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Fight Wildfires With Fire (if EPA Allows)

Shawn Regan of the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) writes in The Wall Street Journal about the ways in which federal regulations get in the way of fighting fires.

The C3 Take
  • While climate change makes droughts worse and extends fire seasons, federal regulations make wildfires worse and more damaging.
  • Prescribed burns, which reduce fuel load and the intensity of wildfires (while producing healthier forests), must adhere to strict air quality standards from the EPA under the Clean Air Act.
  • These regulations are difficult, expensive, and time consuming to navigate and to date, only one project has received a Clean Air Act exemption for a prescribed burn.
  • Lawmakers must modernize regulations like these to allow our forest managers and landowners to more easily adapt to a changing climate.

“Obtaining an exemption for a prescribed fire under the Clean Air Act is already so arduous that states are reluctant to implement or expand burn programs. The Government Accountability Office recently reported that the approval process is so burdensome that only one state has submitted and been granted an exemption from the EPA, a project in Kansas in 2012.”

Read the full article here.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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