Southern Colorado’s Action 22 supports McInnis on wildfire legislation |

Southern Colorado’s Action 22 supports McInnis on wildfire legislation

Cathy Garcia, president and chief operating officer, Action 22 Inc.

Action 22 supports Rep. Scott McInnis Healthy Forests Restoration Act, which protects our forests after last years’ catastrophic fire season.

The legislation provides streamlined procedures to allow forest health projects to proceed on the most threatened forest landscapes in expedited fashion, including encouraging vital public input into the process.

This legislation is scheduled to help protect water quality in forested watersheds across the country and creates new incentives for value added uses of biomass, including as a renewable energy source.

An incentive for private forest landowners to conserve and manage sensitive wildlife species also is included in the legislation.

The price of ignoring fire history is high. The Hayman blaze destroyed homes, national forest, habitat and cost more than $39 million to extinguish – not to mention the loss of tourist dollars to the state of Colorado.

The price tag to restore the area may reach $150 million.

A major and significant change is needed to reverse the course of the current condition of forests across the country and bring them back to a healthy condition.

Action 22 urges support of McInnis’ Healthy Forest Restoration Act.

Editor’s note: Action 22 is a 22-county coalition of individuals, businesses, organizations, cities and counties in southern Colorado. Club 20 is a sister organization on the Western Slope. Progressive 15 is a sister organization in northeast Colorado. Action 22 membership regions include all of the San Luis Valley and the counties of El Paso, Teller, Park, Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Pueblo, Las Animas, Huerfano, Crowley, Otero, Bent, Prowers, Baca, Kiowa and Cheyenne.

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