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Washington, DC, September 13, 2000 – In testimony today before the House Budget Committee’s Task Force on Natural Resources and the Environment, CEI Senior Fellow Robert H. Nelson addressed the issue of catastrophic wildfires. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
His testimony covered the following conclusions:
· The need to rethink basic assumptions of federal land management;
· We must reduce excess fuel loads in national forests;
· States and localities should take the lead in developing plans to reduce fire risk – in conjunction with the federal government and stakeholders;
· Facilitate the sale of commercially marketable wood so that the cost to the taxpayer is kept to a minimum;
· Forest Service should publish risk assessments for communities near federal forests;
· Costs should be shared between federal, state, and local governments;
“The many mistakes of past federal forest management require a new federal modesty of aims and prescriptions,” Dr. Nelson testified. “Instead of the controlling force, a new federal role is required in which the federal government becomes merely one participant in a larger group process or decision making.”
Dr. Nelson is the author of the newly published book, A Burning Issue: The Case for Abolishing the US Forest Service (2000 Rowman & Littlefield) as well as several monographs and other publications. He has appeared on radio all around the country, been published in the Washington Post and worked for 18 years in the Department of the Interior. He is a professor at the University of Maryland.
CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, please contact Emily McGee, director of media relations, at 202-331-1010, ext. 209.