Legislative Victory! FEPP and FFP Programs Fully Restored

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have reached an agreement that will allow for the full resumption of the Federal Excess Personal Property (FEPP) and Firefighter Property (FFP) programs. FEPP and FFP allow for the transfer of excess military vehicles and equipment to local fire departments. In June, the Department of Defense (DoD) suspended the programs over concerns that transferring equipment to state and local entities violated the waiver from federal emissions standards that DoD receives for military equipment.

According to DLA’s Office of Legislative Affairs: “DLA and EPA reached an agreement which allows DLA to resume all prior practices and procedures utilized for the disposal of excess military equipment that are covered by an NSE issued by EPA. This agreement re-institutes all processes and authorities; to include Transfers, Donations, and Public Sales previously available to program participants (LESO, FPP and FEPP).  Specifically, this resets the original accountability requirements and continues the transfer of title to program participants.”

The NVFC has confirmed with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), which administers FEPP and FFP, that the programs have been fully restored.

“FEPP and FPP are a lifeline that make it possible for the volunteer fire service to be this nation’s first line of defense against wildland fire,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “I’d like to thank the NVFC’s membership for contacting your elected representatives in Congress to let them know how important these programs are. I’d also like to thank the U.S. Senators and Representatives who weighed in with Defense Secretary Hagel to ask him to fully restore FEPP and FFP.” 

In July, the NVFC issued action alerts directing members to use our Engage advocacy tool to contact their members of Congress to ask them to sign onto a letter that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Representative Tim Griffin (R-AR) were circulating in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, respectively. As a result, nearly 3,000 direct communications were sent to Senate and House offices. 

How FEPP and FPP Work

The FEPP program refers to U.S. Forest Service-owned property that is on loan to State Foresters for the purpose of wildland and rural firefighting. Most of the property originally belonged to the Department of Defense (DoD). Once acquired by the Forest Service the equipment is loaned to State Cooperators for firefighting purposes. The property is then loaned to the State Forester, who may place it with local departments to improve local fire programs. State Foresters and the U.S. Forest Service have mutually participated in the FEPP program since 1956.

The FFP is a special DoD program where fire departments can take ownership of excess equipment after it has been in use for a specified period of time. FFP is managed by the Forest Service with cooperation of the State Forestry Agencies.

State and Local Impact

Between the two programs, state foresters and local fire departments obtained, on average, more than $150 million worth of equipment annually between 2008 and 2012. In many states, vehicles obtained through FEPP and/or FFP represent a significant percentage of the fire apparatus operating in rural areas, including:

  • The Kansas Forest Service has 442 vehicles operating in 81 Kansas counties.
  • The Montana Division of Forestry has been using federal excess property since 1967 and has approximately 360 currently operating that originated as federal excess property.
  • There are more than 550 pieces of FEPP and FFP equipment in use by approximately 245 rural fire districts across Nebraska.
  • Approximately 40 percent of the wildland firefighting equipment in Wyoming is FEPP. Wyoming currently has 382 pieces of FEPP equipment in the state.
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