Wildfires, damages, and deaths are increasing because of unnatural accumulations of wood from outdated forest policies and intensifying heat from human-caused climate change. Preventing catastrophic wildfires requires improved, science-based policies that will shift the government from after-the-fact firefighting to proactive controlled burning. This would improve the lives of Americans and the health of our ecosystems by reducing deaths and damage due to wildfire, restoring damaged forests that naturally require fire, and decreasing the carbon emissions that cause climate change.
This memorandum outlines a policy approach to achieve these outcomes. Executive action will establish a national strategy for proactive fire management. Legislation will ensure revenue neutral implementation by reallocating funds currently used for firefighting to less expensive and more effective fire prevention. Finally, fire managers will increase prescribed burning and use of natural fires, relying on scientific analyses to target areas at greatest risk under climate change.
Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.
The Biden-Harris Administration should facilitate the transition to a clean grid by aggressively supporting utility-scale renewable energy resources in rural areas that are connected to urban centers through modernized high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission.
A just transition from coal to nuclear energy production requires developers to listen and respond to local communities’ concerns and needs through the process of planning, siting, licensing, design, construction, and eventual decommissioning.
Programs across the federal government are working to increase American health by making physical activity safer and more accessible, but most Americans still fail to get enough physical exercise, which has social and economic consequences.