House passes bark beetle bill |

House passes bark beetle bill

Nicole Formosa
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” State Rep. Dan Gibbs (D- Silverthorne) is one step closer to seeing his healthy forests bill signed into law.

House Bill 1130 passed the House Tuesday with broad bipartisan support with a vote of 64-1. Rep. Michael Garcia, D-Arapahoe County, cast the lone dissenting vote.

The measure will help protect Colorado forests from wildfires that have been plagued by a bark beetle outbreak, according to Gibbs.

“This bill is a great preventative move for the state because wildfires represent such a huge threat to our state’s residents, watersheds, wildlife, and our budget,” Gibbs said.

The bill proposes a grant pilot program to help Colorado communities mitigate the damage caused by the bark beetle epidemic wreaking havoc across the state. The bill encourages cooperation among local, state and federal entities, and the proposed projects would need to be located within an ar ea with an approved community wildfire protection plan, and focus on protecting water supplies.

Rep. Gibbs secured the $1 million needed to fund the program through the water conservation board.

The bill now goes to the Senate for further debate.

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