Washington, DC—Today, Representative John Curtis (R-UT), Deputy Republican Leader of the House Natural Resources ‘National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee’, spoke on the House floor to advocate for an amendment to HR 2157 that would increase funding for the Emergency Watershed Protection program.

In the state of Utah alone, nearly half a million acres burned last year. Over 60% of Utah is federal land, adding even more unique challenges to forest management. This week, Rep. Curtis cosponsored The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2019, a solution to the growing economic and environmental threats of catastrophic wildfire. Click here to read more.

The Congressman’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of this amendment to HR 2157, increasing funding for the Emergency Watershed Protection program by 310 million dollars.

Last year, Utah, like many States in the West, faced devastating wildfires that affected many communities in my district. The Pole Creek Fire and Bald Mountain Fire, which started on federal land, collectively burned over 117,000 acres and left damaged infrastructure and homes in their paths.

Many of the communities affected by the fires need assistance to rebuild and repair the critical watersheds that they rely on, but have not been able to receive it. For example, Utah County has been approved for over 9 million dollars in aid from NRCS through the Program, but because of inadequate funding, has yet to get the funds they were promised.

Cleaning up and rebuilding after a wildfire is an important step in protecting against future disaster. I am proud to support this amendment that will bring aid to communities like Utah County that have been affected by catastrophic natural disasters. 

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.”