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Speeches & Testimony


Speeches & Testimony

Remarks by Congressman Ed Case in support of the Accurately Counting Risk Elimination Solutions Act of 2023

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 1567, the Accurately Counting Risk Elimination Solutions (ACRES) Act of 2023.

Drought conditions and invasive grasses throughout the country in recent years have compounded the threat of wildfires, and the recent wildfires on Maui serve as a tragic reminder of how serious the risks are. These wildfires devastated a vibrant community and serve as a stark warning sign of the reality of such risks.

Federal lands are particularly vulnerable to wildfires, as they alone experience a fifth of the country’s wildfires every year. To combat this danger, the ACRES Act will help mitigate the risk of wildfires across the country by mandating that our Department of Agriculture and Department of the Interior conduct more accurate risk assessment tracking of dry invasive grasses on our federal lands. This will help prevent wildfires before they start. This legislation will also mandate that data collection processes involved in wildfire risk assessments be updated and standardized across both departments to ensure that their cooperation will be seamless and efficient.

Each department will also be required to submit a report of the number of acres of federal lands that underwent a risk assessment every year and provide critical information on wildland-urban interface and wildfire risk. The ACRES Act will add an extra layer of oversight and public transparency to ensure the accuracy of wildfire risk assessments, allowing for more effective wildfire prevention.

This legislation will be especially helpful in Hawaii, which has large public land holdings and currently suffers from a higher risk of wildfires due to vast swaths of land being overrun by dry invasive grasses, directly linking to fires across my state every year. This commonsense bill will enable us to reduce hazardous fuels and protect our communities from this threat.

I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help advance smart data collection and protect our public lands from wildfire by supporting this bill.