Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet today urged the Senate to pass an amendment that would provide funding for the safe removal of hazardous trees killed by bark beetles in the West. The amendment to the Supplemental Bill would provide $42 million to the U.S. Forest Service and $8 million to the National Park Service for this effort to protect public safety and water quality. Bennet and Udall are co-sponsors of this amendment.
“For years I have fought to stop the march of the bark beetle,” Senator Udall said. “This is yet another step that Senator Bennet and I are taking to ensure the safety of our mountain communities, watersheds and our local tourism. Not only will this funding help protect our beautiful state, it will create the jobs needed to remove these dead and dying trees that have become a safety hazard. We will not stop fighting for funding until we have successfully stopped the tiny bark beetles from eating their way through our forests.”
“Many Colorado forests have been devastated by the bark beetle epidemic, and now dead and dying trees threaten public safety and the viability of our watersheds, infrastructure, and critical water supplies,” said Bennet. “This much-needed funding will go a long way to safely remove dead and dying trees in a way that creates jobs and spurs economic growth, while protecting Coloradans who want to enjoy the natural beauty of our National Forests and National Parks.”
Bark beetle has ravaged the Rocky Mountain West. Its effects have been especially severe in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming, where more than 3.6 million acres have been affected.
The bark-beetle epidemic has had a severe impact on forest health and has resulted in a dramatic increase in the danger of trees falling on roads, trails, and in recreation areas. Additionally, fire and dying trees threaten water quality and water flow across the Rocky Mountain Region.