Senators call for military equipment to fight wildfires - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Senators call for military equipment to fight wildfires

Sen. John McCain Sen. John McCain
Sen. Jeff Flake Sen. Jeff Flake
WASHINGTON (CBS5) -

A bi-partisan group of senators, including Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake, are coming together and asking the Department of Defense to release surplus equipment to fight wildfires.

For decades, extra trucks, generators and other gas-powered equipment was given to fire departments to help fight wildfires. But last week the Department of Defense canceled the program because some of that equipment didn't meet EPA standards.

Below is the letter a group of 25 senators sent Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday in hopes of reversing the freeze on surplus military equipment.

"Dear Secretary Hagel:

"It has come to our attention that the Department of Defense (DoD), citing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recently interrupted the transfer of surplus military equipment to states and local governments that are used for firefighting, natural disaster mitigation and relief, and law enforcement. We are deeply concerned that this decision was made during the peak of wildfire season.

"We understand that there may be confusion within DoD and EPA over the interpretation of regulations barring the transfer of federal vehicles that don't meet certain emission standards. As a result, the U.S. Army's Tank and Automotive Command (TACOM) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) announced last week that they were unable to transfer trucks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service for loan to state forestry organizations under the Federal Excess Personal Property Program (FEPP) and the Firefighter Property Program (FPP). Every year, these two programs supply local firefighting agencies with over $150 million in excess federal equipment like trucks, pumps, generators, and engine parts. For many small and rural fire departments, federal excess equipment may be the only equipment they can afford. So far this year, 83% of all wildfires have been responded to by state and local fire agencies, most of which were on federal lands.

"We see no justification for government red-tape to stand in the way of helping first responders get the equipment they need to respond to wildland fires, floods, and other natural disasters. While we understand that DoD and EPA may be close to resolving this issue, we respectfully request that you provide us with your specific course of action for rescinding the restrictions placed on both the FEPP and FPP programs and clarify any vehicle title concerns raised by state foresters and law enforcement agencies."

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • More WALB News10 HeadlinesMore News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Deputies recover hundreds of stolen items

    Deputies recover hundreds of stolen items

    Wednesday, March 29 2017 5:08 PM EDT2017-03-29 21:08:45 GMT
    Deputies are sorting through hundreds of stolen items that were recovered at a Lowndes County home Tuesday night. (Source: WALB)Deputies are sorting through hundreds of stolen items that were recovered at a Lowndes County home Tuesday night. (Source: WALB)

    Deputies are sorting through hundreds of stolen items that were recovered at a Lowndes County home Tuesday night. According to the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, Richard Kent II barricaded himself inside his home Tuesday night off highway 41.  http://www.walb.com/story/35017452/man-arrested-after-barricading-himself-in-lowndes-co-home Once deputies were able to get in the home they found rifles, pistols, electronics, and many other items.  Sheriff Ashley Paulk says he ...

    More >>

    Deputies are sorting through hundreds of stolen items that were recovered at a Lowndes County home Tuesday night. According to the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, Richard Kent II barricaded himself inside his home Tuesday night off highway 41.  http://www.walb.com/story/35017452/man-arrested-after-barricading-himself-in-lowndes-co-home Once deputies were able to get in the home they found rifles, pistols, electronics, and many other items.  Sheriff Ashley Paulk says he ...

    More >>
  • Armed robbers on the loose

    Armed robbers on the loose

    Wednesday, March 29 2017 3:45 PM EDT2017-03-29 19:45:09 GMT
    (AP graphic)(AP graphic)

    A woman told police two men approached her in the 700 block of East Broad Avenue, around 3:30 Tuesday morning.

    More >>

    A woman told police two men approached her in the 700 block of East Broad Avenue, around 3:30 Tuesday morning.

    More >>
  • DAY 2: First full day of boot camp at Parris Island, SC

    DAY 2: First full day of boot camp at Parris Island, SC

    Wednesday, March 29 2017 3:35 PM EDT2017-03-29 19:35:16 GMT
    The Educators Workshop at the Marine base at Parris Island, South Carolina kicked off Wednesday. (Source: WALB)The Educators Workshop at the Marine base at Parris Island, South Carolina kicked off Wednesday. (Source: WALB)

    The Educators Workshop at the Marine base at Parris Island, South Carolina kicked off Wednesday. 

    More >>

    The Educators Workshop at the Marine base at Parris Island, South Carolina kicked off Wednesday. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly