Senators call for military equipment to fight wildfires - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Senators call for military equipment to fight wildfires

Sen. John McCain Sen. John McCain
Sen. Jeff Flake Sen. Jeff Flake
WASHINGTON (CBS5) -

A bi-partisan group of senators, including Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake, are coming together and asking the Department of Defense to release surplus equipment to fight wildfires.

For decades, extra trucks, generators and other gas-powered equipment was given to fire departments to help fight wildfires. But last week the Department of Defense canceled the program because some of that equipment didn't meet EPA standards.

Below is the letter a group of 25 senators sent Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday in hopes of reversing the freeze on surplus military equipment.

"Dear Secretary Hagel:

"It has come to our attention that the Department of Defense (DoD), citing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recently interrupted the transfer of surplus military equipment to states and local governments that are used for firefighting, natural disaster mitigation and relief, and law enforcement. We are deeply concerned that this decision was made during the peak of wildfire season.

"We understand that there may be confusion within DoD and EPA over the interpretation of regulations barring the transfer of federal vehicles that don't meet certain emission standards. As a result, the U.S. Army's Tank and Automotive Command (TACOM) and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) announced last week that they were unable to transfer trucks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service for loan to state forestry organizations under the Federal Excess Personal Property Program (FEPP) and the Firefighter Property Program (FPP). Every year, these two programs supply local firefighting agencies with over $150 million in excess federal equipment like trucks, pumps, generators, and engine parts. For many small and rural fire departments, federal excess equipment may be the only equipment they can afford. So far this year, 83% of all wildfires have been responded to by state and local fire agencies, most of which were on federal lands.

"We see no justification for government red-tape to stand in the way of helping first responders get the equipment they need to respond to wildland fires, floods, and other natural disasters. While we understand that DoD and EPA may be close to resolving this issue, we respectfully request that you provide us with your specific course of action for rescinding the restrictions placed on both the FEPP and FPP programs and clarify any vehicle title concerns raised by state foresters and law enforcement agencies."

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • NewsMore>>

  • 'Incredibles 2' crushes animation record with $180 million

    'Incredibles 2' crushes animation record with $180 million

    Sunday, June 17 2018 11:29 AM EDT2018-06-17 15:29:36 GMT
    Monday, June 18 2018 7:50 AM EDT2018-06-18 11:50:22 GMT
    (Disney/Pixar via AP). This image released by Disney Pixar shows a scene from "Incredibles 2," in theaters on June 15.(Disney/Pixar via AP). This image released by Disney Pixar shows a scene from "Incredibles 2," in theaters on June 15.

    Disney and Pixar's "Incredibles 2" has broken the record for the best animated opening of all time and the biggest for a PG-rated film.

    More >>

    Disney and Pixar's "Incredibles 2" has broken the record for the best animated opening of all time and the biggest for a PG-rated film.

    More >>
  • Strong quake near Osaka, Japan, kills 3, knocks over walls

    Strong quake near Osaka, Japan, kills 3, knocks over walls

    Sunday, June 17 2018 9:29 PM EDT2018-06-18 01:29:52 GMT
    Monday, June 18 2018 7:42 AM EDT2018-06-18 11:42:12 GMT
    (Takaki Yajima/Kyodo News via AP). School children take shelter at schoolyard in Ikeda, Osaka, following an earthquake Monday, June 18, 2018.  A strong earthquake has shaken the city of Osaka in western Japan. There are reports of scattered damage incl...(Takaki Yajima/Kyodo News via AP). School children take shelter at schoolyard in Ikeda, Osaka, following an earthquake Monday, June 18, 2018. A strong earthquake has shaken the city of Osaka in western Japan. There are reports of scattered damage incl...

    A strong earthquake shook the city of Osaka in western Japan, causing scattered damage including broken glass and partial building collapses.

    More >>

    A strong earthquake shook the city of Osaka in western Japan, causing scattered damage including broken glass and partial building collapses.

    More >>
  • Compulsive video-game playing now new mental health problem

    Compulsive video-game playing now new mental health problem

    Monday, June 18 2018 5:20 AM EDT2018-06-18 09:20:00 GMT
    Monday, June 18 2018 7:41 AM EDT2018-06-18 11:41:35 GMT
    In its latest revision to an international disease classification manual, the U.N. health agency said Monday that classifying "Gaming Disorder" as a separate condition will 'serve a public health purpose for countries.' (Source: Pixabay)In its latest revision to an international disease classification manual, the U.N. health agency said Monday that classifying "Gaming Disorder" as a separate condition will 'serve a public health purpose for countries.' (Source: Pixabay)

    The World Health Organization says that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a new mental health condition, in a move that some critics warn may risk stigmatizing its young players.

    More >>

    The World Health Organization says that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a new mental health condition, in a move that some critics warn may risk stigmatizing its young players.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly