U.S. Forest Service to Use Bennet-Authored Provision to Combat the Spread of Tussock Moth in El Paso County

Expedited Treatment Authority Included by Bennet in 2014 Farm Bill

Colorado Springs, CO - The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) will use a provision authored by Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet to swiftly coordinate with local governments to address devastating effects of the Tussock Moth in the foothills of Colorado Springs before the infestation spreads. The USFS team will work in conjunction with efforts on adjacent state, municipal, and private lands to combat the outbreak and prevent the moth from continuing to spread in the Colorado Springs area. The expedited authority to undertake this treatment comes from a provision Bennet authored in the 2014 Farm Bill. The Tussock Moth causes defoliation and kills coniferous trees, damaging local watersheds and habitats, as well as harming local scenery and recreation.

"We created this tool to help move government bureaucracy out of the way of quick and effective coordination between federal, state, and municipal agencies and private landowners to combat these types of harmful infestations," Bennet said. "Without such efforts, these outbreaks can continue to spread and intensify, harming local environments and economies and potentially increasing the risk of catastrophic wildfires."

The National Forest Insect and Disease Treatment Act authored by Bennet and included in the 2014 Farm Bill created a program allowing expedited treatments on specific national forest acreage suffering from insect and disease epidemics. The program was added to the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA) of 2003. Also approved in the 2014 Farm Bill, were Bennet provisions to permanently reauthorize nationwide Stewardship Contracting Authority and expand "Good Neighbor" authority, which allows state foresters to pursue fire mitigation projects.