WPR News
8:55 pm
Tue June 16, 2009

Congress wants to help western states

Washington D-C – Congress is trying to help Western states fight the mountain pine beetle infestation. Wyoming utilities want more help to clear their power lines.
Warmer temperatures and a drier climate made this year's beetle attack the worst in one hundred years. The infestation spread from Colorado to southern Wyoming. Utilities say the beetles are killing so many trees that they need to expand their right of ways from 30 feet to 150 feet. Charles Larson of Carbon Power and Light says federal rules are making it tough for him to get rid of the diseased trees.
Larsen: "The clock is ticking for us. I still have the liability issue as a cooperative, many cooperatives in the state, in the states represented here today, have that hanging over their heads right now and we need your help.
Western lawmakers at the hearing asked for more money to fight wildfires caused by the dead trees. The Senate will vote soon on the measure.