Sending Office: Honorable Mike Thompson
Sent By:
AnnMarie.Gantner@mail.house.gov

Dear Colleagues,

Representatives Thompson (D-CA) and Tipton (R-CO) request that you join them in showing bipartisan support for funding the U.S. Forest Service large air tanker program in the Fiscal Year 2018 Interior and Environment bill. 

The fire season in 2017 has shown to be another devastating year that cost dozens of lives and billions in property losses.  Years of prolonged drought and lengthening periods of extreme heat are resulting in conditions where many small wildfires have turned
into mega-fires that have affected many states. 

Large, fixed wing air tankers are the most important initial attack asset in the Forest Service’s arsenal to fight forest fires.  For every one percent improvement in initial attack success rate, the US Forest Service can save roughly $100 million in extended
attack expenses needed to fight wildfires that escape.

We will be closing this letter COB Tuesday, December 12.  Please note – there is no appropriations database submission associated with this letter.  If your boss is interested in signing on, please contact
Ann-Marie Gantner in Congressman Thompson’s office or
Liz Payne in Congressman Tipton’s office.

 

The Honorable Rodney Frelinghuysen                       The Honorable Nita Lowey

Chairman                                                                     Ranking Member

Committee on Appropriations                                     Committee on Appropriations                       

H-305, The Capitol                                                     1016 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515                                              Washington, DC  20515

 

The Honorable Ken Calvert                                        The Honorable Betty McCollum

Chairman                                                                     Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and             Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and

Related Agencies                                                         Related Agencies

Committee on Appropriations                                     Committee on Appropriations

B-308 Rayburn House Office Building                      1016 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515                                              Washington, DC  20515

 

Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen, Ranking Member Lowey, Chairman Calvert and Ranking Member McCollum:

We write to express our support for funding additional large airtankers for wildland firefighting in the Fiscal Year 2018 Interior and Environment bill.  The fire season in 2017 was another devastating year that cost dozens of lives and billions in property
losses across the west. The wildfire devastation in California is only the most recent example of how years of prolonged drought result in conditions where small wildfires escape into runaway modern mega-fires.  The growing number of unusually destructive
and deadly wildfires requires that Congress take action to address the critical need for additional wildland firefighting assets.

Through your leadership, the Interior appropriations title in P.L. 113-235 passed on December 16, 2014, provided funding to initiate the large air tanker modernization program.  It is critical to continue the funding support in the FY 2018 Interior appropriations
to ensure the US Forest Service’s firefighting capability keeps improving to combat the rapidly intensifying wildfire threat.

USFS has expressed a desire for a small core of modern, highly capable government owned and contractor operated air tankers to fight wildfires.  Such a program was the primary recommendation supported in the USDA Forest Service
Large Airtanker Modernization Strategy released February 2012.  The large airtanker funded in the FY 2015 Interior title will be the first asset in what will ultimately be a highly reliable and effective national capability that will help contain the
catastrophic wildfires that are devastating the west.

We request the final FY 2018 Interior and Environment appropriations bill include funding to continue the long-term modernization of the U.S. Forest Service’s fleet of firefighting large airtankers.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mike Thompson                                              Scott Tipton

Member of Congress                                      Member of Congress

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Agriculture, Environment, Natural Resources

icon eDC logo e-Dear Colleague version 2.0