Senators call for military equipment to fight wildfires - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Senators call for military equipment to fight wildfires

Posted: Updated:
Sen. John McCain Sen. John McCain
Sen. Jeff Flake Sen. Jeff Flake
  • KSLA News 12 HeadlinesMore>>

  • Vision for South Bossier City's future unveiled by planning firm

    Vision for South Bossier City's future unveiled by planning firm

    Friday, August 1 2014 12:05 AM EDT2014-08-01 04:05:06 GMT
    South Bossier Residents listen to presentation.South Bossier Residents listen to presentation.
    Leaders and planning consultants held their final public meeting Thursday about transforming a 10-street block area from the Shreveport-Barksdale bridge to just past the Century Link Center.More >>
    Leaders and planning consultants held their final public meeting Thursday about transforming a 10-street block area from the Shreveport-Barksdale bridge to just past the Century Link Center.More >>
  • Shreveport NICU sees more twins than ever

    Shreveport NICU sees more twins than ever

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:37 PM EDT2014-08-01 03:37:17 GMT
    The Pearce twins are one of nine sets of twins at University Health Shreveport right now.The Pearce twins are one of nine sets of twins at University Health Shreveport right now.
    These babies are one set of nine sets of twins being cared for at the Neo-natal intensive care unit at University Health in Shreveport right now.More >>
    These babies are one set of nine sets of twins being cared for at the Neo-natal intensive care unit at University Health in Shreveport right now.More >>
  • Grade changing allegations surface at BTW

    Grade changing allegations surface at BTW

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:14 PM EDT2014-08-01 03:14:05 GMT
    Caddo Parish Public Schools officials are investigating allegations that student grades were changed at Shreveport's Booker T. Washington New Tech High School.More >>
    Caddo Parish Public Schools officials are investigating allegations that student grades were changed at Shreveport's Booker T. Washington New Tech High School.More >>
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.

Powered by WorldNow