Rep. Schiff Joins in Introducing Calvert Bill to Transfer 14 C-27J Aircraft to U.S. Forest Service
Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) joined other colleagues led by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) in introducing the Wildfire Suppression Aircraft Act of 2012, which would transfer 14 C-27J Spartan Aircraft from the Department of Defense (DOD) to the U.S. Forest Service if DOD declares the aircraft to be excess to Defense operations. The bill, H.R. 6248, is a companion bill to S. 3441 introduced by Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL).
“The Forest Service should be examining any and all ways to improve their approach to fighting wildfires, including updating and replacing their aging fleet of airplanes,” said Schiff. “The proposal to transfer surplus military aircraft to the USFS deserves careful consideration by the agency. While we are still waiting for answers from the Station Fire, I will continue to look for proactive steps that the agency can take, like this legislation, to modernize both their equipment and general approach to fighting wildfires.”
The U.S. Air Force recently announced that it no longer needs its current fleet of 12 C-27J aircraft, or the additional 9 that are to be delivered over the coming months. If these aircraft are, in fact, declared to be unnecessary for Defense operations, they become available for other agencies’ use or will be sent to long-term storage in the “Bone Yard.” Currently, the House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310) requires the Air Force to keep these aircraft until 180 days after the Congressional Budget Office and DOD submit operational and utilization study results. If those results confirm that the Air Force and the Air National Guard no longer need the C-27Js, H.R. 6248 would transfer 14 of them to the U.S. Forest Service.
Joining Schiff in introducing the Calvert bill are Rep. Brian P. Bilbray (R-CA), Rep. Mary Bono-Mack (R-CA), Rep. John Campbell (R-CA), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Rep. Gary G. Miller (R-CA), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA).