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Mark's Newsletter Update: Natural Disaster in Colorado's Forests Needs Action

Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011
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Dear Fellow Coloradan,

If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? How about an entire forest? Every spring and summer, the bark beetle epidemic in Colorado’s forests takes on added dimensions. Receding snows reveal new swaths of rust-red forest that have succumbed to bark beetles. The risk to public safety, critical infrastructure, recreational activities and water supplies intensifies with each passing year as the epidemic spreads.

Let the U.S. Forest Service know that the crisis in Colorado's forests needs to be a national priority.
At my urging, the U.S. Forest Service successfully reprogrammed $40 million in Fiscal Year 2010 to go toward beetle-killed forests, but those funds were just a drop in the bucket compared to the scale of the problem. That’s why last October I led a bipartisan group of Western senators in asking the administration to re-direct an additional $49 million in un-spent money to help address bark beetle-killed forests. Our request has, as yet, gone unfulfilled.
So last week, I sent a letter to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell urging him to do a full accounting of available Forest Service funds for both fire suppression and those that may be reprogrammed for bark-beetle mitigation efforts. I’m hopeful that the U.S. Forest Service will act on my request and that others in Washington will heed the emergency in Western forests. But my letter will carry much more weight with thousands of signatures from Coloradans who are understandably frustrated at the slow progress in addressing this crisis.
Sign my letter to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and let him know that Coloradans need action.
Beyond protecting our homes and watersheds, taking action now makes fiscal sense, because fighting a fire could ultimately be much more expensive than preventing one.
We can't afford further delay. We need action now.
Best regards,
Mark Udall

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