For Immediate Release

Contact: Steven Behm

July 7, 2000

202-224-3244

 

GRAMS: FIRE THREAT REDUCTION/PUBLIC SAFETY IS TOP PRIORITY

"The federal government's top priority must be fire threat mitigation and the protection of the lives and property of northern Minnesotans," says Minnesota Senator

Grand Rapids, MN -- U.S. Senator Rod Grams (R-MN) today led a Senate Subcommittee on Forests and Public Land Management Field Hearing on forest management and storm recovery in northern Minnesota. The hearing, which was held at Grams' request, centered around efforts to reduce the threat of catastrophic fire in northern Minnesota, forest health issues, and the importance of the federal timber program.

"I asked for this hearing so we could look at what has been done to date in storm recovery and how we move forward to protect the lives, businesses, and communities in northern Minnesota in the future. One year ago this week, northern Minnesota was in the midst of recovering from the July 4th windstorm that destroyed countless acres of forest lands and greatly impacted the communities, businesses and residents of this region of our state. Since that time, we've learned the storm, as perhaps its defining legacy, left a very real threat of catastrophic fire that will grip this region for many years to come. The federal government's top priority must be fire threat mitigation and the protection of the lives and property of northern Minnesotans," said Grams.

Grams, joined by a number of locally elected officials, called for the hearing in February, and expressed some concern about the federal regulations that may impair getting help to the area in a timely fashion. "I have long argued that federal laws and regulations are often a hindrance to properly managing our forests and other public lands. It's also important to note that in some cases federal regulations impact the ability of the state and country agencies to access their own land, thereby impending their ability to manage non-federal forests."

Written testimony can be sent to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee up to two weeks following today's hearing by mailing it to: U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, 364 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510 or e-mailing to: forests@energy.senate.gov.

Gunflint Trail Prescribed Burn - Greenwood Lake / Brule River

Quetico Prescribed Burn