Bill to Fix Wildfire Disaster Funding Dies in Congress

The package included the Wildfire Disaster Funding measure to fix the U.S. Forest Service's budget issues

By Dillon Tabish

MISSOULA — A bill that included a long-term financial fix for wildland firefighting has stalled in Congress.

The Missoulian reports that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, announced Wednesday that conference talks on the Energy Policy Modernization Act were unlikely to resume until 2017.

The package included the Wildfire Disaster Funding measure to fix the U.S. Forest Service’s budget issues as well as a permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, two measures supported by all of Montana’s congressional delegation.

The Wildfire Disaster Funding bill would have allowed the Forest Service to pay for forest firefighting expenses in a similar way to how the federal government responds to other natural disasters. Currently the Forest Service covers firefighting with annual appropriations.

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