The Colorado State Senate passed an amendment to the budget today that allocated $21 million of funding towards allowing the State of Colorado to increase its aerial firefighting capabilities.
Senator Steve King (R-Grand Junction) has been a champion for increasing Colorado’s aerial firefighting capabilities for years in the Senate and today he issued the following statement after a major triumph in his battle to protect Coloradans from the devastating impacts of wildfires:
“Today’s vote in the Senate represents a major victory in the battle to increase Colorado’s aerial firefighting capabilities. I’m thankful to my Republican and Democratic colleagues for standing in solidarity with me on this issue. After fighting for two years to make a Colorado Firefighting Air Corps a reality, every Coloradan should be confident that we are one step closer to protecting our homes, our forests, and our water supply from the devastating impacts of wildfires.”
$16.5 million of the funding for this amendment comes from the Colorado Benefits Management System and $4.5 million comes from the General Fund. Earlier in the year, $40 million in CBMS upgrades were approved by the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) even though JBC staff only recommended a $4 million increase.
Senator King and Senate President Morgan Carroll are co-sponsoring legislation this year to increase Colorado’s aerial firefighting capabilities. The legislation, SB-164, will be heard in the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee at 1:30 PM on Thursday, April 10, 2014.