Rep. Peters Votes to Strengthen and Protect San Diego and Other Wildlands from Threat of Wildfires
July 28, 2022
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) voted to pass H.R. 5118, the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act, to help mitigate wildfires, drought and extreme weather events that are intensified by our climate crisis. In addition, this act directs the President to establish a National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program and creates a new environmental justice grant to empower communities and reduce health disparities.
“Since coming to Congress, I’ve made it a priority to get our communities the resources they need to protect lives and property from wildfires. San Diego has suffered from devastating fires that have caused damage in the tens of millions, taken homes, businesses, and lives. We must apply better-funded prevention plans now, because the wildfires California and the entire southwest are experiencing are no longer an anomaly; they will only get more severe and destructive due to a warming planet,” said Rep. Peters “This bill is just the start. We must do much more to combat megafires in the West including providing more funding to proactively remove hazardous fuels across our landscapes. We must adapt our environmental laws to work in the age of climate change, so we can conduct restorative thinning projects and controlled burns before fires strike. We should work in a bipartisan way to enact policies to curb these disasters starting with passing the Save Our Sequoias Act."
This vote reinforces Rep. Peters’ commitment to address the threats wildfires pose. In June, he introduced the bipartisan Save Our Sequoias (SOS) Act and last week, the Forest Service announced measures to protect some sequoias that mirror provisions within the SOS Act.
The following are key bill provisions by section:
- Establishes a minimum basic pay rate (approximately $20/hr) for wildland firefighters based on the recent Office of Personnel Management “wildland firefighter” job series classification.
- Authorizes a 10-Year National Wildfire Response Plan.
- Gives Tribes and Conservation Corps an expanded role in reducing wildfire risk.
- Provides $500 million for actions to prevent key reservoirs of the Colorado River from declining to critically low water elevations.
- Supports drought-proof water infrastructure projects with rapid construction timelines.
- Provides secure water for tribes by advancing tribal water rights settlements, investing $1 billion in a new grant program for tribal clean water access.
Other Fire, Drought, and Extreme Weather Programs
- Helps strengthen our electric grid against extreme weather and natural disasters.
- Directs the President to establish a National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program to reduce the loss of life and property from wildland fires through coordination of Federal efforts.
- Establishes the National Disaster Safety Board, an independent entity with the purposes of reducing future loss of life in natural hazards.
- Creates new environmental justice grant and training programs to empower communities and reduce health disparities, including those driven by drought, wildfire, and other climate events.
Click here for a full list of provisions within the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act.