PHOENIX – Representative David Cook (R-8) sent a letter to the United States Forest Service July 1 urging the agency to ensure it assists Arizona ranchers with grazing allotments impacted by fires within the state.
The letter is cosigned by fellow Representatives Mark Finchem (R-11), Kelly Townsend (R-16), Bret Roberts (R-11) and Kevin Payne (R-21) and notes the support of Representatives Bob Thorpe (R-6) and John Fillmore (R-16).
Full text of the letter and a list of signatories can be found below:
July 1, 2020
Acting Regional Forester Watts
333 Broadway SE
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Dear Regional Forester Watts,
We hope this finds you, your family, and fellow Forest Service (FS) employees safe and healthy.
Could you please at your earliest convenience send us the names and contact information of the current Grazing Allotment owners that are being impacted by fires ongoing in the state of Arizona.
I would hope that when all of these fires are over, you champion the needs of these ranchers and their operations with the needed improvements on their allotments, rebuilt in the most expeditious way so they can continue their businesses.
The federal government has several programs such as the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program. In a post fire assessment report, “that identifies immediate and emergency actions needed to address post-fire risks to human life and safety, property, cultural and critical natural resources.” We do not understand how ranchers and allotment owners are not considered a substantial part. If a fire damages a fence along a state highway, like last year near Roosevelt, Arizona, the state at its own expense, replaces the fencing along such highway. How can the agency not replace those other fences damaged by the fire for the operations it has impacted?
If there is something, we can do that would assist you in this please do not hesitate to contact us.