STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
SENATE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
|10:44 AM to 11:28 AM
|This Meeting was called to order by
|This Report was prepared by
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
|Amended, Referred to Appropriations
10:45 AM -- House Bill 09-1199
Senator Gibbs, sponsor, described the provisions of House Bill 09-1199, "Colorado Healthy Forests and Vibrant Communities Act of 2009," that makes several changes regarding the care, protection, and use of Colorado's forests. The bill transfers from the Operational Account of the Severance Tax Trust Fund $1,950,000 to the Healthy Forests and Vibrant Communities Fund (for three years starting in FY 2009-10); and $50,000 to the Wildland-urban Interface Training Fund (ongoing). It also allows the Department of Public Health and Environment to assess fees to pay for a program to minimize hazards and air pollution from prescribed burns. He described the impact of insects on Colorado forests and related wildland fire threats. He also responded to questions from the committee about the impact of the bill on other Tier 2 programs that receive moneys from the Operational Account of the Severance Tax Trust Fund.
The following persons testified on the bill:
10:53 AM -- Paul Cooke, Colorado State Fire Chiefs' Association, spoke in support of the bill and Amendment L. 005 (Attachment A). This amendment allows moneys in excess of those needed for the training of directors of fire protection districts to be used for fire fighting training.
10:56 AM -- Richard Homann, Fire Director for Colorado State Forest Service, spoke in support of House Bill 09-1199 and described state programs to address the mountain pine beetle epidemic and other forest health needs in the state.
11:00 AM -- Heidi Van Huysen, Colorado Department of Natural Resources, spoke in support of House Bill 09-1199 and described state permit fees for controlled burns that would be used to fund, in part, the forest health program authorized by the bill. Committee discussion followed about transfers from the Operational Account of the Severance Tax Trust Fund made by the General Assembly in 2009 to address the state budget shortfall and the impact of these transfers on Tier 2 programs. Ms. Van Huysen also described other forest health legislation considered by the General Assembly in 2009 (Senate Bill 09-16, currently in House Appropriations Committee and Senate Bill 09-18 that was postponed indefinitely) and how these programs would be funded.
11:08 AM -- Eric Lovgren, Wildland Fire Mitigation Specialist for Eagle County and representing Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, spoke in support of House Bill 09-1199 and described wildfire mitigation projects in Eagle County.
11:12 AM -- Jeff Berino, Lake Dillon Fire Protection District, Summit County, spoke in support of House Bill 09-1199 and described the economic benefits of harvested wood related to wildland fire mitigation projects. He also described the risk of catastrophic fires and the need for funding for fire fighter training. Mr. Berino responded to questions from the committee about the need to coordinate controlled burns with public health agencies to minimize public health impacts.
Senator Gibbs moved House Bill 09-1199 to the Committee on Appropriations. He also described the provision of Amendment L.005 (Attachment A), Amendment L.007 (Attachment B), and Amendment L.006 (Attachment C).
| 11:23:55 AM
|Moved to refer House Bill 09-1199 to the Committee on the Appropriations, as amended. The motion passed on a vote of 7-0.
Final YES: 7 NO: 0 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
Senator Gibbs closed his remarks on Senate Bill 09-1999 and thanked persons and organizations who helped develop the bill.
The meeting adjourned.