Oregon Congressional Delegation Presses Forest Service On Tanker Contracts

Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Second District Congressman Greg Walden are pressing the Forest Service to explain why it has not awarded any “call when needed” contracts to the providers of wildfire-fighting large air tankers.  The lawmakers sent a letter to Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen stating that the “call when needed” solicitation was originally issued in July 2018 and closed in April 2019.  In the letter the legislative trio says they are concerned that companies have responded to the solicitation in good faith, but have been left in limbo due to Forest Service inaction.  They also say failure to award the contracts hurts the Forest Service’s firefighting work by denying it access to several next-generation large air tankers, and because several next-generation tankers are available at lower rates than current aircraft in use that could save taxpayer money.

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