Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after sending letters to Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. In the letters, LaMalfa asks the agencies to assist in combating illegal marijuana growers on federal lands.

LaMalfa said: “Illegal marijuana grows have an extremely detrimental impact on our public lands, causing severe damage to our environment and creating an unsafe atmosphere for the public who wish to enjoy the land. Drug cartels have created large-scale operations on federal lands which illegally divert stream water, dump tons of illegal toxicants and pollutants, and harm the local wildlife. These sites are often protected by heavily armed cartel members which pose a serious safety risk to those who utilize our public lands for hunting, fishing, and recreational activities – as well as the Forest Service and BLM staff who patrol the forests. It is imperative that the federal government address this problem in order to make our forests safe again for the public to enjoy.”

The letters sent to Secretary Perdue and Secretary Zinke note the following:

* Miles of illegal irrigation lines divert water from nearby streams and threaten water supply as well as endanger nearby species.

* Hundreds of pounds of illegal pesticides and toxicants cause widespread pollution and destruction of forests – also affecting wildlife and game.

* Armed drug cartel members pose a serious danger to families, hunters, fishermen, recreation enthusiasts, as well as Forest Service and BLM employees who patrol the land.

* In California alone, more than 1,600 illegal weapons were seized annually from 2013-2015 at illegal marijuana grow sites.