January 16, 2019

Wyden Urges Probe of Big Canadian Subsidies to Aerial Firefighting Companies

Senator says unfair Canadian air tanker subsidies could hurt wildfire readiness and domestic air tanker companies in Oregon and the West

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden today asked the U.S. Forest Service to investigate reports that Canada is unfairly subsidizing its aerial firefighting industry, endangering wildfire readiness in Oregon and the West as well as putting U.S. competitors at an unjust disadvantage for wildfire work.

Wyden noted in his letter for U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen that these concerns raise urgent questions because responses are due this month to the Forest Service’s Request for Proposals for Large Air Tanker Services.

“While I am concerned about the readiness of the United States to fight the growing number and severity of forest fires, including with domestic resources, I am also concerned that unfair foreign subsidies put domestic producers at an economic disadvantage,” wrote Wyden, a strong advocate of ensuring Oregon has enough air tankers available for wildfires.

Citing a report that the Canadian government made a $3.4 million investment in a Canadian-owned aerial firefighting company, Wyden wrote Christiansen that such subsidies would create an uneven playing field, hurting the safety of federal lands and neighboring communities.

“I ask that your office evaluate these press reports and determine whether the reported subsidies are having a detrimental impact on U.S. service providers and the future readiness of the federal government and individual states to fight forest fires,” he wrote.

A copy of the letter is here.


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