to the combined effects of fire suppression and under management. as fire suppression costs have consumed an ever larger portion of the forest services budget
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over the past 20 years, the funding available to implement forest held programs has gone down. this is a vicious cycle. resourceal forest coalition has long advocated for sustainable fire funding models that includes preparedness and emergency funding, eliminates the need for fire borrowing, and increases science based proactive forest management that can reduce the potential for catastrophic fires and restore the health of the national forest. to reiterate -- proactive forest management works in any new fire funded model must include the substantial increase in the amount of on the ground proactive management in the national forest. this is crucial for rural america. last year, the forest service published a restoration strategy which called for increasing scale of restoration, reducing
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hazardous fuels, restoring forest and increasing timber sales to 3 billion boards. however, the forest service is struggling to increase the pace. at the current rate, it will take 242 years to treat the 82 million acres currently in need of restoration. has recognized the need to reduce hazardous fuels, the western governors association, the national association of state choristers both support -- isrrester's both support th issue. the failure to respond rapidly to catastrophic events are preventing the forest service from meeting its management isls whether the metric compared. i offer the following recommendations. adequate funding is essential. this is not a budget hearing but to just reflect policy. the president's 2014 budget goes
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the wrong direction in proposing reductions in timber harvest and hazardous fuels treatment. we use timber revenues to offset cost of restoration, thinning and hazardous fuels reduction, and increase funding by itself is not enough. congressional legislation is needed to streamline meet the compliance, endangered species consultation, judicial review, and program implementation. reforming these laws is critical to treat the systemic infection plaguing the national forest system. arest products companies the most efficient tool to help address the forest health crisis on the national forest. in some areas, forest products companies are on the brink because national forest sale programs have been shut down by serial litigation. ultimately, the future of these
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companies and the restoration of the national forest hinges on providing certainty to put artist managers come in to communities, and private industry that these programs will be properly managed. our domestic forest industry is well positioned to help improve the health of the national forest create thousands of new jobs, and generate critical revenue for counties and the treasury. again, that depends on a predictable, sustainable supply of timber from the national forest, especially in the west, where the forest service is the dominant landover in many areas. we need to do better than watch her national forest earn and a rural energy's while lumber is being imported. we have an opportunity to meet the needs of all right here in the united states through active sustainable forest management. again, thank you for this opportunity to testify. >> thank you. >> ms. clark. >> thank you for the
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opportunity. i want to introduce myself -- senator bennett did such a nice job but the waldo canyon fire started in my district on june 20 3, 2012. it was along a popular u.s. forest service hiking trail just a few minutes -- a few miles west of colorado springs. two citizens lost their lives and the 346 families lost their homes, and than 18,000 acres of scorched earth was left behind. the photo over here to my right shows what it looked like. the waldo canyon fire also destroyed huge areas of vegetation and burned the soil so badly that it will no longer absorb water. it has created devastating flash flooding. we hope and pray each time we see a typical summer thunder shower developing over the massive burned area that we will not have a repeat of the ,isastrous flash flooding
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evacuations, and fear that has ripped through the small town of manna to springs and along our major highway. experts tell us that vegetation will be slow to return to the mountain. millionmore than 30 dollars has been spent on recovery, restoration, flash flood mitigation, and protection of critical water systems. much more is needed. it is estimated that the $2 -- it isore is needed estimated that $50 million more is needed. our story is one that has been repeated many times throughout the west. in new mexico, 400 homes were destroyed and the fire burned through loss alamosa national laboratory. the estimated damage was at $1 billion. destroyedlorado fire 180 homes and 10 years later, flash flooding destroyed a major mile-long section of highway 67. arizona, 15,000
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acres, lost recovery and flip -- and flood mitigation costs of top $20 million. thousands of acres of trees adjacent to our neighborhood have a recipe for the kind of disaster we experienced. as our community begins to recover in the aftermath of the fire, the mountainside continues to generate dangerous flash flooding. lives have been lost since flooding has started for it a major highway washed out and homes were destroyed and utilities infrastructure was lost. our water system was threatened and jobs and our economy was devastated. there are many lessons to be learned but essentially, the problem is that our beautiful public land not controlled by the local government are great contributors to our quality-of- life but also poses substantial threat to lives and property nearby. in a recent flash flood post
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fire, another life was lost on a major highway to the mountain. hundreds and thousands of dead trees currently surround mountain towns, cross major highways, and threatened the headwater regions of the colorado, arkansas, and rio grande river. recognize the need to preserve our national resources, while protecting the health and welfare, and safety of our citizens. it is important to also recognize that fire suppression should be considered as an emergency in terms of funding replenishment so that it maintains the important efforts by agencies like the u.s. forest service to provide needed resources for continued healthy forest efforts. we understand that fire mitigation projects, despite the fact that they pay for themselves many times over, are rarely funded by fema. the number is getting larger every day so i cannot tell you what the total cost to el paso county would be but i can say it pre-fire mitigation
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would have been an return on investment in our area. we need to mitigate the greatest threats for fires and floods whether on public or private property. fire knows no boundaries and neither does flash flooding. fire, the second fire that hit us in one year, fire fighters were able to successfully defend areas where trees were healthy and property owners had taken proper mitigation steps. nore they had been little or medication, they were completely wiped out. nanco has been actively involved in the cohesive strategy. the three goals are restore and maintain landscapes, create fire adaptive communities, and respond to wildfire. one thing is clear, we can no longer afford to have one disastrous wildfire after another. healthy forests and pre- mitigation efforts are the only answer. -- toportunities to per
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prepare and present are priceless. senator bennett, as you know, i generally bring a memento of our area. i have debris from fountain creek that shows that wildfire and the flooding afterwards is worse sometimes than the fire itself. >> thank you for bringing that and thank you all for your testimony. it really was excellent testimony. i want to tease out a point you made for everyone which is that we are talking about the headwaters of a big part of this country. this is not just about the state of colorado. this is happening in many places. the potential aftereffects, when you think about what could happen in these watersheds, is something that should be of profound interest to everybody in the country. i wonder whether you would share in more detail what the citizens of manitou springs are going
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through right now as a consequence of the fire but also the flooding as well. >> as you know and we appreciate your visits to our county to tour the area time and time again, the manna to springs ofmanitou springs is a town about 6000 people which is next or to colorado springs. the areas to the west include the 10 of green mountain falls and el paso county. all summer long, the fight -- the sirens would go off and it is a tourist town. all the tourists would flee. and then we would decide whether there would be a big rainstorm on the mountain or not. then they would go back to their life and then they would leave again. during those time periods, there were significant floods that totally wiped out houses.
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one lady was actually on her front porch when the house lifted up off its foundation and floated downhill. she survived. but it's a frightening experience to see where this town, even though they have never experienced this kind of flooding, there is no historical data to show you that there was flash flooding in the past that related to waldo canyon, but now because of the area up above, basically, it has very much affected the economy of the time and some businesses are actually closing their doors and moving out. >> to use the chairman's prerogative to say that manitou springs is open for business and please go and spend your money there. that youer, you said noticed a difference in the way the federal government approach things when it had immediate deadline, of putting a fire out versus doing mitigation to begin
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with. can you elaborate about the frustrations you heard from the forest service personnel or others who felt the rules and regulations were somehow getting in the way of their ability to play more instructive role or allowing you to play a more constructive role? >> yes, i guess the biggest contrast i saw was during the time that the spruce beetle was starting to infest the forest, we were attempting to move outside of our permit area. the fuel reduction we were doing within was orchestrated in conjunction with the forest service. administrative problems that arise with some of the nepa regulatory guidelines that they work under, i think, are always a challenge.
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i think it's something that is to thery but with regard nature of the timeline of these fire outbreaks, maybe something could be done better. the other item that they expressed frustration with was the funding that they go through to get to the point where they can actually determine whether they can do timber sales, few reductions. because of the nature of the funding coming in on a yearly basis, they are always struggling with trying to meet budgets and trying to decide if they have money and then it's the next year and it's a new budget and that is a concern, i believe. describe the you steps for the people who are not the mayor with colorado, the state of the forest today? ago, if you had
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come to me and said there was going to be forest fires in southwestern colorado to the scale i have seen this last year , i would have probably laughed. it's incredible that there is about 90% mortality. the forest in wolf creek pass and that whole area -- in that whole area is very monolithic. it is all spruce. it is all dead. it is part of the natural process. i don't think anybody is debating that. i think how we deal with the interface -- i'm not sure that 20 years ago anybody really extrapolated how in these areas with 4 million acres of national
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forest, for example, low skilation density, within area permits, roads, power lines there really is not any area where these kind of natural fires on a grand scale can take place without affecting somebody. >> thank you for your testimony. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. pitcher, you mentioned you had a situation where you wanted to extend your permit. processes have to get done but was there anything preventing you from doing that? on the fire management plan and trying to extend our work -- i think common sense --
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again, the regulatory structure that the forest service works with them -- within disallows the planners to really move with being able to do that. if they did not -- they did not say they could not do it but they said it would take time. >> it truly was an emergency situation. >> this was over the course of the last decade. i believe there was an awareness that the spruce beetle was getting worse every year. i think the forest service, the local decision-makers, were working towards getting a mechanism set up that they could actually allow something to happen. regulations and other things, it was very
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difficult for them. >> that's why we need to have some sort of vehicle, hearing or whatever, to try and cut through some of that stuff. dr. tpoek, the nature conservancy does a tremendous job in arkansas. scott simon is there and you are all exemplary and a great public/private partnerships can do and i want to commend you for that. i would like to ask you and mr. troxel - we have heard about climate change and budget cuts and this and that and have heard of fightingoblem fires and expending all of her funds doing that versus mitigating these things. what percentage of this over the last early has been cause from poor management? as far as the situation -- the forest are a
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threat to our community. essentially, she is concerned because this is a danger now. i think mr. pitcher alluded to the same type of thing. acreage that this is a tinderbox for a variety of different reasons print what percentage of that is just poor management? >> i don't have a percentage but i would say we would be wrong if we did not attribute an awful lot of the weather related events to these really intense fires. the very intense fires we have had in the last decade are due to these high temperature, long drought events. there is a tremendous relationship there. thems. clark mentioned that areas that were well-managed in her areas did not have as much problem. >> i have had the good fortune
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of visiting a number of sites. i got to spend time in the area around the wallow fire in arizona. we are involved in a project with the city of colorado springs and manitou springs and the forest service. there are several fire problems where we will need several fire solutions. if it were not for the problematic weather problems, it would not be nearly as bad. the overzealous fire suppression we have for many decades when we had wetter areas, that's a big contribution, also. we cannot overplay. it depends where you are at and it is different between chaparral and high elevation forests and they have different sources of ecology. it is important that we don't overgeneralize. >> mr. troxel. because there are so many
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different forest types and what's the right thing to do in a ponderosa pine forest is different than what is the right treatment with spruce. mr. pitcher referred to the monolithic forest on the rio grande national forest and that is part of the problem. there was so little structural stage diversity and that was because of the history of fire suppression in those areas and not taking the initiative and doing management to create that diversity and that structure. diversity in forests is like a stock portfolio. it is good whether we are talking about forest or stock portfolios. we just did not have that in the national forest and that's why so many huge areas of forest in colorado and other western states have been so affected by
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the beetle epidemic. >> thank you. >> senator club chart. >> -- klobuchar. >> the nature conservancy has a strong presence out west and there has been a more collaborative approach to forest management in part because of them nature conservancy. i think other regions of the country would look at the work you are doing. with some envy. despite these improvements, i think you know the timber industry still struggles with some of the redtape issues. you mentioned some potential reforms. what do you see a steps we can take in the near term to complete sales and a more timely manner and expedite many of the routine projects that get tied up for months? >> thank you for the compliment for our conservancy staff. and're good and arizona minnesota and colorado, arkansas
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and -- >> south dakota. >> our minnesota and south dakota folks work together. i have tried to avoid it for a moment but directly answering the question -- larger scale nepa projects must include an adaptive component. i saw this actually in arkansas in the ozark national forest rate i hope people can copy what they have done there. over a range of district, couple of hundred thousand acres, having an environmental analysis done that allows projects to be to doithout them having local detail projects over and over again. you still have the benefits of having nepa and public involvement. we are doing it at a scale you can actually assess treatments i have a better idea of cumulative impact. that's an area that a lot more can be done.
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there are places in south dakota, another place where they have stepped up with some large- scale nepa project analysis grid i would like to see those done in more places. earlier inoned talking to mr. hubbard about bioenergy, could you talk about how you see it working forests and bioenergy is part of a broader strategy to support economic development? we see a northern minnesota understanding would have to preserve large tracts of our forest and make sure we do it right. i'm not an expert in that field. i have a good experience in arizona visiting some areas where a terrific small factory has 48 employees and is generating wood pellets for local industry, not for european export. that is a very important kind of compounded. i would like to see more of this distributed local energy use through bioenergy done in many
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places. i think there are many parts to this country where that can be done. in eastern oregon, we've seen the hospitals and schools are able to use locally grown fuels for heating and such. i think there is a lot to be done there. seen aminnesota, we have dramatic decline in the number of moose which is a big deal in our state. it is an icon in northern minnesota. how can changes in the forest habitat protect critical species? in in writing later. [laughter] it is something where we see a change or it maybe there are other climate change issues you are raising. of myis is way out area of expertise. in maine, there is weather- related impacts and disease on the moz but i'm not familiar with the minnesota situation. >> thank you. ms. clark, one of the things we
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have tried to do in the recent farm bills is to try to encourage a more regional approach for rural development. we have seen significant returns in minnesota when we do this. fire management is another area where coordination can help with county and state and federal agencies. how can federal agencies be more responsive to your needs and coordinate better with your local government units? >> i think some of the bipartisan legislation that is through various agencies here and through congress will help in terms of stewardship and partnership programs that really look to local governments to help in the planning of those forest. they are adjacent to private property and adjacent to counties and city parks and i think that collaborative nature is important. we are brought to the table
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early in the process and not at the end of the process when they have already decided. when you look at mike's peak in the pike national forest which was not impacted on the pike's there is over 1000 trees per acre there. it should be around 100 trees per acre. that is not good for wildlife. it is a threat to the mountain complex which includes norad. i think those partnerships are critical to us. >> thank you very much. -- my colleague is here from south -- decoder. i will put my question in writing for you, mr. pitcher. i had up a tourism caucus and i know how important this is very when we talk about these wildfires, we need to go beyond talking about them in terms of the timber industry which is
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important my state but also the effect it can have on tourism as an argument for the economic importance of investing in foreign -- in forest management suspected her being here. >> you should know that we'll creek is open for skiing already this year. [laughter] >> that's very good, we will put that up on her website. >> i'm so glad senator thune is joining us because he has been a leader on these issues for a long time. work on thed some farm bill to try to up date the faster nepa analysis in the beetle kill areas of our respective states want to thank you for that. i will turn it over to you. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you for calling this hearing and such a great panel of witnesses to talk about these issues. in the farm bill, we have tried to address some of these challenges we face, particularly in your area of the country and my area of the country.
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moves have migrated to south dakota and that's why they don't know about the minnesota -- i'm kidding. moose -- we have no moose in our state. knows full well the positive benefits of successful thinning and timber harvest programs. and what that can achieve in terms of proactively diminishing the risk of wildfires and protecting our western forest lands. he has worked extremely well with forest service and the timber industry and other stakeholders in our state, putting forth commonsense solutions to a lot of the problems and the concerns that are represented by those who care about and depend upon our western forest lands for their livelihood and recreational interests. that are some things going on in our state and i would like to have tom speak a
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little bit about that. tighte obviously got budget constraints we are doing with now and that has been a challenge. suggestions ofe new and creative ways to fund some of these issues we face in the forest. we have been able, in the state of south dakota, to combat the threat of the mountain pine beetle in an innovative way. like many of the forests in the rocky mount region, the black hills is experiencing this epidemic. it is not on the level in colorado yet. one of the reasons for that is due to the innovative way in which the various stakeholders and the forest service of work together to address the issue. they developed this mountain pine he will response project which was able to complete an environmental review of the most critical areas in the entire black hills national forest allowing the forest service the flexibility to quickly treat areas under the threat of mountain pine beetles. large the unprecedented
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landscape project this represents, more trees have been treated and feel has been removed and much more forest land has been protected from the pine beetles. there is more work that can be done in other areas and i would suggest that this kind of is somethingproach that could be replicated in other areas managed by the forest service. -- wouldion, i guess, the black hills national forest pine beetle response to with large-scale response be an effective tool for future forest management? >> thank you, senator. absolutely, as you know, it analyzed about 250,000 acres, made decisions about how to .reat the 250,000 acres the black hills is a great
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example because it is so well- established on the link between thinning the ponderosa pine forest and reducing the risk of fires and reducing the risk of mountain pine beetles. it is critical and it's also cost-effective and it helps the forest service be timely to do a nepa analysis. i believe it is a model that other forests should emulate. to changegress were the way forest service fire ,uppression costs are funded what would be the best strategy and how important is ensuring adequate funding for proactive forest management in fitting into a strategy? it is critical. it does not make


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