Gardner, Polis Farm Bill Amendment to Beef Up Watershed Protection Program Passes House
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Reps. Cory Gardner (CO-04) and Jared Polis (CO-02) passed a bipartisan amendment today to H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, the FARM Bill, that would help communities better prepare for and recover from catastrophic wildfires.
“There is nothing we can do to prevent a drought from happening, but there is much we can do to help communities prepare for and mitigate the damage caused by droughts and subsequent wildfires,” Rep. Gardner said. “The Emergency Watershed Protection program, for example, is essential to protecting our communities from debris runoff and flooding caused by wildfires. Our amendment will prioritize EWP funding for states, like Colorado, that are especially susceptible to natural disasters that threaten watershed infrastructure.”
“This summer is predicted to be one of the worst fire seasons in recorded history. This amendment is particularly timely as two fires are currently burning in Colorado’s Second Congressional District, in Jefferson County as well as Rocky Mountain National Park,” said Rep. Polis. “Additionally, this year the Black Forest Fire has destroyed over 500 homes and killed two Coloradans in the past week. Prioritizing Emergency Watershed Protection funding for wildfires will help countless communities protect public safety, drinking water, and prevent flooding in the wake of the West’s most destructive wildfires.”
Last year, Colorado wildfires destroyed nearly 650 structures, caused over $538 million in property losses, and killed six Coloradans. After months of efforts, the Colorado delegation was able to secure more than $19 million of Emergency Watershed Protection funding to mitigate the damage caused by the Waldo Canyon and High Park fires. The funds were recently disbursed and Colorado communities are now able to complete their recovery from the most devastating fire season in Colorado’s history.