After starting New Mexico fire, U.S. asks victims to pay | Reuters
Category: News & PoliticsVia: gregtx • 2 weeks ago • 1 comments
The U.S. government is asking victims to share recovery costs on private land.
TIERRA MONTE, N.M., July 31 (Reuters) - After the U.S. government started the largest wildfire in New Mexico's recorded history in April, it is asking victims to share recovery costs on private land, jeopardizing relief efforts, according to residents and state officials.
The blaze was sparked by U.S. Forest Service (USFS) prescribed fires to reduce wildfire risk. The burns went out of control after a series of missteps, torching 432 residences and over 530 square miles (1373 square km) of mostly privately owned forests and meadows, much of it held by members of centuries-old Indo-Hispano ranching communities.
"Today I'm announcing the federal government's covering 100% of the cost," President Joe Biden said during a visit to New Mexico in June. Biden was announcing a disaster declaration that covered debris removal and emergency protective measures.
But federal cost-sharing statutes on other federal relief programs are limiting Biden's authority and exposing holes in the government safety net meant to help survivors and restore landscapes.
It is a system more Americans will turn to as extreme fires and flooding become the climate change norm.
"I DIDN'T CAUSE THIS DAMN FIRE"
Biden's measure was meant to bridge FEMA relief and a congressional bill that may pass in the fall to provide 100% federal compensation for losses from the so-called Hermit's Peak Calf Canyon …