Devastating wildfires in the North State set the backdrop for last night’s 1st Congressional District forum. It was the one and only scheduled square-off between Republican Doug LaMalfa and Democratic challenger Audrey Denney. LaMalfa says he supports increasing the pace and scale of forest management efforts, but that environmental regulations are a barrier.
“So, what do we have to do? We have to acknowledge the conditions we have," he said. "We have overcrowded forests — overcrowded with trees, brush. This material needs to be removed and done something positive with. Whether it can be turned into a byproduct, or, my big thing, is we need to move much more strongly forward with biomass being used to produce electricity. It’s not going to be cheap, but then neither is solar and wind.”
Denney agreed with the need for more forest management but argued that climate change also plays a role. She says projects require more collaboration between tribal, state and federal agencies to get off the ground.
“We need forward-thinking, solutions-oriented leaders who will work across the aisle to get things done. We could start right by implementing the Great American Outdoors Act, that the president signed into law in August this year that has funding for a lot of these projects. But our congressman voted no on that," she said.
The candidate forum was hosted by the League of Women Voters of Western Nevada County.