Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Griffin Introduces Bill to Block EPA Overreach, Continue Providing Needed Equipment to Firefighters

 Griffin Introduces Bill to Block EPA Overreach,
Continue Providing Needed Equipment to Firefighters
Says, bill ‘permanently reverses this bureaucratic, nonsensical rule…and
ensures that these programs continue to support firefighters’

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after introducing the Firefighter Equipment Protection Act of 2014 to address recent decisions made by the Department of Defense (DoD) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that impact local firefighting agencies:

“The ridiculous decision by DoD and EPA recently prohibited firefighters from receiving the surplus federal equipment that local firefighting agencies in Arkansas and across America depend on to fight wildfires and keep our communities safe. This rule, in essence, favored the CO2 emissions from raging wildfires over the comparably minimal emissions from the vehicles needed to put them out. My bill permanently reverses this bureaucratic, nonsensical rule, protects the programs that supply this needed equipment from any future overreaching EPA decision and ensures that these programs continue to support firefighters who protect our nation’s communities.”

Since June 19, 2014, the Firefighter Property Program (FFP) and the Federal Excess Property Program (FEPP), which provide local firefighting agencies with more than $150 million in surplus military equipment annually, have been subjected to a number of questionable and disruptive directives by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and EPA. These actions temporarily blocked the transfer of this critically important equipment and created considerable uncertainty about the future of these programs until a DLA/EPA administrative agreement was released on August 13 that fully restored the programs to their previous operating statuses. Rep. Griffin led the effort in the House, along with Senator John McCain in the Senate, to have this questionable course of action reversed and welcomes the news that all remaining issues, including those regarding title status and the resale of this equipment by local officials, appear to have been solved for the time being.

To prevent this problem from occurring in the future, the Firefighter Equipment Protection Act [PDF] would codify the DLA/EPA administrative agreement into law, prohibiting the DLA from basing any decisions about firefighting equipment donations on EPA emissions standards.

Six original cosponsors joined Rep. Griffin in introducing the bill: Reps. Richard Hanna (NY-22), Jim Bridenstine (OK-01), Mark Amodei (NV-02), Hal Rogers (KY-05), Tom Cotton (AR-04) and Dave Reichert (WA-08).

The Firefighter Equipment Protection Act is endorsed by: the Arkansas State Firefighters Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs and National Association of State Foresters.

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