Obama cuts aid to local fire depts, citing environmental concerns

Obama cuts aid to local fire depts, citing environmental concerns

We’re speaking of the Defense Department’s recent and gratuitous fit of environmental consciousness, which has disrupted disaster efforts in peak wildfire season. …

At issue are two programs—the Federal Excess Personal Property Program and the Firefighter Property Program—that every year loan local firefighting units more than $150 million of equipment that the federal government no longer needs. The programs supply tens of thousands of items—trucks, pumps, generators, engine parts—and have become a lifeline for smaller, all-volunteer fire departments that can’t afford $500,000 for a new tanker. This is more than charity given that the vast majority of the wildfires these local units battle occur on land owned by the federal government.

But in mid-June DOD suspended the transfer of trucks and generators, many of which were made for military use with diesel engines that don’t meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest emissions standards. …

An enormous state outcry caused EPA and DOD to announce last week that they are restarting the programs. …

Yet proving that no government mistake goes without punishing others, the agencies have nonetheless suggested that this program restart may now come with new requirements—including that local firefighters track and ultimately return every piece of equipment so the feds can destroy them.

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