Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today announced that several Colorado priorities are included in the spending agreement to fund the government through September 30, 2018.
“This agreement includes a critical fix for the way we fund wildfire suppression, which is particularly important for Colorado and the West,” Bennet said. “It also makes significant investments in clean energy programs, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, infrastructure, and opioid abuse prevention and treatment. Instead of lurching from one short-term spending measure to another, this bill provides some much needed certainty.”
Below are several Colorado priorities included in the legislation:
- Ends fire borrowing and fixes the Forest Service fire suppression budget, providing ten years of certainty so the Forest Service can complete the entirety of its mission—from wildfire mitigation to recreation.
- Fully funds Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and reauthorizes Secure Rural Schools (SRS), providing Colorado counties funding to carry out vital emergency services, school construction, and road maintenance. Bennet has consistently advocated for full funding of PILT and SRS reauthorization.
- Increases funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and reauthorizes the Federal Land Facilitation Transfer Act to support conservation projects across the West.
- Funds long-term water quality monitoring for the Animas River and directs the Environmental Protection Agency to disperse all the payments they are legally permitted to for the Animas River claims.
- Increases funding for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) located in Golden.
- Provides $600 million for a new rural broadband pilot grant/loan program targeted to areas that currently lack access to broadband service.
- Provides over $4 billion to combat the opioid crisis.
- Funds a study on the health effects of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), chemicals that have contaminated drinking water sources near military bases across the nation, including around Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.