Senate GOP presses Landrieu on wildfire funding

A handful of Senate Republicans are pressing Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) to hold hearings on President Obama's 2015 budget request for agencies tasked with mitigating wildfires across the U.S.

Five Republicans on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee are urging Landrieu, who sits as chairwoman on the committee, to schedule hearings on the "catastprohic wild land fire in the West."

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In a letter to be sent to Landrieu later Wednesday, the Republicans state the committee has an "obligation to conduct oversight" of the agencies tasked with preventing and handling wildfires, such as the Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service.

"One of the greatest challenges facing our western forests is the growing severity of the fires season," the letter states. "Extreme fires behavior has become the new normal, due in no small part, to the mismanagement or lack of management of our public lands."

Unlike the administration, which has faulted climate change for the increasing number of wildfires, the senators placed blame on federal mismanagement, which they say has resulted in the loss of property, natural resources, wildlife habitats, and jobs.

It's the second request for a hearing from Sens. Dean Heller (Nev.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), James Risch (Idaho), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), and Mike Lee (Utah).