Governor Brad Little issued the following statement after joining President Joe Biden at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise today to discuss the impacts of wildfire in the West.
“Two-thirds of Idaho is public land managed by the federal government, and it is imperative we keep lines of communication open with our federal partners – right up to the President – on ways to build a more fire resilient range and forest ecosystem.
There is plenty I disagree with the President on right now, but today we came together to listen to one another and discuss solutions on wildfire. I spent my limited time with the President focusing on the incredible progress Idaho has made with collaborative initiatives, including the Good Neighbor Authority and Shared Stewardship. We have demonstrated that diverse interests can come together with the common goal of protecting lives and communities from wildfire, creating jobs, and improving the landscape.
I pointed out to the President the tremendous partnership that Idaho has forged with federal land and fire management agencies, but there is another federal agency that plays a role in our ability to successfully implement meaningful practices on the landscape – the U.S. Department of Justice.
Just one month ago, an environmentalist group succeeded in holding up a 2,500-acre logging project in North Idaho that was part of our Good Neighbor Authority plan to make the landscape more fire resilient. We need the President’s help with minimizing unproductive lawsuits so we can get fully agreed upon plans implemented and reduce the fuel load, and so we are not unduly endangering firefighters and our communities. We must increase the pace and scale of forest health projects now if we’re going to make progress on our national forests.
I thank the President for taking the time to visit NIFC. Western governors and I look forward to continuing to work with the President and his administration on land and fire management issues facing the West, and I deeply appreciate our firefighters for their hard work and bravery during a tough fire season.”