Udall $50 million emergency fund bark beetle amendment fails

Sen. Mark Udall promised to keep battling for beetle kill funding Friday after his bid for $50 million in emergency funds for the Forest Service and National Park Service was rejected as an amendment to the emergency supplemental bill.

Udall was seeking $42 million for the Forest Service and $8 million for the Park Service in order to mitigate the destruction of the mountain pine park beetle, which has killed more than 2 million acres of lodgepole pine forest in Colorado and Wyoming. The money would have been on top of $40 million already approved.

“The tiny bark beetle has ravaged the Rocky Mountain West, especially Colorado,” Udall said in a release. “Our state was targeted to receive much of this funding because we have been hit the hardest in the West. Anyone driving west on I-70 understands the seriousness of this problem, and I’m disappointed this amendment failed to be included in this bill, especially now with fire season around the corner.

“Although this amendment failed today, I will not stop fighting for the funding Colorado deserves. The bark beetle epidemic is putting our mountain communities at risk, jeopardizing our water systems and threatening our way of life. Colorado needs this funding to stop the march of the bark beetle that is devastating our forests.”

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