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Issa Leads California GOP Delegation Calling on Biden Administration to Address Aviation Fuel Shortages During Wildfire Season

July 19, 2021

Members request immediate contingency plans to equip first responders, protect vulnerable communities

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-50) and the California GOP Congressional Delegation have called on the Biden Administration to immediately act to prevent expected disastrous aviation fuel shortages that could leave California and the Western United States without the critical use of full aerial capabilities to mitigate and overcome regional wildfires.

In a letter sent today, the unified delegation called for Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to address an alarming new report from the Associated Press entitled ‘Scary:’ Fuel Shortage Could Ground Firefighting Aircraft, and to provide detailed responses regarding preparations, logistics, pre-positioning of resources, and urgent contingency planning needed to allow for robust aerial firefighting capabilities this fire season.

“We know the devastating loss of life, land and property that wildfires can inflict in the West almost without warning. That’s why it is inexplicable that because of administrative failures, our firefighters could face the peak of fire season without the aviation fuel supplies to support first responders and line personnel on the ground. The Biden Administration must act now, not wait until our communities are burning.  We are calling for leadership and cooperation to prevent the kind of disaster we have seen before” Issa said.

The July 12 AP report cited a National Interagency Fire Center official who said fuel shortages were a challenge “they have not run into before,” and that it is “a scary thought with all the shortages going on right now.” Also outlined was a potential ripple effect if multiple bases go dry simultaneously during a very busy wildfire season.

The delegation noted that concerns are especially relevant because the Biden Administration has pledged to dramatically reduce the production and use of fossil fuels: “For the foreseeable future, heavy equipment, personnel transport, aircraft, pumps, generators, saws and other tools that help firefighters do their jobs all require fossil fuels. If firefighters do not have the fuel to fight fires, the Administration is not doing its job to ensure that those on the front lines are properly equipped for their essential, life-saving work.”

Issa was joined by the entire California GOP delegation: Congressman McCarthy (CA-23), Congressman LaMalfa (CA-1), Congressman McClintock (CA-4), Congressman Obernolte (CA-8), Congressman Valadao (CA-21), Congressman Nunes (CA-22), Congressman Garcia (CA-25), Congresswoman Kim (CA-39), Congressman Calvert (CA-42), and Congresswoman Steel (CA-48). 

Click here to read a copy of the delegation letter.

Darrell Issa is the Representative of California’s 50th Congressional District. The District encompasses the central and northeastern parts of San Diego County and a portion of Riverside County, including the communities of Fallbrook, San Marcos, Valley Center, Ramona, Escondido, Santee, Lakeside, El Cajon, Temecula, and the mountain and desert areas of the San Diego-Imperial County line. Issa served as the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform from 2011-2015.

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