SNOWMASS VILLAGE - With wildfire season already in full swing across Colorado, the Forest Energy Jobs Act - introduced to the state Legislature on Friday by Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass - couldn't be more timely.
"We are all well aware of the fire risks," Schwartz said. "And while this has long been a concern for the Roaring Fork Valley, which has shown a lot of good thinking around the issue, we need to take a statewide approach."
According to Schwartz, Senate Bill 180 will create new jobs and promote Colorado's forest health by encouraging and incentivizing the timber industry to remove diseased wood material.
More than 98 percent of Colorado has been designated in drought condition, and more than 65 percent of essential Front Range drinking water is at risk of fire damage, according to Schwartz. Thus, the Colorado Forest Energy Jobs Act will focus on prioritizing forest management in high-risk areas, creating renewable-energy enterprise areas and organizing a work group to study renewable thermal energies and the possibilities for further development of these resources.