U.S. Senate spending panel calls for extending pay boost for Forest Service firefighters

By Jacob Fischler
The Alaska Beacon
April 10, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

WASHINGTON — Members of a U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee said at a hearing Wednesday they were focused on keeping pay for wildland firefighters at the higher level set in a 2021 law and urged Forest Service Chief Randy Moore to focus on ways to maintain a healthy timber industry. Senate Interior-Environment Subcommittee Chair Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, and ranking Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said they were committed to funding Forest Service programs to prevent wildfires and to maintain healthy forests. As the temporary additional funding to the agency appropriated in the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law and Democrats’ 2022 climate, taxes and policy law approaches an end, lawmakers and the agency must work on a way to continue strong funding for an agency that is on the front lines of a changing climate, Merkley said. “Those are one-time investments,” Merkley said of the additional spending passed in recent years. “And those funds are running out.”

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