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McSally Introduces Invoice to Pace Arizona Forest Restoration Challenge – Flagstaff Enterprise & On-line Information | Northern Arizona Native Newspaper – Flagstaff Enterprise Information

U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) today introduced legislation to accelerate Arizona’s single most important forest restoration project—the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI).

The bill would reduce bureaucratic delays by waiving a requirement that the Forest Service must wait an additional 30 days after notifying Congress of the completed contract before they actually issue the award. Instead, the Forest Service would be required to report the details of the contract to Congress within seven days of its issuance. This Congressional notification waiver would only apply to Phase 2 of the 4FRI project, which Congress has followed closely for years.

“Far too many Arizona communities saw the devastation of catastrophic wildfires this summer,” McSally said. “We cannot afford any more delays on this project to prevent forest fires in our state. Over the last two years, I’ve worked with the Forest Service to speed the Four Forest Restoration Initiative. This commonsense bill cuts through the bureaucratic red tape to ensure there is not one more month of delay in awarding a contract for Phase 2 of 4FRI.”

Leaders in Navajo and Coconino counties expressed support for McSally’s legislation.

Navajo County Supervisor Jason Whiting: “Simply put, we don’t want to burn like we are seeing in states all around us. Now is the time for action to mitigate the risk of catastrophic fires through better forest management. Senator McSally’s legislation will reduce unnecessary bureaucratic delays to forest management and wildfire prevention by authorizing the Forest Service to issue the 4FRI Phase 2 contract as soon as negotiations are complete. I appreciate Senator McSally’s leadership on this important issue.”

Coconino County Supervisor Art Babbott said: “I encourage the expeditious awarding of the 4FRI Phase 2 RFP. Time is of the essence as the risks to our community are profound.  Congress is well aware of the RFP and the need to get Phase 2 forest restoration underway in northern Arizona. I appreciate Senator McSally’s bill and hope that all parties – Congress, the Forest Service, and our industry partners can move quickly to get this RFP awarded.”

Read full bill text HERE.

BACKGROUND:

On September 25, 2020, Sen. McSally and Rep. O’Halleran led members of the Arizona delegation in a letter to the U.S. Forest Service highlighting the need for action on the Four Forest Restoration Initiative in Northern Arizona to help reduce wildfire risk.
On September 16, 2020, McSally called out the U.S. Forest Service for delaying 4FRI.
On June 13, 2019, McSally introduced a bill to streamline 4FRI. Many of the proposals in her bill were adopted by the Forest Service.
On April 9, 2019, McSally pressed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) about the timeline of Arizona’s Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI).
On March 22, 2019, McSally visited Coconino County during her 15-county tour and heard from community leaders about the state of the forests.
On February 12, 2019, McSally helped pass the Bipartisan Natural Resources Management Act, which included important provisions to modernize wildfire technology.

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