Eshoo Votes for Bill to Fight Wildfires and Combat Drought

July 29, 2022
Press Release
Legislation includes Eshoo’s Bill to Address Public Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) voted for H.R. 5118, the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act, a package of nearly 50 bills to combat wildfires and drought. The bill takes a comprehensive approach to drought and wildfire prevention by investing in infrastructure to increase water supply and better equip federal agencies to respond to and prevent wildfires on public lands.

The first provision of the bill increases pay for federal wildland firefighters to approximately $20 per hour, legislation Rep. Eshoo co-sponsored. The bill also includes Rep. Eshoo’s legislation to help communities develop and implement plans to mitigate the adverse effects of wildfire smoke and funds research into how wildfire smoke impacts public health.

“Climate change has made severe drought and catastrophic wildfires an alarming part of everyday life in California. The legislation I voted for today provides tools and resources to help our communities better manage these environmental disasters, including investments in drought-resistant water systems, wildfire prevention, and a pay increase for the heroes who put their lives on the line to protect us,” said Rep. Eshoo. “The legislation also includes my bill to address the health consequences of poor air quality resulting from wildfires. It directs the EPA to study the public health impacts of wildfire smoke and provide resources to local governments to mitigate these risks.”

Background

The Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act includes the following policies to address wildfires and drought:

  • boosts pay for federal wildland firefighters to approximately $20 per hour;
     
  • promotes forest management projects to reduce hazards that fuel wildfires, such as dead trees;
     
  • invests in drought-resistant water supply projects to better store water in wet years for future droughts; and
     
  • funds water recycling and efficiency projects.

This legislation builds on the critical investments included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which passed Congress and was signed into law in November 2021. This bipartisan infrastructure law provides $8.3 billion for water storage, recycling, and desalination in western states to increase our water supply and prepare for future dry years. The law also includes resources to protect homes against wildfires and prevent fires before they start by burying powerlines and better managing forests.

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