Rep Brenda Barton Applauds Recent Reversal in USFS Hunter RV Enforcement

Representative Brenda Barton (R – Payson) said that she was, “greatly pleased ” at the sudden change of heart by the United States Forest Service (USFS). “This is a wonderful example of how federal agencies can work with local communities to resolve issues like these.  It’s the holiday season and the Forest Service has finally gotten into the spirit. ”

The USFS has recently reversed its seemly sudden policy of restricting hunters to a 72-hour rule.  Instead, they have made it clear that sportsmen may keep their trailers set up for the regular two-week period, and in many cases covering the term of their hunting permit.

Many local economies in Barton’s sprawling rural district rely on the revenues brought to their communities by sportsmen and hunters.  Barton concluded that “…this could have had negative economic impacts on several of the local communities in my district and I truly applaud the Forest Service decision to reverse their previous action.”

About Brenda Barton:

A 5th generation native of rural Arizona, Representative Barton retired from municipal service after over 21 years. First elected to office in 2010, she now chairs the important Agriculture and Water committee in the House. Brenda has made Arizona’s agriculture industry and securing our water supply a main focal point of her work in the Legislature.  A graduate of the Dodie London Excellence in Public Service Series program, and past state director of the Arizona Federation of Republican Woman, Brenda also serves on the North American Council of the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders Legislative Summit.

Arizona Congressional Republicans Call For Rapid Action To Assist Wallow Fire Recovery Efforts

Andrew Wilder (Kyl)
Brian Rogers (McCain)
Hannah Loy (Gosar)
Ben Carnes (Franks)
Richard Cullen (Quayle)
Rachel Semmel (Schweikert)
Genevieve Frye Rozansky (Flake)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Republican members of Arizona’s congressional delegation today sent a letter to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell urging him to request alternative arrangements for federal regulatory compliance in order to expedite clean up and recovery efforts in the aftermath of the Wallow Fire.

“Destruction from the Wallow Fire has exposed large areas in Eastern Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests to the risk of additional damage,” the members of the delegation said, explaining the reason for their letter. “Time is of the essence, especially with the arrival of the monsoon season, in acting to protect life and property, and to reduce the risks for further damage to the environment.”

“While the reviews prescribed in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) might be desirable in certain, less urgent circumstances, we believe the existing procedures are incompatible with the current exigencies faced in the aftermath of the Wallow Fire.”

Council on Environmental Quality regulations permit “alternative arrangements” for NEPA compliance in order to provide flexibility in emergency situations. The members of the delegation who sent the letter believe that the Wallow Fire situation conforms to the very circumstances contemplated for such alternate arrangements, and have urged Chief Tidwell to exercise this option.

The text of the letter to Chief Tidwell follows below and is also attached in PDF form:


July 20, 2011

The Honorable Tom Tidwell
Chief, U.S. Forest Service
Yates Building, 5th Floor
201 14th Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20250

Dear Chief Tidwell:

We write to urge you to request from the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) “alternative arrangements,” pursuant to Section 1506.11, for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (40 C.F.R §1500 et seq) to respond to the Wallow Fire.

As you are well aware, the Wallow Fire in Eastern Arizona has burned for more than 40 days, across more than 538,000 acres of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests and into neighboring New Mexico. The fire is now the largest in Arizona’s recorded history. The damage to the national forest is still being assessed, but it is known that that the fire has killed or severely damaged a large number of trees. The volume of dead and dying trees increases the fuel load for future high-intensity fires, and provides ideal conditions for insect and disease outbreaks. The exposed soil and the arrival of the monsoon rains present an immediate risk of flooding and debris flows that threaten lives, property, water quality, and valuable natural resources throughout the burned area. The State of Arizona has declared a state of emergency and county and local officials have declared the situation a disaster.

Given the post-fire conditions in the Wallow Fire area, swift action is needed by the Forest Service to protect human life and property and mitigate further damage to timber resources and the environment. There is not sufficient time to follow all of the procedures for environmental review under the NEPA of all the actions that will be needed to respond. The alternative arrangements regulation was put in place for circumstances such as this one. As you know, alternative arrangements do not waive the requirements to comply with the NEPA, but instead establish alternative arrangements for compliance in emergencies.

Having seen the devastation for yourself, we are hopeful you will agree that the circumstances of the Wallow Fire warrant the application of alternative arrangements. The communities affected by the Wallow Fire cannot afford needless delays.


United States Senator

United States Senator

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Member of Congress

Member of Congress