Putnam Fuming Over EPA Firefighter Equipment Grab
By William Patrick, FloridaWatchdog.org // August 4, 2014
CRACK-DOWN ON DIESEL ENGINES HALTS PROGRAM
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Adam Putnam is red hot over the Obama administration’s environmental priorities.
But due to a crackdown on diesel-fueled engines, firefighters could soon be without equipment on which they’ve come to rely. That’s an irony, considering the administration itself has been supplying agencies like the Florida Forest Service with diesel-powered trucks, backhoes, bulldozers and generators through two federal programs.
The Federal Excess Personal Property Program and the Firefighter Property Program both dole out discharged military surplus equipment to help first responders fight fires and expand emergency services. State forestry agencies can further distribute the equipment to local fire departments.
Earlier this month the programs were abruptly shut down.
“The simple answer from the administration is that the surplus equipment did not meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s air emissions standards. Putnam said”. “So in a misguided attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the administration is instead allowing more pollutants to be released into the air while destroying countless acres of environmentally sensitive land and hundreds of homes and, more importantly, putting the lives of American firefighters at greater risk.”
In Florida, at least 500 trucks and 100 trailers are in use to battle some of the state’s 3,000 annual wildfires that scorch an estimated 130,000 acres every year, according to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“So far this season, the Florida Forest Service has deployed 52 wildland firefighters to Western wildfires, including Oregon’s 30,000-acre Pine Creek wildfire and Washington’s 250,000-acre Carlton Complex of wildfires…Firefighters risk their lives to protect other Americans, some even on a volunteer basis. The least the Obama Administration can do is provide surplus federal equipment to support their efforts and protect their lives without all the red tape and hassle.”
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