The US Senate appropriations bill for FY2022 to fund Interior, Environment and related agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, the US Department of Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency, includes $800,000 in funding to establish a Center for Wildfire Smoke Research and Practice at the University of Oregon. US Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) chairs the subcommittee with jurisdiction over these programs. The funding is included under the category of “national priorities.”
According to a press release from Senator Merkley’s office, the proposed allocation to the UO is one of many vital investments included in the bill that will make Oregon forests that are more resilient, support rural communities, protect public lands, bolster important programs for tribes, and more. The bill is the basis for negotiations with the US House of Representatives, as Congress works to fund the government for fiscal year 2022.
“The University of Oregon applauds Senator Merkley’s leadership in bringing national attention to Oregon’s need for resources to address smoke and wildfire,” said Cassandra Moseley, Interim Vice President for Research & Innovation. “We take pride whenever UO faculty and students are engaged directly in actionable research that accelerates community access to best practices. A Center for Wildfire Smoke Research and Practice will help address the urgent need for Oregon communities to be better prepared for wildfire smoke events and to protect the most vulnerable populations.”