Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Cantwell Welcome New USDA “Shared Stewardship” Strategy

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the committee’s ranking member, today issued the following statements after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) released a new outcome-based investment strategy to improve conditions in America’s forests.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Forest Service Interim Chief Vicki Christiansen made the announcement during a press conference yesterday, where Murkowski, Cantwell, Sens. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who are also members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, provided remarks.

USFS Snip 08.17.18

(l to r) Christiansen, Perdue, Daines, Murkowski, Cantwell, and Wyden
at the press conference announcement

“I was pleased to stand with Secretary Perdue and Chief Christiansen as they announced this new and more aggressive approach to reduce fire risk and improve forest conditions,” Murkowski said. “This new plan involves a shared stewardship and greater collaboration between federal, state, local, and tribal leaders and other stakeholders across boundaries. Combining our knowledge, assets, and capabilities will enable us to achieve better outcomes on the landscape we all want.”   

“We have to do more to reduce the risk and that is what the Secretary’s vision and Ms. Christiansen’s vision does. It is about ensuring that we have efforts to scale and face the real science of this problem, help our at-risk communities respond, and make sure our firefighters have adequate resources so they can be as safe as possible,” Cantwell said.

“On my trip out west this week, I saw the devastation that these unprecedented wildfires are having on our neighbors, friends and families,” Perdue said. “We commit to work more closely with the states to reduce the frequency and severity of wildfires. We commit to strengthening the stewardship of public and private lands. This report outlines our strategy and intent to help one another prevent wildfire from reaching this level.”

The new strategy will make greater use of authorities that Congress has provided to USDA and the Forest Service to address landscape-level threats such as wildfires and invasive species. Click here for more information on the report, which is entitled, “Toward Shared Stewardship Across Landscapes: An Outcome-Based Investment Strategy.”

Related Issues: Energy