Elko, Nev. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) toured Lamoille Canyon, where she inspected the damage caused by the recent Lamoille Canyon wildfire. In addition, she hosted a roundtable with stakeholders from around the Ruby Mountain area to discuss the importance of proper land management, conservation and wildfire prevention in the Ruby Mountains and across the state.
“The livelihoods of Nevadans in Elko, and around the state, are tied to the continued maintenance and care of our public lands. Our rural communities and economies are hit especially hard when our lands are polluted or natural disasters occur. I’ve fought hard in Congress to ensure that our rural communities are supported by the federal government in times of need by demanding that Congress protects our environmentally fragile public lands and by fighting to ensure Nevada receives the funding, grant awards and federal recovery program assistance it needs to recover from devastating wildfires. I will continue to fight to ensure that our rural communities have the tools they need to protect their lands, livelihoods and businesses.”
In September, FEMA rejected the State of Nevada’s application for federal emergency funding for areas affected by the South Sugarloaf fire. Senator Cortez Masto sent a letter to FEMA Region IX Administrator Robert J. Fenton, Jr., urging FEMA to reevaluate the state’s application and to provide an evaluation of how FEMA can better assist rural communities dealing with large scale emergencies. She also sent a letter earlier this year urging the U.S. Forest Service to reject a proposal seeking opportunities for oil and gas leases on more than 50,000 acres in the Ruby Mountain Range.
Senator Cortez Masto fought to include language addressing wildfire funding shortfalls in the omnibus spending bill passed in March. The legislation ended a process known as ‘fire borrowing’ that forced the U.S. Forest Service to reallocate funds from critical programs to cover the cost of fighting fires. As a result, it created a $2 billion contingency account for the Forest Service and freed up over $100 million for fire prevention projects.