July 14, 2021

Key Senate Committee Advances Wyden Priorities With Energy Infrastructure Bill

Bill passed out of Energy and Natural Resources Committee includes Wyden’s power grid resiliency provisions, collaborative forestry fix, Western drought assistance and funding for rural communities

Washington, D.C. – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today voted to advance an energy infrastructure package that includes essential priorities from Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., including securing the power grid from extreme weather and natural disasters to prevent severe wildfires; funding western water and drought assistance; promoting collaborative forestry; and renewing funding for rural communities for essential resources like schools and emergency services. 

“As the West burns and the power grid falters in the face of the climate crisis and extreme weather, every Oregonian and Westerner understands what’s at stake,” Wyden said. “It’s significant progress that the Energy and Natural Resources committee today furthered these critical Western priorities – priorities which will help folks in communities across the nation. While I strongly believe that there is more funding needed for hazardous fuels reduction, this bill makes a much-needed reinvestment in public lands. And I’m going to keep pushing for more.

The energy infrastructure package passed out of committee today includes key provisions from Wyden’s Disaster Safe Power Grid Act and Wyden's effort to provide funding to farmers, ranchers and communities to help them respond to drought. The bill also includes Wyden amendments to clarify that Collaborative Forestry Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) funding can be used for existing projects and three more years of funding for the Wyden-created Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program, which dedicates funding for rural communities facing budget shortfalls to address essential needs like schools and emergency services. The CFLRP amendment authored by Senator Wyden will ensure existing collaboratives, like the Lakeview Collaborative that’s now facing the fast-moving Bootleg Fire, can get access to $100 million of additional Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program funding.

Wyden also raised during the business meeting that more funding is necessary for hazardous fuels reductions to address the increasing threat of wild fires in the American West. Committee Republicans and the Chairman committed to finding a solution going forward to meet hazardous fuels reduction and wildfire mitigation funding needs. Video of Wyden’s remarks is here.