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Representative Walden Visits Medford, Urges Federal Aid for Forest Management

The congressman says that federal funding for forest management will come from the 2018 Farm Bill—if his recommendations make it into the final bill which has yet to be reconciled.

Posted: Aug 2, 2018 6:04 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Visiting an area of his constituency on Tuesday that is all-but surrounded by wildfires, Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) made his case for why "sweeping improvements" to federal forest management should be included in the final form of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Those improvements sucessfully made it into the House of Representatives version of the bill, which passed the House in June. However, Walden's office says that the same changes have yet to appear in the Senate version of the bill. When the two bills are combined, the future of that aid becomes uncertain.

"The West is burning," Walden said in a letter sent on Tuesday to lawmakers who will be charged with reconciling the two bills. "Lives have been tragically lost. Homes and other property have been destroyed. Smoke is choking our skies, leaving residents of southern Oregon and elsewhere with the worst air quality in the nation. It does not have to be this way."

Congressman Walden claims that he continues to push for active forest management that would remove fuels and lessen the ongoing threat of fire and smoke for Oregonians.

"Communities across the West should not have to face the increasing threat of wildfire and choke on smoke each summer because of mismanagement of our public lands. We can do better," Walden said.

Walden cited John Bailey, a professor at Oregon State University, who testified last fall before the Energy and Commerce Committee that some areas of eastern Oregon have nearly 1,000 trees per acre on land that historically had 20 trees per acre. Walden argues that overstocked tree stands fuel the West's increasingly destructive fires.

In a meeting with Southern Oregon business owners on Thursday, Walden announced that the House Energy and Commerce Committee would hold a hearing to examine the air quality impacts of wildfire smoke—pointing again to his proposed improvements to forest management policy as a way to address the issue.

"Year after year, people in the West are suffering from the effects of catastrophic fire and the smoke that comes with it," said Walden in a video message. "People end up having to wear masks, stay inside, and events are canceled. It's time for Congress to act. As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I'm announcing that we are going to hold a hearing this fall to look at the health consequences of the smoke from these catastrophic wildfires."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 3967

Reported Deaths: 148
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah105258
Marion91425
Washington69817
Clackamas29610
Deschutes1200
Linn1159
Umatilla1123
Polk9610
Lane672
Yamhill667
Jackson600
Benton555
Clatsop450
Klamath410
Coos310
Malheur280
Josephine251
Douglas250
Jefferson240
Wasco181
Columbia160
Hood River120
Morrow120
Lincoln90
Tillamook60
Crook60
Curry60
Union60
Wallowa20
Sherman10
Grant10
Harney10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 99387

Reported Deaths: 3819
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles478452145
Riverside7139303
San Diego6797249
Orange5578131
San Bernardino4567176
Alameda298693
Santa Clara2675139
San Francisco239940
San Mateo190482
Kern187629
Tulare177179
Santa Barbara155112
Fresno148222
Contra Costa135337
Imperial135224
Sacramento131056
Ventura91230
San Joaquin77133
Kings6882
Stanislaus65928
Sonoma5154
Solano45520
Monterey4298
Marin41714
Merced2687
San Luis Obispo2631
Santa Cruz2002
Yolo19822
Placer1889
Napa1093
Humboldt942
Madera852
El Dorado780
San Benito762
Sutter422
Nevada411
Butte400
Del Norte400
Shasta364
Mono341
Yuba281
Mendocino220
Inyo191
Mariposa161
Lake140
Calaveras140
Glenn120
Amador100
Siskiyou61
Colusa50
Plumas40
Lassen40
Tuolumne30
Tehama31
Alpine20
Trinity10
Sierra10
Unassigned00
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