A bill that would protect the ability of landowners to use prescribed fire in the Flint Hills has been introduced by U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK). The Flint Hills Preservation Act would exempt air quality monitoring data exceeding the regulatory threshold if the exceedances were attributed to smoke from prescribed fires in the region.

“Rather than have to worry about a schedule dictated by the EPA, this legislation will allow landowners to manage prescribed burning around the forces of weather and other factors impacting safe conditions, while at the same time preserve a unique ecosystem,” said Moran.

KLA President Ken Grecian thanked Moran for introducing the bill that corrects a flaw in the Clean Air Act. Grecian said smoke resulting from the ecologically sound practice of burning the prairie should not cause regulatory compliance problems for larger population centers.

In recent years, a condensed time frame for Flint Hills burning caused heightened ozone readings in Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency required the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and stakeholders, including KLA, to create a mostly voluntary smoke management plan. This was the first year for the plan.

For more information visit www.kla.org.