Governor comments on $40 million Federal commitment to forests
For mitigation of bark beetle problems on National Forests
by Governor Freudenthal media release
December 10, 2009
CHEYENNE – Gov. Dave Freudenthal sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on Wednesday, December 9, congratulating Vilsack for the Secretary’s willingness to commit $40 million to mitigating bark beetle problems in forests devastated by the insects.
The Governor’s letter is below:
December 9, 2009
The Honorable Thomas Vilsack
Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20250
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
I write to express my appreciation for your decision to commit additional federal resources to address the bark beetle outbreak's effects of forests in the Intermountain West. The announcement is a welcome response to my letter of September 29th, which sought the dedication of both additional resources and enhanced cooperation in addressing this unprecedented epidemic.
To be clear, I have been pushing for increased federal support of beetle-impacted forest projects since the early discussions of the federal stimulus bill. I'm more than willing to criticize decisions at the federal level, but I am also willing to congratulate.
Your decision to dedicate $40 million in federal funds to address public safety concerns in National Forests is an important signal of the Department of Agriculture's willingness to prioritize available resources. I am encouraged by the department's desire to work toward reducing the hazardous fuels which threaten the region's campgrounds and other recreational opportunities. Forest campgrounds are vitally important elements of the outdoor experiences for Wyoming residents and visitors alike, and need to remain open to public use.
I look forward to working with you as plans are further refined, and details of the expenditure of funds are developed. This is not a full solution, to be sure, but it is certainly an important step.
Your announcement reflects your understanding of the importance of aggressive action as we work toward a long term resolution of the crisis in our nation's forests.