Amendment Text: H.Amdt.826 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)

There is one version of the amendment.

Shown Here:
Amendment as Offered (05/17/2006)

This Amendment appears on page H2677 in the following article from the Congressional Record.



[Pages H2659-H2680]
               FOREST EMERGENCY RECOVERY AND RESEARCH ACT

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 816 and rule 
XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House 
on the State of the Union for the consideration of the bill, H.R. 4200.

                              {time}  1145


                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the 
Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the bill 
(H.R. 4200) to improve the ability of the Secretary of Agriculture and 
the Secretary of the Interior to promptly implement recovery treatments 
in response to catastrophic events affecting Federal lands under their 
jurisdiction, including the removal of dead and damaged trees and the 
implementation of reforestation treatments, to support the recovery of 
non-Federal lands damaged by catastrophic events, to revitalize Forest 
Service experimental forests, and for other purposes, with Mr. Foley in 
the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered read the 
first time.
  General debate shall not exceed 1 hour, with 20 minutes equally 
divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of 
the Committee on Resources, 20 minutes equally divided and controlled 
by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on 
Agriculture, and 20 minutes equally divided and controlled by the 
chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on Transportation 
and Infrastructure.
  The gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Walden), the gentleman from New Mexico 
(Mr. Udall), the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Goodlatte), the gentleman 
from Minnesota (Mr. Peterson), the gentleman from Alaska (Mr. Young) 
and the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Baird) each will control 10 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Oregon.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  I am delighted today to bring H.R. 4200 to the House for its 
consideration. I have spoken on it during the debate on the rule. This 
legislation is extraordinarily important for America to become a better 
steward of her forests.
  Our Committee on the Forest and Forest Health has traveled the 
Nation's forests. We have listened to the experts from the scientific 
community. We have listened to the experts in the fire-fighting 
community. We have held field hearings where we have heard from tribal 
leaders who manage forestlands and move quickly after catastrophic 
events. We have met with State foresters who, in many cases, are in 
after a major forest fire or blowdown in a matter of days, if not 
weeks, doing what we propose to allow your Federal Land Management 
Agencies to do. You see, every other manager of Federal forest does 
what we are trying to put in place here.
  We do require that environmental laws be followed. We do provide for 
administrative appeal and litigation. What we require is that the 
underlying forest plans be followed. And if those forest plans say you 
can't harvest here and you have to do this sort of retention there for 
snags and habitat, then you have to do that. We don't change any of 
that. We require a site-specific evaluation, so it isn't a one-size-
fits-all plan. We don't do that from here. We just say, whatever your 
plan called for, whatever the scientists on the ground say needs to be 
done, let us give our Federal land managers the authority to move 
quicker than they can move today if an emergency exists.
  It is precisely what we expect out of our Federal Emergency 
Management Agency and, yes, demand: quick action after a hurricane in 
southern States, let us say, to clean up, to restore, to prevent 
erosion, to fix roads, to do the things that Americans expect and 
actually think are being done.
  We want to protect our watersheds, and this legislation will help us 
do that.
  The timber that comes out, if that is what the decision is, will have 
value. Today, when it takes 2 to 3 years to harvest a burned, dead tree 
that bugs have been in, that rot has occurred and nobody bids on it, it 
has no value, or very little by then. What the Congressional Budget 
Office found, unlike what my colleague from New Mexico said is, what 
they found is by passing this legislation, we would actually act 
quicker and the trees wouldn't have deteriorated, and the receipts to 
the Federal Government would be up 40 percent, not that we would 
harvest that many more trees necessarily. But you do it while they 
still have value. And that makes sense to the taxpayers and the 
forests.
  Mr. Chairman, at this time I yield 3\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman 
from Minnesota, the chairman of the Forest Committee and the 
Agriculture Committee, Mr. Gutknecht.
  Mr. GUTKNECHT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 4200, the 
Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act. We have heard so far this 
morning some people say that this bill is about somehow suspending the 
laws of science. But I would argue this bill is really about restoring 
some common sense, and we have heard some excellent testimony by 
Members of both sides of the aisle.
  In Minnesota we have the Superior National Forest. It covers about 3 
million acres in northeastern Minnesota. It is not in my district, but 
I have had the opportunity, as chairman of the Forestry Subcommittee of 
the Agriculture Committee, to go up there on several occasions. Now, 
the forest itself is beautiful. It is perhaps one of the most beautiful 
national forests in the entire galaxy. But you don't have to visit 
there very long to understand the sense of frustration among the locals 
in the way that we manage that forest.
  In a State that is dominated by public timberland, the national 
forests in Minnesota have a reputation of being

[[Page H2660]]

too bureaucratic, slow moving, and unresponsive. When there is a 
catastrophic event, county and State foresters, and certainly private 
land owners, are far quicker to move to salvage and reforest than the 
National Forest Service is. H.R. 4200 is a step in the right direction. 
It would require the National Forest Service to rapidly evaluate the 
need for recovery projects and then allow the salvage to go forward if 
necessary.
  Many of my colleagues today will give examples of catastrophic events 
in their districts or States, how the National Forest Service responds 
to them, and, therefore, why this legislation is needed.
  For me, the example of a windstorm that swept northern Minnesota in 
July of 1999 is a great example. It damaged nearly 500,000 acres, over 
600 square miles, in the Superior National Forest alone. This was one 
of the largest blowdowns ever recorded in North America. To date, only 
50,000 trees have been cleaned up.
  The Forest Service's attempts to deal with this blowdown illustrate 
the need for H.R. 4200.
  The only legal or administrative tool at the agency's disposal to 
deal with an unprecedented event like this was alternative arrangements 
to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, and those 
required approval of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. 
While the CEQ granted those agreements to the Forest Service, actual 
debris removal didn't occur until long after the windstorm hit. By this 
time the downed trees had deteriorated significantly, losing much of 
their value.
  Unless we act today, the national forest will continue to face events 
like this blowdown without the authority to quickly analyze, propose 
and move forward with forest recovery projects. To me, it is clear the 
agency needs this new authority to act quickly to capture the value of 
damaged timber and restore our forest to a healthy and growing 
condition.
  The goal of H.R. 4200 is to provide consistent and uniform procedures 
for the Forest Service to follow after catastrophic events. The bill 
does not open wilderness areas or other withdrawn from harvest to new 
timber cutting. It merely requires that the agency has to quickly 
evaluate whether expedited salvage is necessary, and then it allows it 
to cut through the red tape to make sure that the project gets done. 
The people of Minnesota care deeply about our national forests and so 
do the professionals who manage those forests. H.R. 4200 simply gives 
them the tools to demonstrate their commitment whenever Mother Nature 
throws our forest a curve ball.
  I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan and important 
legislation.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself as much time as 
I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I oppose H.R. 4200. This unnecessary legislation waives 
critical conservation laws, compromises the public's proven commitment 
to protecting roadless areas, and ignores the body of peer-reviewed 
science on the harmful impacts of salvage logging.
  H.R. 4200 represents yet another attempt by the majority in this 
Congress to dismantle our Nation's most paramount conservation laws. As 
its core, H.R. 4200 allows for environmental exemptions to expedite the 
removal of timber after a catastrophic event on Federal lands. These 
unnecessary environmental exemptions, however, come at the expense of 
critical laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act, the 
Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Historic 
Preservation Act. Should Congress approve H.R. 4200, the result would 
be weakening of existing laws meant to protect public participation and 
provide for environmental protections.
  Proponents of H.R. 4200 argue this legislation complies with 
conservation laws. This is simply not true. To be clear, H.R. 4200 
waives the requirements of four very critical conservation laws.
  Mr. Chairman, in our discussion of H.R. 4200 on the Forests and 
Forest Health Subcommittee, it has become apparent to me that the 
authorities granted under H.R. 4200 for timber salvage are unnecessary. 
The argument that there is an abundance of timber salvage going to 
waste on our public lands because of the length of the NEPA process is 
false. In reality, the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management 
have an abundance of existing authorities that allow for timber salvage 
to be completed on our public lands with the appropriate checks and 
balances.
  Salvage logging already accounts for 35 percent of timber harvested 
on our national forests. Also, one of the largest salvage logging 
projects in the history of the U.S. Forest Service, on the Forest 
Service lands impacted by Hurricane Katrina, is being completed quickly 
under the authorities from the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003.
  Furthermore, H.R. 4200 is not scientifically sound. The underlying 
premise of H.R. 4200 that post-disturbance salvage logging must be 
completed to recover a forest and improve forest health is not 
supported by the abundance of peer-reviewed science on this issue to 
date. A study published by Donato and others in a January 2006 edition 
of the well-respected journal Science, found that post-fire logging in 
the wake of the 2002 Biscuit fire, reduced forest regeneration by 71 
percent and increased short-term fire risk. This study adds to a 
substantial list of peer-reviewed science that concludes that salvage 
logging is contrary to the goal of improving forest health. 169 
scientists from around the country submitted a letter to Congress 
opposing H.R. 4200 as salvage logging has been found to impede forest 
regeneration, damage riparian corridors, introduce or spread invasive 
species, cause erosion and degrade water quality.
  Mr. Chairman, H.R. 4200 is unnecessary legislation with significant 
negative consequences. I urge my colleagues to join me in voting ``no'' 
on H.R. 4200.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BAIRD. Mr Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Colorado (Mr. Salazar).
  Mr. SALAZAR. Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank the gentleman from 
Washington and the gentleman from Oregon for bringing forth this 
important legislation.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the Forest Emergency 
Recovery and Research Act. Our Nation's forests are providing so many 
benefits to the public and we have that responsibility to pass this 
measure which will give forest managers the tools to maintain healthy 
forest. It will allow them to rehabilitate and reforest areas that have 
been hit by catastrophic events like ice storms, wildfires and disease.
  Out West we are battling a huge insect epidemic that is destroying 
our forests, especially in Colorado. In 2005, over 425,000 acres in 
Colorado forests were infested with mountain pine beetle. And this 
means that we have 425,000 acres of prime real estate for forest fires.
  Reducing wildfire hazard is critical if we are to maintain forests as 
a resource for communities. Forest management, including tree cutting 
and prescribed fire, can help return Colorado's forests to good health.
  The previously passed healthy forest legislation provided forest 
managers with some of the tools needed. What this bill does, it adds to 
the tool box and strengthens their ability to restore forests across 
the country.

                              {time}  1200

  This legislation is vital to the West, and I urge my colleagues to 
support the passage of this bill.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Madam Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Hayworth).
  (Mr. HAYWORTH asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. HAYWORTH. Madam Chairman, I thank my colleague from Oregon for 
this time.
  I rise in strong support of the Forest Emergency Recovery and 
Research Act and would like to highlight a few of the more than 100 
diverse groups that share in my support of this legislation. While 
these groups range in background and represent interests from across 
the country, they all strongly support the timely restoration of our 
precious public lands.
  A number of professional firefighting groups support this act, 
including the International Association of Fire Chiefs. In addition, 
the National Association of State Foresters, National

[[Page H2661]]

Association of Federal Employees, National Wildlife Suppression 
Association, and Pacific Wildfire International, which collectively 
represent 25,000 firefighters, all support H.R. 4200.
  In fact, the State Foresters say, ``As a leader in wildland 
firefighting, the National Association of State Foresters supports H.R. 
4200 as a tool for restoring forests and reducing long-term fire 
danger, thereby reducing risk to communities and wildland firefighters 
alike.''
  Twenty-three wildlife and outdoor sports groups, including the 
International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Rocky 
Mountain Elk Foundation, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation 
Partnership, Wildlife Management Institute, all support this 
legislation as well. The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation comments, 
``This legislation's commitment to timely responses to catastrophic 
events by allowing for rapid restoration of ecosystems, utilization of 
damaged trees before they lose economic value, protection of adjacent 
lands from subsequent wildfires, and the opportunity for public 
participation and recovery planning is consistent with our members' 
expectations and is simply common sense.''
  The Society of American Foresters, or SAF, which represents more than 
15,000 scientists, professional forest managers, researchers, and 
consultants from across the country likewise supports this legislation. 
According to the SAF, ``Catastrophic events will forever alter our 
forests, but we can bring them back quickly with timely and thoughtful 
science and experience-informed management . . . this act would also 
provide for additional research to help improve actions forest managers 
take in responding to catastrophes . . . We urge you to support the 
Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act.''
  Moreover, a wide variety of associations, such as the Southern Forest 
Products Association, the American Forest & Paper Association, and the 
National Association of Home Builders, all support this bill. And a 
host of our State and local government partners have written letters of 
support for this legislation, including the National Association of 
Counties and the National Association of Conservation Districts.
  The comments of support this bill has received consistently express 
one key theme: When catastrophe strikes, the Federal Government must 
have scientifically proven, commonsense policies in place that allow us 
to act quickly to restore and reforest public land. This legislation 
allows us to do this.
  I urge my colleagues to join us in support of this bipartisan 
legislation.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Madam Chairman, I yield 3\1/2\ minutes to 
the chairman of the House Science Committee, Representative Boehlert.
  (Mr. BOEHLERT asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. BOEHLERT. Madam Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to this 
bill.
  I know the sponsors of this bill mean well, and I know they think 
they have written a narrowly tailored, environmentally protective bill. 
But, unfortunately, they have not. I am not questioning the sponsors' 
intent, but I do have serious problems with the product of their 
actions.
  Let me start by emphasizing that I am open to efforts to expedite 
environmental procedures for true emergencies or in other clear cases 
where current laws are needlessly burdensome. I helped negotiate the 
Healthy Forests Restoration Act, and I supported its passage. That act 
and the preexisting laws which were improved to be both responsive and 
responsible has enabled us to respond in a meaningful and timely way to 
Katrina. But the bill before us today is far broader than that act and 
all other current law and contains few, if any, of their environmental 
protections.
  Here are some things that could happen that you should know about 
H.R. 4200: First of all, it can be applied to a wide variety of 
situations far beyond the normal definition of an emergency that 
requires immediate action. Under the bill a catastrophic event includes 
slowly developing problems like drought and insect infestation, 
problems that can be addressed through processes that allow for true 
analysis and review. Not only that, the bill applies to situations in 
which damage may not occur for many years, again a situation that needs 
to be addressed, but not so quickly as to allow no time for true 
analysis.
  There are very few forests that are not experiencing a catastrophic 
event on almost a daily basis under the definition in this bill. If you 
want to write an emergency bill, then I think it ought to apply to 
emergencies.
  I would also point out that this bill applies to wilderness study 
areas, which are exempt under Healthy Forests.
  And what can happen when this bill is applied? Well, all normal 
environmental reviews are waived. Reviews are even waived for 
preapproved plans that are written long before an emergency. No 
environmental review. Then under the bill projects can proceed without 
the consultation required by the Endangered Species Act and the Clean 
Water Act. When would consultation occur? The bill does not set a time 
frame. It would just be sometime after the project started, probably 
after any unnecessary damage has been done.
  In short, this bill does not expedite procedures. It eviscerates the 
application of environmental law for the projects under the bill. No 
environmental analysis of alternatives. No timely analysis of the 
effect on clean water.
  We cannot just put a nice-sounding label on a bill and expect us to 
support a cosmetic labeling plan on its surface without looking at the 
rest of the story. I wish this bill were as advertised. A targeted bill 
to handle legitimate emergencies would pass muster with me. But this is 
a bill that would allow unanalyzed salvage timber sales; new road 
building, including in roadless areas; and projects that threaten water 
supplies without any true legally reviewable analysis of alternatives 
and without ample opportunity for public review and comment.
  I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill.
  Mr. BAIRD. Madam Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I just invite my dear friend from New Mexico, who spoke earlier, if 
he might address a question for me because I think, with respect, he is 
comparing apples and oranges.
  He suggested that a scientific study by Oregon State University 
showed that postfire logging decreases forest regeneration and 
increases fire risk. Is the gentleman from New Mexico aware that that 
study gathered data 2 years postfire, not from a harvest begun 90 days 
after the fire, as we would allow in this bill? Is the gentleman aware 
of that?
  Madam Chairman, I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from New Mexico 
to answer that question.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Madam Chairman, the gentleman from 
Washington should know and understand that the Science Journal that 
this was published in is peer reviewed. It is one of the most solid 
scientific publications, and it came out and said that regeneration was 
hurt 71 percent, that 71 percent was hurt in that regeneration process.
  Mr. BAIRD. Madam Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I asked a straightforward question about a study that was conducted 2 
years post. I got a dissertation about the journal in which the study 
was published.
  I happen to hold a doctorate in clinical psychology, used to teach 
research methods, and I will tell you that particular study, as many 
that we have heard today, does not apply to this. It is an apples and 
oranges comparison.
  One of the things that has been remarkable to me, as an 
environmentalist, as a scientist, and as someone who represents a 
forested district, is the willingness of the opponents of this 
legislation to simply distort the truth. Elsewhere I have introduced 
legislation called the ``72-Hour Rule'' to give us time to read bills 
before we vote on them. I am coming to believe today that that is 
unnecessary because I do not think people do read bills before they 
come down here to debate.
  Let me address some points that have been made. People have suggested 
that this dismantles laws. Not a single fundamental environmental law 
is dismantled by this legislation. That is a false claim.
  People have suggested that there are no protections for riparian 
areas. My

[[Page H2662]]

colleague from New Mexico suggested that. We are just going to have 
logging right up to the streamside, it seems. That is not correct. 
Existing forest management plans require streamside set-asides. I can 
take you to fires where the harvest has been conducted, and you have 
got 150-foot buffers as required under existing law, law that must be 
followed under this proposed legislation. So we have buffers for 
streams.
  People have suggested this bill allows for plantation-type 
reforestation. That, too, is false. This legislation specifically 
proscribes, prohibits, plantation-type reforestation and requires that 
you plant with diverse and dispersed natural species.
  People have suggested that you inevitably increase erosion when you 
harvest. Dr. Korb, from the University of Montana, a Ph.D. scientist, 
testified that by cross-falling trees, you can actually reduce erosion, 
and you know that is common sense. If you have got a hillside that is 
barren because of a fire, and you go in and you drop some of the trees 
laterally, you create little check dams, and in areas where that is 
done, siltation has actually been reduced and salmon habitat and other 
habitat preserved and clean water preserved.
  It is astonishing to me, astonishing, how my friends are able to cite 
studies that are apples and oranges comparisons and irrelevant to the 
legislation, how they are able to claim things about the legislation 
that are not, in fact, the case. If I believed half of what the 
opponents of this bill have claimed, I might oppose the bill myself. 
But I wrote the bill, along with Congressman Walden and others, so I do 
know what is in it. And as an environmentalist and as a scientist, it 
is good legislation.
  Madam Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Madam Chairman, I yield 30 seconds to the 
gentlewoman from Washington (Miss McMorris) to speak in favor of the 
Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act.
  Miss McMORRIS. Madam Chairman, I thank the chairman for yielding.
  I, too, just want to rise in support of this legislation and applaud 
the leadership of those who have been working on this legislation that 
is so important to move quickly to restore forests, key watersheds, 
wildlife habitat, and stabilize our soils.
  It is not acceptable that we continue to see thousands of acres burn 
because of forest fires, because of poor management on our forests, big 
kill, and we have these catastrophic situations take place when we are 
not able to take action.
  I wanted to specifically speak to the provisions related to the 
National Environmental Policy Act, NEPA. I have been working on 
chairing a task force, and although I applaud the authors of NEPA, who 
truly were visionary for their time, I do believe there is an 
opportunity for us to improve the implementation of NEPA 35 years 
later. It is unfortunate that so often this is the law used through 
paperwork or bureaucratic means to prevent us from really taking action 
that is needed on our forests.
  Northeastern Washington is known for its vast public forests that 
span over 2.6 million acres of land. These forests, and the resulting 
timber, play an extremely important role in our region's economy. 
Maintaining healthy forests is essential to those who make a living 
from the land and for those of us who use them for others purposes. 
Unfortunately, there are a number of critical issues that impact the 
health and the economic stability of the forests in our region.
  One of my top priorities in Congress is to grow our economy and in 
order to do this we must protect our natural resources. Currently, the 
Colville Forest is dying faster than it is being maintained, leaving a 
large number of dead or dying trees susceptible to disease, insect 
infestation, and future wildfires.
  I have also been interested in exploring issues affecting post-fire 
rehabilitation. Immediate restoration work on forests following 
catastrophic events is essential for reforestation and rehabilitation 
to be successful. As the chair of the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) task force, I have unfortunately discovered that legal and 
procedural delays have become the norm, leaving vast areas of national 
forest land barren of trees for decades. This has lead to devastating 
impacts on wildlife habitat, soil stability and water quality.
  In my district last year, just south of Pomeroy, Washington, the 
School Fire started on August 5th and over 13 days burned nearly 50,000 
acres, destroying 215 homes, recreational cabins and outbuildings. 
According to James Agee, a University of Washington forest ecologist 
and professor who specialize in dry forest fire ecology said the area 
burned by the School Fire likely will take about 150 years to grow back 
if we let Mother Nature takes it course. That is simply not acceptable.
  I co-sponsored the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act because 
our forests, and the resulting timber, play an extremely important role 
in the economy in the Pacific Northwest. Maintaining healthy forests is 
essential to those who make a living from the land and for those of us 
who use them for recreational purposes. Eastern Washington has 
experienced a number of deadly forest fires this season, and it is 
crucial that we have bipartisan legislation that will expedite the 
research and restoration process.

                              {time}  1215

  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Madam Chairman, I yield 1\1/4\ minutes to 
the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio), who worked with the Biscuit 
fire and has great experience in these forestry issues.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Madam Chairman, are there problems with the current 
process? Yes. For the most part, they are political. In the case of the 
Biscuit fire, the professional managers developed a plan that would 
have yielded somewhere around 175 million boardfeet of salvage.
  The administration, in an election year, said that is not enough, we 
want a lot more. They pulled that plan. They came back with another 
plan, much bigger numbers, but they haven't even harvested half of the 
original proposal, which was virtually noncontroversial. So in 
response, unfortunately, instead of prescribing a professional 
management in the future that is site specific, that mandates things, 
we are providing even more discretion to political appointees with this 
legislation.
  As I said to some folks from the timber industry in my district, you 
may think it is a great bill with Mark Ray down there and George Bush 
at the White House. But what if the Clintons come back? They said, ``Oh 
my God, that would be horrible.''
  So if you give total discretion to salvage or not salvage, if you 
fill the bill with mays and mays and mays, which it does, for instance, 
the point was made as I came to the floor, I have been involved in 
other committee work, that they are mandating science. Well, actually, 
no; on page 14 it says ``may,'' the Secretary may conduct one or more 
catastrophic event research projects.
  The bill is rife with discretion for political appointees. We need 
professional management and certainty. This bill won't get us there.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Madam Chairman, I yield myself 4 minutes.
  Madam Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 4200, the Forest Emergency 
Recovery and Research Act. This bill is a very moderate approach to a 
very serious problem. As usual, I have worked in close cooperation with 
my friends and colleagues on the House Resources Committee to develop a 
commonsense approach to forest recovery that has garnered wide 
bipartisan support from our colleagues and strong endorsements from 
professional foresters, firefighters and local officials.
  The Society of American Foresters, representing some 15,000 forestry 
professionals in both public and private service, has supported and, in 
fact, provided constructive input as both committees have worked 
through numerous revisions of this important bill.
  FERRA has been endorsed by the Federal Wildland Fire Service 
Association, which represents some 12,000 firefighters who annually 
risk life and limb fighting forest fires and responding to other 
disasters. The association called FERRA ``a commonsense approach'' to 
addressing forest recovery.
  Additionally, this bill has been endorsed by the National Association 
of State Foresters, State officials who manage millions of acres of 
State forests and help the Nation's over 10 million family forest 
owners keep their woodlands healthy.
  Among the bill's many other supporters are the National Association 
of Counties, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the International 
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, United Brotherhood of 
Carpenters and Joiners, Wildlife Management Institute, and the Rocky 
Mountain Elk Foundation.

[[Page H2663]]

  Many of you have heard that FERRA is not relevant to your States. I 
am here to tell you that is not the case. First, the bill directs the 
Forest Service and Department of the Interior to work with the adjacent 
landowners and managers when catastrophe strikes to develop landscape-
scale assessments of the damage. Since the Forest Service is only in 
charge of about one-quarter of our Nation's forests, this leaves the 
large majority of forestlands in the hands of private land owners. This 
provision is critically important to any Member who represents a 
forestland owner back home.
  Second, many of you have been told not to worry about forest 
catastrophes, that they only happen somewhere else. Unfortunately, 
catastrophic events know no boundaries.
  In my home State of Virginia, just last week the Forest Service 
wrapped up fire-fighting efforts on the Cardinal fire in Page County, 
Virginia, just outside my district. This fire, seen in these 
photographs, damaged over 1,900 acres of public lands.
  So what would happen in Page County if H.R. 4200 was already in 
place? The Forest Service would simply have 30 days to complete a rapid 
evaluation of the burned area and then it would have to decide whether 
or not to propose a catastrophic event recovery project. That is it. No 
environmental laws are waived, no wilderness areas are entered, no 
logging is required. Nothing in the bill forces the Forest Service to 
cut a single tree.
  If the professional land managers and the Forest Service do decide 
that H.R. 4200's emergency procedures are appropriate, the agency would 
have 90 days to analyze a proposed project and the no-action 
alternative. Appeals and litigation would be governed by the same sort 
of rules overwhelmingly approved by this body under the Healthy Forest 
Restoration Act. All projects would comply with existing forest plans.
  FERRA also directs the Forest Service to develop preapproved 
practices that will undergo rigorous scientific peer review. It 
emphasizes the need for research, and provides that 10 percent of the 
revenues from any timber removed for a recovery project be dedicated to 
research on forest recovery. This bill addresses the need for further 
research and is equipped with its own funding mechanism to drive this 
research.
  The bill will also pay for itself. CBO found that H.R. 4200 will save 
the taxpayers $21 million over the next 5 years.
  I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan bill that has earned 
the strong support of our professional forest management people. Please 
join me in giving them one more tool to use in their efforts to promote 
forest health and the sustainability of our precious forests.
  Mr. PETERSON of Minnesota. Madam Chairman, I yield myself such time 
as I might consume.
  Madam Chairman, I rise today in support of H.R. 4200, the Forest 
Emergency Recovery and Research Act, and I want to commend my 
colleagues, Mr. Walden and Mr. Baird, for their leadership and hard 
work in crafting this much-needed bipartisan legislation, and I urge my 
colleagues to support final passage of this bill.
  H.R. 4200 resulted from the devastation caused by the 2002 Biscuit 
wildfire in southern Oregon where 500,000 acres were destroyed. 
Unfortunately, the struggles did not end when the fire was 
extinguished. Post-fire recovery efforts were hampered by an 
exceedingly slow administrative response caused by procedural delays, 
administrative appeals and litigation. These delays resulted in 
significant losses of marketable salvage timber, the sales of which 
helps fund restoration efforts.
  In Minnesota's Superior National Forest, we had a different kind of 
catastrophic event in July of 1999. A major windstorm with wind speeds 
of up to 100 miles an hour swept across northern Minnesota, impacting 
about 477,000 acres within the Superior National Forest. Although the 
Forest Service did a good job of recovering and restoring forest 
resources in that case, we can always do better. For example, it took 
the Feds almost 4 months to organize salvage timber sales on a small 
portion of the impacted lands and more than a year to organize the 
remaining sales. By that time, some of the most valuable timber had 
lost most of its value. This legislation offers additional tools to 
facilitate sales more quickly where the salvageable timber is at risk 
of degrading in quality.
  Looking forward, the Forest Service predicts another record-breaking 
fire season. Since December, drought conditions, coupled with the high 
temperatures and wind that resulted in over 17,000 wildfires and an 
estimated 1.5 million acres burned, fire officials have expressed 
concern that the Southwest and Great Plains are at a risk of similar 
devastation as seen in Texas and Oklahoma these past months.
  While the Healthy Forest Restoration Act provided tools to care for 
our forests, we need to make sure that we have the tools in place to 
support recovery and restoration efforts after a catastrophic event. 
H.R. 4200 improves this process and paves the way for prompt 
evaluations and development plans while meeting environmental 
requirements.
  I am pleased to cosponsor H.R. 4200, and I encourage my colleagues to 
support final passage.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Madam Chairman, it is my pleasure to yield 2 minutes 
to the gentlewoman from North Carolina (Ms. Foxx).
  Ms. FOXX. Madam Chairman, I rise today in support of H.R. 4200, the 
Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act. North Carolina is home to 
1.2 million square acres of national forest, with the majority of those 
acres being located in the western North Carolina mountains.
  Our forests are visited by over 6 million tourists each year and 
generate millions of dollars for the local economies. People from all 
over the country and other nations travel to cities and towns in North 
Carolina and my district to see the wonderful natural resources our 
forests hold, and many of the towns in my district depend on that 
tourism industry to provide jobs and economic growth. With that said, 
Madam Chairman, you can understand my eagerness to protect and sustain 
these national treasures.
  In order to protect and sustain our National Forests and lands, Madam 
Chairman, Congress has passed environmental laws designed to guard 
against man-made encroachment. However, we cannot legislate against 
natural disasters. Even in the mountains of North Carolina, we are 
susceptible to hurricane damage, flooding and tornadoes, which destroy 
thousands of acres of National Forest.
  When Hurricane Hugo swept through North Carolina, it damaged more 
than 2.7 million acres of forest in 26 counties, with almost complete 
destruction of 68,000 acres. Timber losses to the State were valued at 
$250 million. To make matters worse, only very little timber was able 
to be salvaged due to the fact that forestry experts were overwhelmed 
by the sheer volume of dead trees and there was no real plan to deal 
with such a catastrophe. By the time the forestry officials jumped 
through all the environmental hoops, most of the timber was either 
splintered or decayed, rendering it unusable.
  Madam Chairman, we witnessed this exact same incident again last 
year, but on a larger scale. When Hurricane Katrina hit, millions of 
acres of forest were downed and destroyed, creating dangerous scenarios 
for disease, infestations and forest fires. Once again, because we had 
no plan in place for the recovery, forestry officials were forced to 
sit by and watch millions of dollars of boardfeet rot.
  If H.R. 4200 were law, the Forest Service and private companies would 
have cleaned up the damage and salvaged the good timber.
  We cannot allow the lessons of Hurricane Hugo and Katrina to be 
forgotten. We must design and implement a plan to deal with such 
scenarios.
  Today, Madam Chairman, we have a chance to learn from our misfortunes 
and guard against losing so much again. H.R. 4200 is a common sense 
approach to a problem the United States faces yearly. The Forest 
Service needs the tool of rapid damage assessment, so they can quickly 
restore landscapes and prevent more forests from decaying and becoming 
fuel for uncontrollable wildfires. Research is also needed to expand 
and enhance knowledge on post-catastrophe treatments. This bill is 
critical to stopping disease and infestations from spreading, 
preventing wildfires, and maintaining healthy forests.
  I would like to reassure my colleagues on both sides of the aisle 
that H.R. 4200 is not

[[Page H2664]]

designed to circumvent existing environmental laws. In fact, it is the 
exact opposite. The provisions in this bill can only be used in case of 
a severe natural disaster to our national forests. The bill does not 
affect national parks, wilderness areas, or national monuments. The 
bill does not override existing environmental laws, such as the 
Endangered Species Act, the Wilderness Act, the Clean Air Act, or the 
Safe Drinking Water Act. The bill simply allows the forest service to 
apply common sense techniques in the case of a natural disaster. It's 
about time the federal government put some common sense into 
environmental cleanup and maintenance in my opinion.
  In conclusion, Madam Chairman, I would like to thank Chairman Pombo 
and Chairman Goodlatte for their work on this bill. Both their 
Committees held numerous hearings on the bill and carefully crafted 
this measure with the input of local governments and environmental 
groups. The bill increases collaboration among federal, state, and 
private interested parties. The bill enjoys wide bipartisan support and 
will benefit the entire country, all while saving the federal 
government money. Again, the bill makes sound, environmental sense and 
I support final passage of the bill.
  Mr. BAIRD. Madam Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Let us step back for just a second, because it seems some folks may 
not fully understand why we need this legislation. We need this 
legislation because following a fire or a blowdown or other 
catastrophic event, the wood is actually still good, but it is only 
good for a finite time, as Mr. Walden said in his opening remarks. 
Every day that you delay, the value of the wood declines.
  Now, we believe that it is not a situation where you can just say, 
well, let us look infinitely before you leap. You have got to act, 
because not acting here has consequences. What this bill does is 
expedite a way of acting responsibly so the public has input, so that 
you use best available science, and then the public has an appeals 
process.
  But beyond that, the bill contains a host of protections, and I want 
to underscore those. Contrary to what my friend from the Science 
Committee suggested, you can only cut trees that are either dead or in 
eminent demise. So if a tree is blown over, it can live for a year or 
so, but it is going to die mighty soon. There is no provision in this 
bill, none whatsoever, that allows you to go into a healthy stand of 
green trees and cut it.
  Secondly, if a wilderness area or a national park burns, they are off 
limits. The bill doesn't touch them. Doesn't touch them.
  Third, the bill does not require logging anyway. It merely says that 
if the managers on the ground think it can be done responsibly and 
economically and appropriately, they can move forward. In fact, many of 
the fires in the Pacific Northwest, you have hundreds of thousands of 
acres burned, and only 6 or 7 percent harvested.
  Congressman Walden and I agree with the science that there are a 
number of species that depend on standing burned logs for habitat. That 
is why the bill specifically says you have to leave some logs. It is 
also why many areas would be left unharvested.
  But you look at these 100,000-acre forest fires and you say if you 
are going to harvest 6 or 7 percent, you have plenty of habitat for 
those critters that depend on burned trees. But there are also species 
that prosper more in an open area after harvest, and if what you truly 
want to support is broad species diversity, you will realize net 
greatest overall species diversity from harvesting some areas, leaving 
other areas standing.
  I also want to follow up on something Mr. Goodlatte said. People who 
don't represent forest districts may say what is in it for me; why 
should I care?
  Here is why you should care. Because when you build your house, if 
you had a builder come to you and say here is your choice; we can 
either build this house with perfectly solid wood that came from dead 
trees that were killed in a fire, or we can build your house by cutting 
down live trees that are standing today, which would you prefer? Most 
Americans would say, you know, I would rather use the dead wood, if it 
is good structurally, to build my house; and indeed it is good 
structurally, but only if you harvest it promptly.
  Let me go right back to basics. We use wood. It has got to come from 
somewhere. If you can get it from burned forests and do so responsibly 
and protect the environment, as this bill requires, that is where you 
ought to get the wood from. But if you delay that harvest 
unnecessarily, you will diminish the value of the wood and you will 
increase the adverse environmental impact.
  Finally, let me say this: We make decisions in our society and we 
make trade-offs and balance things. My friends on the other side would 
say, where is your peer-review science that proves it is good for a 
forest to harvest burned trees?
  You make sacrifices whether you harvest live trees or dead trees. In 
the case of a live tree, you are sacrificing a living tree. In the case 
of a dead tree, you are sacrificing a dead tree. The choice is pretty 
clear to me, and that is what this bill allows us to make: that choice.

                              {time}  1230

  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Madam Chairman, I yield our remaining time 
to a leader in our Resources Committee on forest issues and a champion 
on protecting our forests and watersheds, Representative Inslee.
  Mr. INSLEE. Madam Chairman, the people of the State of Washington 
deserve decisions about the Eagle Gap Wilderness area to be made based 
on science and public input, not the whims of President George Bush.
  Why do we rush to give this President, the President with the worst 
environmental record in American history, more discretion, more leeway, 
less science, less public input? That is a bit like giving Bonnie and 
Clyde a relaxation of the rules against bank robbery.
  There is no reason, given the record of this administration, to trust 
these administration policies with our national forests. But this bill 
will give a blank check to the whims of the political decisionmakers in 
the White House, not the foresters on the ground.
  This, in fact, strips, strips us of the requirement that we have a 
site-specific decision to go out and look at these properties. Now I 
will tell you how bad it is. I will tell you how George Bush's 
administration has not respected science. When Mr. Donato, a researcher 
at Oregon State University, reported his paper in a well-respected 
journal, Science Magazine, a peer-reviewed journal, do you know what 
happened? Do you know what his BLM did? They canceled his contract.
  That is how the Bush administration treats science. They cancel your 
contract if you come out with science, with an answer that is not 
apparently approved by Carl Rove and his political minions.
  Madam Chairman, we should not be on this floor giving George Bush 
more authority to make more bad decisions about the national forests. 
Reject this bill.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Madam Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlemen 
from North Carolina (Mr. Hayes).
  Mr. HAYES. Madam Chairman, I thank the chairman for yielding me the 
time.
  Madam Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 4200. The people who 
wrote the bill are here in the room, as far as I can tell. Forestry is 
the dominant land use in my State, covering almost two-thirds of our 
land. About 10 percent of our timberland is in Federal ownership. H.R. 
4200 would give our forestry advisors a badly needed new tool to deal 
with the types of catastrophes that sometimes visit our forests.
  Although we do have fires, our forests suffer much greater harm from 
bugs, like the pine beetle, and from hurricanes like Hugo. Thank God we 
have not had a visitor like that for some time.
  Hugo destroyed some $250 million worth of timber. South Carolina 
suffered similar damage from that storm. The 2000 outbreak of southern 
pine beetle spread rapidly to over 130,000 acres of non-Federal land, 
and additional private land in and around Pisgah National Forest and 
the Biltmore Estate, known as the Cradle of Forestry in America.
  If the beetle is not controlled quickly, it will easily spread to 
adjacent lands. Most of this outbreak is on Federal lands, making it 
extremely important the Forest Service respond quickly to avoid 
spreading infestations to adjacent healthy non-Federal forests.
  ``We do not have a year or 2 years'' stated Jim Hefley, a retired 
forestry

[[Page H2665]]

professional charged with heading up the committee to address the 
outbreak. ``We have 120 days to accomplish our work and remove the 
infested trees.''
  This statement was made in November of 2000 as the beetles entered 
their period of winter dormancy. The Forest Service did not issue their 
decision to implement treatments until April 16, 2002. This is 
unconscionably slow.
  With the authority available under H.R. 4200, the Forest Service 
could substantially shorten the time frame to move forward with the 
recovery project down to as little as 60 days if the Forest Service 
develops an appropriate preapproved practice to deal with southern pine 
beetles.
  In the Southeast, we are lucky that our pine forests grow quickly. 
That is why they make such good wildlife habitat, and why they are the 
engine of the region's timber economy.
  Madam Chairman, I urge unanimous support of H.R. 4200.
  Mr. PETERSON of Minnesota. Madam Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Washington (Mr. Baird).
  Mr. BAIRD. Madam Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Minnesota.
  Madam Chairman, just briefly, I mentioned earlier the amazement with 
which I have watched some of the misrepresentation that has occurred on 
the floor today.
  I just saw it again a second ago from my good friend from Washington 
State. BLM did not, for the record, cancel the contract of the 
researcher, they suspended it following a review to make sure 
procedures had been followed.
  I also want to talk about this criticism of planning ahead. You know, 
folks on my side have been in high dudgeon and great outrage at the 
lack of planning by FEMA prior to Hurricane Katrina. Here we are with a 
bill that would allow us to plan ahead, so that when disaster strikes 
we can respond responsibly and promptly with the best available science 
to protect the environment and to save the taxpayers money, and we are 
being criticized for advance planning.
  It is a good bit paradoxical, my friends. You cannot say on the one 
hand we ought to plan for disasters like Katrina, but we should not 
plan for disasters in a forest. You should plan for both, and we have 
proven mechanisms for responding to both.
  And here is something that has to be underscored. What we are talking 
about today is standard practice, standard practice by State foresters, 
by industrial foresters, by private timber owners, and by tribes. 
People who have fiduciary responsibilities to their taxpayers, to their 
stockholders, and to the timber owners do this every day across the 
country.
  And if you would come with Congressman Walden and I, we can walk you 
through beautiful, magnificent forests that were burned one time, 
harvested, and regenerated. That is why we are supporting this bill.
  I would just say for all of the talk on evidence, the evidence can be 
obtained right here with your eyes. Just come visit these forests. If 
15,000 people who manage forests on the ground every day support this, 
this is not about giving President George Bush authority over burned 
fires, it is about giving the timber managers who live and work and 
know the ground and raise their families nearby and drink the water 
from the watersheds and have years of experience, that is who gets the 
authority under this bill.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Madam Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas (Mr. Brady).
  Mr. BRADY of Texas. Madam Chairman, I appreciate the bipartisan 
leadership on this bill. I think sometimes in Washington we would do 
better to not clear-cut the truth when it comes to issues like this.
  Madam Chairman, the truth is when natural disasters hit our forests, 
as they do in east Texas, our regulations really hinder our ability to 
recover that forest quickly. They do not help; they hinder it. This 
bill does the opposite. I strongly support it.
  Madam Chairman, in 1998 we had a windstorm that hit the Sabine, 
Angelina and Sam Houston National Forests here in east Texas, damaged 
about 200 million boardfeet of timber. As bad as that looks, and as big 
as that looks, you should have seen what Hurricane Rita did. The fourth 
largest hurricane to ever hit the gulf coast damaged nearly a million 
boardfeet of timber, and that is our number one, not only our number 
one economic driver in east Texas, but we really value our forests. We 
want to recover them, because that to us was a huge natural disaster.
  This bill will help us recover from disasters like this. All of them 
had salvageable timber; terrible Hurricane damage, but salvageable 
timber. But because of the large volume of timber that was damaged, the 
rapid decay of the dead wood, and procedural red tape and economic 
constraints, salvage operations, the ability to salvage this is 
limited. And if we do not do that, the down and damaged timber becomes 
hazardous fuel, endangering the public and firefighter safety.
  And all of the remaining undamaged timber becomes highly susceptible 
to other timber losses, because of bark beetles further impairing the 
forest health, and blue stain, which affects the timber itself. So 
failure to remove salvageable timber impedes the restoration of some of 
our treasured habitat, such as threatened and endangered red cockheaded 
woodpecker and the Louisiana pine snake.
  Madam Chairman, delays to harvesting downed timber means delays and 
increased costs all across the board, and the ability in this bill to 
use alternative ways to do it makes healthier forests and better 
species. Madam Chairman, I strongly support this bill.
  Mr. PETERSON of Minnesota. Madam Chairman, I yield to Mr. Baird such 
time as he may consume.
  Mr. BAIRD. Madam Chairman, I want to add one other environmental 
consideration on this, the issue of greenhouse gases. When you talk 
about billions of boardfeet of timber down post-Katrina, and you think 
about what happens if there is a secondary burn and how much carbon is 
put into the air, that is not good if you want to contain greenhouse 
gases.
  Those who are concerned about global warming, as am I, and as are 
many of my friends who have spoken today, seriously ought to consider, 
you can entrap the carbon in those trees by building a home with the 
wood, or you can leave the carbon in those trees to burn a second time 
and to fill the atmosphere with smoke.
  I would submit that it is better from an environmental perspective to 
make sure that those forests do not reburn if you can do so 
responsibly, and we have testimony from wildland forest fighters that 
by removing these trees postfire you can actually reduce the risk of 
subsequent fires if you reharvest.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Madam Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. BAIRD. I yield to the gentleman from Virginia.
  Mr. GOODLATTE. Madam Chairman, the gentleman makes an excellent 
point. And the point you made earlier about choosing between dead, 
dying, burned trees versus live, living trees not being cut down are 
also helping the environment by absorbing that CO
2
. So this 
is a very proenvironmental piece of legislation
  Mr. BAIRD. Madam Chairman, reclaiming my time. I appreciate that 
point. This is the choice you are making. You are not choosing whether 
or not to use wood. We have got to use wood, and it is a darn good 
product.
  You are going to get some from living trees, you are going to get 
some from burned trees, but if you have got the burned trees, use the 
wood responsibly, use it promptly. Sink the carbon in your house, do 
not put it into the atmosphere.
  Mr. DUNCAN. Madam Chairman, I claim the time of the Transportation 
and Infrastructure Committee on behalf of Chairman Young.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN (Mrs. Miller of Michigan). The gentleman is 
recognized for 10 minutes.
  Mr. DUNCAN. Madam Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Madam Chairman, before I yield some time to Chairman Walden, I would 
like to mention a couple of things. A few years ago I read the book ``A 
Walk in the Woods'' by Bill Bryson about hiking the Appalachian Trail. 
He says in that book that New England in 1850 was 30 percent in 
forestland. Today it is almost 70 percent in forestland. A few days ago 
I think it was USA Today or one of the national publications had an 
article about the State of Vermont and said it is 77 percent in 
forestland.

[[Page H2666]]

  The Knoxville New Sentinel a few years ago said that Tennessee in 
1950 was 36 percent in forestland. Today it is 55 percent in 
forestland. Yet if I went to any school in this country and asked the 
kids, are there more trees now than there was 100 or 150 years ago, 
they would all say, no, there are a lot fewer trees; when the truth is, 
there are billions and billions more trees, and hundreds of millions of 
acres more in forest today than at any time in our history.
  And then I remember in the forest subcommittee in 2002, at the first 
of the year and then again in late spring, we were warned that 40 
million acres in the West were in imminent danger of catastrophic 
forest fire, and later that year we saw some 7 million acres burned by 
needless, unnecessary forest fires that could have been prevented. I am 
told by the staff that we will probably have 7 million acres more 
burned this year, and that is a sad, unfortunate thing.
  We have groups all over this country who do not want you to drill for 
any oil, do not want you to dig for any coal, do not want you to 
produce any natural gas, and do not want you to cut any trees. Madam 
Chairman, do you know who that hurts? It hurts the poor and the lower-
income and the working people of this country most of all. The wealthy 
are always going to do all right. But these things that we do up here 
affect the poor and the lower-income and working people most of all 
because when you do not allow anything, any type of natural resource 
production in this country, what do you do? You drive up prices and you 
destroy jobs. Who does that hurt the most? It hurts the poor and the 
lower-income and the working people. And it drives up prices for 
everything that uses wood, from homes and furniture to toilet paper and 
everything else.
  And so that is what some of this bill is about today. I have got some 
more I would like to say on it.
  Madam Chairman, I yield such time as he may consume to Chairman 
Walden for some further remarks.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Madam Chairman, I certainly appreciate all of 
the work that Mr. Duncan has done on our Subcommittee on Forests and 
Forest Health, and the gentleman's comments today really, I think, make 
a very, very strong point.
  We have more forested acres today than we did 100 years ago, and we 
have more trees today than we did. In fact, one of the issues we face 
in America's forests in the West is overstocked forests. And when 
forests get overstocked, then bugs come in, nature takes over, you have 
disease, you have stressed trees, and often they die. And then you get 
a fire.
  You have seen earlier in the debate pictures of these forests after 
they have burned. Now I represent a district that is nearly 70,000 
square miles, home to, I think, 10 or 11 national forests. More than 
half of the land mass of the district I represent is in government 
ownership.
  I love to get out and backpack and hike. I was up on Dog Mountain 
this weekend in Columbia Gorge. I love these forests.

                              {time}  1245

  I want healthy green forests, I want to protect the watersheds. I 
also drive through forests that burned years ago and nothing has been 
done to recover them. There are valuable stands of timber there that 
could have been harvested to pay for the recovery effort. The 
Congressional Budget Office says if we allow the Forest Service and the 
BLM to move quicker on the projects they deem to be appropriate under 
their planning documents and in compliance with the Federal 
environmental laws, we could actually increase receipts by 40 percent 
from those sales. Forty percent. We could pay for the restoration work. 
We could restore the forests.
  Now, you have heard comments today about how do we define a disaster. 
Well, we define it virtually identically to the way the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency defines a major disaster. The language is 
almost identical. It means any natural catastrophic catastrophe, 
including any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, wind-driven water, 
tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, 
mudslide, snowslide, drought. All of those things contribute to a 
catastrophe in America's forests, and so we use the same definition. So 
if you don't like our definition here, well then maybe we need to 
change FEMA. But I don't think anybody would stand for that in an 
emergency. If we have an emergency in a forest, the emergency doesn't 
end when the smoke clears.
  We have also heard today, erroneously, no site evaluation. We would 
wipe that out. Nobody would ever have to go on the ground. That is not 
true. Go to page 32 of the manager's amendment that we are debating 
today: We require the agencies to show rationale for their decision, 
economic analysis and justification, an analysis of the environmental 
effects of the project, and how such effects will be minimized or 
mitigated consistent with applicable land and resource management plan. 
And it goes on through.
  And let me say, we continually heard this nonsense that somehow you 
can do this without ever following the Clean Water Act or Safe Drinking 
Water Act or the Endangered Species, and that is simply not the case; 
because Americans act, and that is simply not the case; because 
Americans under our law would have the same right they have under 
existing law in the Healthy Forest Restoration Act to appeal, and to 
appeal to a court of law who would immediately shut down a project with 
a temporary restraining order, stop them in their tracks if they didn't 
follow existing Federal law. The safeguards are in this bill to do what 
is needed to be done to improve America's forests, to get them back 
into restored status, to move quickly after a catastrophe, after a 
disaster, as we expect the government to do after a lot of different 
events that occur in our country. We just want to be able to do that in 
our forests as well, like every other forestland manager has the 
authority to do.
  Madam Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PETERSON of Minnesota. Madam Chairwoman, I would like to yield 
the balance of my time to the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Baird).
  Mr. BAIRD. Madam Chairman, I thank the gentleman. I want to follow up 
on something my good friend Mr. Duncan pointed out. In my district I 
mentioned earlier we have got communities with double-digit 
unemployment. Some of these small timber towns, the only real game in 
town is timber. And if there is a catastrophic fire in the vicinity of 
that mill and the choice is to let that wood rot or put some people to 
work by milling it, it is going to be mighty hard for me to go back 
home and look these folks in the eye and say, ``I know that there is 
perfectly good wood that we could get out. I know that we could build 
houses with it, make paper products, but you know we have to leave it 
completely untouched until that wood just rots.''
  Now, we are not saying harvest every stick of timber. We are not 
saying that in every fire or blowdown you harvest anything. But if you 
can get economically valuable products out and if you can do it in a 
responsible way, then by golly you ought to do it. And that is what 
this bill comes down to at the end of the day.
  When Congressman Walden and I visited the Timbered Rock fire, we rode 
out to that fire site with the forest people, the forest managers of 
that area. This is not about having some bureaucrat in Washington, DC, 
manage forests. That is actually what is happening now. We are managing 
through litigation. Litigation is probably the most inefficient way to 
manage anything. If you can avoid it, do so. The folks who actually 
manage these post-fire scenarios live in the communities. I talked to 
one fellow, he said, ``This is where I come to fish with my kids. Do 
you think I want to let this go forward in a way that is going to 
destroy the fishing? This is where we come to hunt.'' The water supply 
for my community is downstream from this fire. I have every investment 
in managing this responsibly.
  The forest managers who go into that profession go into it because 
they love the forests. They live in the field, they know the terrain. 
And this bill allows them to respond promptly if there is an incident, 
and to use advanced planning to prepare for an incident so that they 
can do the most responsible thing the most promptly. That is what this 
thing is about. Again, it is common sense and

[[Page H2667]]

I am proud to have coauthored it. I thank the gentleman for his 
leadership. We will see some proposed amendments in a moment. I would 
urge rejection of those and final passage of the legislation.
  Mr. DUNCAN. Madam Chairman, I am pleased that the gentleman from 
Washington, who is a really good Member and a good friend of mine, that 
he mentioned the small logging companies. I remember in 1978, we had 
157 small coal companies in east Tennessee, and then they opened up a 
Federal mining office and now there are none of those small companies 
left.
  When you overregulate anything, it helps the big giants, but it first 
runs the small companies out and then even the medium-sized companies. 
And I am told that is what is happening all over the country to our 
small logging companies. And I remember, I was told years ago that in 
the mid-eighties that Congress passed a bill that the environmentalists 
wanted that would not allow cutting of more than 80 percent of the new 
growth in our national forests. Today, we are cutting less than one-
seventh of the new growth in our national forests, and we have two or 
three or four times as much dead and dying trees, and under the present 
rules we can't even go in there and get some of these dead and dying 
trees out. Like he said earlier, I said this bill is just another of 
many things that we are trying to not only help the environment but to 
help the poor and the lower income and the working people by not 
driving up prices and not destroying jobs in the way that we have been 
doing. But also this is a bill that would help some of the small 
businesses, some of the small logging companies maybe to survive 
instead of all having to go out.
  H.R. 4200, this Forest Emergency Research and Recovery Act, would 
allow land managers to move swiftly after a disaster to stabilize 
soils, protect streams and riparian areas and reforest the land. The 
bill allows for the establishment of preapproved management practices 
and emergency procedures that could be implemented quickly after a fire 
or other catastrophic event. This bill, H.R. 4200, allows for 
compliance with the Clean Water Act requirements to occur 
simultaneously with the implementation of these preapproved management 
practices or emergency procedures.
  H.R. 4200 is essential, I think, to ensuring our national forests are 
forested for future generations. This is a good bill. It is good for 
the environment, it is good for business, and it is good for the 
average ordinary citizen who doesn't need for wood product prices to 
just go out of sight. And so I urge passage.
  Mr. BACA. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend 
my remarks.
  Mr. Chairman, I want to voice my support for H.R. 4200.
  The catastrophic wildfires that devastated southern California in 
late 2003 are proof that forest health and recovery are essential. We 
must expand these tools however possible to protect the lives and 
property of our constituents.
  I only wish the agency and administration would have heeded our 
demands from then Governor Davis, Senators Boxer and Feinstein, and 
many others including myself for emergency fuels reduction funding.
  The fact is that many forests in southern California continue to be 
matches waiting to set ablaze. Bark Beetle infestations have ravaged 
the San Bernardino National Forest and many populated rural areas.
  Either we learn the lessons of the past or we are condemned to repeat 
those mistakes in the future.
  By the time the 14 major wildfires in southern California were 
extinguished in November 2003, 24 lives were lost, 3,710 homes were 
destroyed, and 750,043 acres were blackened--70,000 of those acres in 
San Bernardino County.
  We must also remember the post-fire flooding in the erosion-prone 
mountain watersheds, and how 17 lives were lost in San Bernardino 
County alone. Sixteen of these lives were lost on Christmas Day, 
including those of two constituents.
  Mr. Chairman, I completely agree that recovery is essential, but I am 
also very interested in ensuring that the contractors doing this 
recovery are not engaging in criminal violations of health, safety and 
labor law.
  At the December hearing on this bill in the Agriculture Committee, I 
introduced into the record an expose by the Sacramento Bee on the 
deplorable, and often criminal, conditions to which these H2B and other 
contract employees are subjected.
  Some are not paid their full wage, denied safety equipment, or made 
to live in subhuman conditions because of their H2B guestworker status.
  Mr. Chairman, that is why I will be holding a briefing tomorrow at 2 
p.m. in the Science Committee room on these forest workers and how 
agencies can improve their oversight of wage and workplace safety 
violations.
  Mr. Chairman, I agree that we need to protect the lives and property 
of our constituents by maintaining healthy forests and recovering after 
disasters and pest infestations. That is why I am voting in favor of 
this legislation. I urge my colleagues to do the same.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Chairman, I rise in favor of H.R. 
4200, the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act (FERRA).
  Many of you are supporting this bill because of wild fires. My state 
and I have a different, but just as important need. Hurricane Katrina 
caused the largest single forest and wildlife habitat devastation in 
our Nation's history--5 million acres--and it did not discriminate 
between public or private land or the rich, poor or the middle class. 
She was an equal opportunity destroyer. By the way, this represents 19 
billion board feet of timber with a value of $5 billion. This is enough 
timber to build 800,000 homes and make 25 million tons of paper and 
paperboard.)
  National Wildlife Refuges, National Parks and National Forests were 
all severely damaged. The DeSoto National Forest was hit the hardest. 
But besides trees, we had a diversity of plants and animals that lost 
their homes too. In fact, the damage left by Katrina is the largest 
single devastation of fish and wildlife habitat since the Exxon Valdez.
  I have witnessed the devastated, high quality forests of the DeSoto 
degrade to a point that we must appropriate many millions to clean up 
the debris and recover this forest. That was not necessary.
  By acting in a timely manner as FERRA will allow, we can salvage 
valuable wood products before they deteriorate. This will generate much 
needed dollars for rural schools and return more dollars to federal and 
state treasuries. It will also generate funds to restore the homes of 
wildlife and the citizens of places like the Gulf Coast and New 
Orleans.
  We don't need to cut down live trees that are valuable at producing 
oxygen, sequestering carbon dioxide and providing fish and wildlife 
habitat when we can use ones that are already damaged. It's just common 
sense.
  As the first member of my party to co-sponsor the Healthy Forests 
Restoration Act, I ask you to vote in favor of H.R. 4200.
  Mr. DUNCAN. Madam Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN (Mrs. Miller of Michigan). All time for general 
debate has expired.
  In lieu of the amendment recommended by the Committee on Resources 
printed in the bill, it shall be in order to consider as an original 
bill for the purpose of amendment under the 5-minute rule an amendment 
in the nature of a substitute printed in the designated place in the 
Congressional Record and numbered 1. That amendment in the nature of a 
substitute shall be considered read.
  The text of the amendment in the nature of a substitute is as 
follows:

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE AND TABLE OF CONTENTS.

       (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as ``Forest 
     Emergency Recovery and Research Act''.
       (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act 
     is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title and table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings.
Sec. 3. Definitions.

       TITLE I--RESPONSE TO CATASTROPHIC EVENTS ON FEDERAL LANDS

Sec. 101. Development of research protocols and use in catastrophic 
              event research projects.
Sec. 102. Catastrophic event recovery evaluations.
Sec. 103. Compliance with National Environmental Policy Act.
Sec. 104. Availability and use of pre-approved management practices.
Sec. 105. Availability and use of emergency procedures.
Sec. 106. Administrative and judicial review.
Sec. 107. Guidance regarding reforestation in response to catastrophic 
              events.
Sec. 108. Effect of title.
Sec. 109. Standards for tree retention.

TITLE II--RESTORING LANDSCAPES AND COMMUNITIES IMPACTED BY CATASTROPHIC 
                                 EVENTS

        Subtitle A--Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978

Sec. 201. Assistance under Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 
              to restore landscapes and communities affected by 
              catastrophic events.

[[Page H2668]]

           Subtitle B--Department of the Interior Assistance

Sec. 211. Restoring landscapes.
Sec. 212. Restoring communities.

                    TITLE III--EXPERIMENTAL FORESTS

Sec. 301. Findings.
Sec. 302. Availability and use of pre-approved management practices on 
              National Forest experimental forests.
Sec. 303. Limited consideration of alternatives for projects on 
              National Forest experimental forests.

                      TITLE IV--GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 401. Regulations.
Sec. 402. Dedicated source of funds for research and monitoring.
Sec. 403. Other funding sources.
Sec. 404. Effect of declaration of major disaster or emergency.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

       Congress finds the following:
       (1) The number and severity of catastrophic events causing 
     resource damage to Federal land has significantly increased 
     over the last 20 years, and such catastrophic events also 
     create serious adverse environmental, social, and economic 
     consequences for Federal land and adjacent non-Federal land 
     and communities.
       (2) Catastrophic events often devastate forest or rangeland 
     ecosystems and eliminate sources of seed for desired tree and 
     plant species, which--
       (A) delays or even precludes the reestablishment of 
     appropriate forest or plant cover on millions of acres of 
     Federal land;
       (B) increases the susceptibility of the damaged land to 
     wildfire and noxious or harmful species and reduces the 
     economic value of the damaged land's resources;
       (C) increases the susceptibility of adjacent undamaged land 
     to insect infestations, disease, and noxious weeds;
       (D) pollutes municipal water supplies and damages water 
     delivery infrastructure;
       (E) exacerbates sediment production that adversely impacts 
     native fish habitat and soil productivity;
       (F) results in unsafe campgrounds, trails, roads, and other 
     infrastructure; and
       (G) adversely impacts the sustainability of ecosystems and 
     the well-being of adjacent communities.
       (3) Program authorities and funding mechanisms currently 
     available to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary 
     of the Interior to respond to catastrophic events on forested 
     Federal land do not provide for consistent and timely 
     response activities.
       (4) The Council on Environmental Quality has approved on an 
     infrequent basis the use of alternative arrangements to 
     respond to catastrophic events on forested Federal land, but, 
     when used in the past, such alternative arrangements have 
     encouraged expedited and successful recovery outcomes.
       (5) A prompt and standardized management response to a 
     catastrophic event, which is also adaptive to the unique 
     characteristics of each catastrophic event, is needed--
       (A) to effectively recover the area damaged by the 
     catastrophic event,
       (B) to minimize the impact on the resources of the area and 
     adjacent communities adversely affected by the catastrophic 
     event; and
       (C) to recover damaged, but still merchantable, material 
     before it loses its economic value.
       (6) Reforestation treatments on forested Federal land after 
     a catastrophic event helps to restore appropriate forest 
     cover, which provides multiple renewable resource benefits, 
     including--
       (A) protecting soil and water resources;
       (B) providing habitat for wildlife and fish;
       (C) contributing to aesthetics and enhancing the 
     recreational experience for visitors;
       (D) providing a future source of timber for domestic use; 
     and
       (E) ensuring the health and resiliency of affected 
     ecosystems for present and future generations.
       (7) According to the Comptroller General, the reforestation 
     backlog for Federal land has increased since 2000 as a result 
     of natural disturbances, such as wildland fires, insect 
     infestations, and diseases.
       (8) Additional scientific and monitoring information is 
     needed regarding the effectiveness of recovery treatments to 
     improve subsequent recovery proposals in response to future 
     catastrophic events.
       (9) State, tribal, and local governments, local 
     communities, and other entities play a critical role in 
     restoring landscapes damaged by a catastrophic event and in 
     reducing the risks associated with the catastrophic event.
       (10) Greater resources and adaptive arrangements must be 
     made available to land managers to facilitate the prompt 
     implementation of recovery treatments, including 
     reforestation, following catastrophic events.

     SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

       In this Act:
       (1) Burned area emergency response.--The term ``burned area 
     emergency response'' means the process used by the Secretary 
     concerned to plan and implement emergency stabilization 
     actions on Federal land in response to a catastrophic event 
     in order to minimize threats to life or property or to 
     stabilize and prevent unacceptable degradation to natural and 
     cultural resources resulting from the effects of the 
     catastrophic event.
       (2) Catastrophic event.--The term ``catastrophic event'' 
     means any natural disaster or any fire, flood, or explosion, 
     regardless of cause, that the Secretary concerned determines 
     has caused or will cause damage of significant severity and 
     magnitude to Federal land or, in the case of title II, non-
     Federal land. A natural disaster may include a hurricane, 
     tornado, windstorm, snow or ice storm, rain storm, high 
     water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, earthquake, volcanic 
     eruption, landslide, mudslide, drought, or insect or disease 
     outbreak.
       (3) Catastrophic event recovery.--The term ``catastrophic 
     event recovery'', with respect to an area of Federal land 
     damaged by a catastrophic event, means--
       (A) if the catastrophic event involved fire, the 
     rehabilitation and restoration activities (other than any 
     emergency stabilization treatments undertaken as part of the 
     burned area emergency response) that are undertaken on the 
     damaged Federal land, including any infrastructure or 
     facilities thereon, in response to the catastrophic event;
       (B) if the catastrophic event did not involve fire, the 
     emergency stabilization and rehabilitation and restoration 
     activities that are undertaken on the damaged Federal land, 
     including infrastructure or facilities thereon, in response 
     to the catastrophic event; or
       (C) the reforestation or revegetation, consistent with the 
     applicable land and resource management plan, of the damaged 
     Federal land in response to the catastrophic event using, to 
     the extent practicable and preferable, native or beneficial 
     plants to avoid creation of plantation forests and the 
     recovery of trees on the damaged Federal land, through the 
     use of timber harvesting and other appropriate methods of 
     forest regeneration.
       (4) Catastrophic event recovery evaluation.--The term 
     ``catastrophic event recovery evaluation'', with respect to 
     an area of Federal land damaged by a catastrophic event, 
     means an evaluation of the damaged Federal land that is 
     conducted in accordance with section 102.
       (5) Catastrophic event recovery proposal.--The term 
     ``catastrophic event recovery proposal'' means the list and 
     brief description of catastrophic event recovery projects, 
     catastrophic event research projects, and pre-approved 
     management practices that are--
       (A) identified as part of the catastrophic event recovery 
     evaluation of an area of Federal land damaged by a 
     catastrophic event; and
       (B) proposed to be undertaken to facilitate the 
     catastrophic event recovery of the area or evaluate the 
     effects and effectiveness of such recovery efforts.
       (6) Catastrophic event recovery project.--The term 
     ``catastrophic event recovery project'' means an individual 
     activity or a series of activities identified in a 
     catastrophic event recovery proposal for an area of Federal 
     land damaged by a catastrophic event and proposed to be 
     undertaken in response to the catastrophic event to promote 
     catastrophic event recovery.
       (7) Catastrophic event research project.--The term 
     ``catastrophic event research project'' means a 
     scientifically designed study of the effects and 
     effectiveness of--
       (A) any catastrophic event recovery projects undertaken in 
     an area of land damaged by a catastrophic event; and
       (B) any emergency stabilization treatments undertaken as 
     part of a burned area emergency response in the area of land 
     damaged by a catastrophic event.
       (8) Community wildfire protection plan.--The term 
     ``community wildfire protection plan'' has the meaning given 
     that term in section 101(3) of the Healthy Forest Restoration 
     Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6511(3)).
       (9) Eligible entity.--The term ``eligible entity'', for 
     purposes of providing assistance under subtitle B of title 
     II, means a State Forester or equivalent State official, an 
     Indian tribe, local government, community-based organization, 
     or other person.
       (10) Federal land.--The term ``Federal land'' means land in 
     the National Forest System and public lands. The term does 
     not include any land contained in a component of the National 
     Wilderness Preservation System or designated as a national 
     monument.
       (11) Indian tribe.--The term ``Indian tribe'' has the 
     meaning given the term in section 4 of the Indian Self-
     Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b).
       (12) Land and resource management plan.--The term ``land 
     and resource management plan'' means--
       (A) a land and resource management plan developed for a 
     unit of the National Forest System under section 6 of the 
     Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 
     (16 U.S.C. 1604); or
       (B) a land use plan developed for an area of the public 
     lands under section 202 of the Federal Land Policy and 
     Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1712).
       (13) Land-grant colleges and universities.--The term 
     ``land-grant colleges and universities'' has the meaning 
     given that term in section 1404(11) of the National 
     Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 
     1977 (7 U.S.C. 3103(11)).
       (14) Landscape assessment.--The term ``landscape 
     assessment'' means an assessment describing catastrophic 
     event conditions and recovery needs and opportunities on non-
     Federal land affected by a catastrophic event and including a 
     list of proposed special recovery projects to address those 
     needs and opportunities.

[[Page H2669]]

       (15) National forest system.--The term ``National Forest 
     System'' has the meaning given that term in section 11(a) of 
     the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 
     1974 (16 U.S.C. 1609(a)).
       (16) Pre-approved management practice.--The term ``pre-
     approved management practice'' means a management practice 
     identified by the Secretary concerned under section 104(a) 
     that may be immediately implemented as part of a catastrophic 
     event recovery project or catastrophic event research project 
     to facilitate the catastrophic event recovery of an area of 
     Federal land damaged by a catastrophic event.
       (17) Public lands.--The term ``public lands'' has the 
     meaning given that term in section 103(e) of the Federal Land 
     Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1702(e)).
       (18) Secretary concerned.--The term ``Secretary concerned'' 
     means--
       (A) the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to National 
     Forest System land; and
       (B) the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to public 
     lands.
       (19) Special recovery project.--The term ``special recovery 
     project'' means an individual activity or a series of 
     activities proposed to be undertaken to rehabilitate, repair, 
     and restore non-Federal land damaged by a catastrophic event, 
     community infrastructure and facilities on the land, and 
     economic, social, and cultural conditions affected by the 
     catastrophic event.

       TITLE I--RESPONSE TO CATASTROPHIC EVENTS ON FEDERAL LANDS

     SEC. 101. DEVELOPMENT OF RESEARCH PROTOCOLS AND USE IN 
                   CATASTROPHIC EVENT RESEARCH PROJECTS.

       (a) Development of Protocols; Purpose.--For the purpose of 
     conducting and evaluating the effectiveness and effects of a 
     catastrophic event recovery project and of emergency 
     stabilization treatments undertaken as part of a burned area 
     emergency response, the Secretary concerned shall develop 
     research protocols consisting of--
       (1) a research approach that is specifically designed to 
     improve knowledge, understanding, and predictive 
     capabilities--
       (A) to increase the long-term benefits of management 
     activities, including natural and artificial regeneration of 
     vegetation; and
       (B) to decrease the short-term impacts of such management 
     activities;
       (2) an appropriate and scientifically sound experimental 
     design or set of sampling procedures; and
       (3) accompanying methods of data analysis and 
     interpretation.
       (b) Peer Review.--The research protocols developed under 
     subsection (a), and any subsequent modification thereof, 
     shall be subject to peer review, including independent, 
     third-party peer review, by scientific and land management 
     experts.
       (c) Time for Completion; Modification.--The research 
     protocols required by this section shall be submitted to 
     Congress not later than 180 days after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act. The Secretary concerned may modify the 
     research protocols, as the Secretary determines necessary, 
     after their submission to Congress. The Secretary concerned 
     shall notify Congress regarding any such modification.
       (d) Catastrophic Event Research Projects.--In accordance 
     with the research protocols developed under this section, the 
     Secretary concerned may conduct one or more catastrophic 
     event research projects in an area of land damaged by a 
     catastrophic event. The Secretary may develop a proposed 
     catastrophic event research project as part of a catastrophic 
     event recovery proposal or develop a catastrophic event 
     research project independently of the catastrophic event 
     recovery proposal during the catastrophic event recovery in 
     response to changing conditions in the area damaged by the 
     catastrophic event.
       (e) Public Access.--
       (1) Protocols.--The Secretary concerned shall make the 
     research protocols developed under subsection (a), including 
     any modification thereof, publicly available, in a form 
     determined to be appropriate by the Secretary.
       (2) Research results.--After completion of the peer review 
     required by subsection (b), the Secretary concerned shall 
     make the results of catastrophic event research projects 
     publicly available, in a form determined to be appropriate by 
     the Secretary.
       (f) Forest Health Partnerships.--In developing and using 
     the research protocols required by this section, the 
     Secretary concerned shall enter into cooperative agreements 
     with land-grant colleges and universities and other 
     institutions of higher education to form forest health 
     partnerships, including regional institutes, to utilize their 
     education, research, and outreach capacity to address the 
     catastrophic event recovery of forested land. A forest health 
     partnership may be aligned with the current network of 
     Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units.

     SEC. 102. CATASTROPHIC EVENT RECOVERY EVALUATIONS.

       (a) Commencement.--
       (1) Evaluation required.--In response to a catastrophic 
     event affecting 1,000 or more acres of Federal land, the 
     Secretary concerned shall conduct a catastrophic event 
     recovery evaluation of the damaged Federal land.
       (2) Evaluation authorized.--If a catastrophic event affects 
     more than 250 acres of Federal land, but less than 1,000 
     acres, the Secretary concerned is authorized, but not 
     required, to conduct a catastrophic event recovery evaluation 
     of the damaged Federal land.
       (b) Time for Commencement.--
       (1) When evaluation required.--When a catastrophic event 
     recovery evaluation is required under subsection (a)(1), the 
     Secretary concerned shall commence the catastrophic event 
     recovery evaluation for the Federal land damaged by the 
     catastrophic event--
       (A) as soon as practicable during or after the conclusion 
     of the catastrophic event to facilitate prompt decision-
     making with regard to the catastrophic event recovery of the 
     damaged Federal land; but
       (B) in no event later than 30 days after the conclusion of 
     the catastrophic event.
       (2) When evaluation discretionary.--When a catastrophic 
     event recovery evaluation is simply discretionary under 
     subsection (a)(2), the Secretary concerned shall make a final 
     decision whether to commence a catastrophic event recovery 
     evaluation for the Federal land damaged by the catastrophic 
     event, and, if the final decision is to commence a 
     catastrophic event recovery evaluation, actually commence the 
     evaluation--
       (A) as soon as practicable during or after the conclusion 
     of the catastrophic event to facilitate prompt decision-
     making with regard to the catastrophic event recovery of the 
     damaged Federal land; but
       (B) in no event later than 30 days after the conclusion of 
     the catastrophic event.
       (c) Completion.--
       (1) Time for completion.--To facilitate prompt 
     implementation of catastrophic event recovery projects on 
     Federal land damaged by a catastrophic event when a 
     catastrophic event recovery evaluation is undertaken under 
     subsection (a), whether because the evaluation is required 
     under paragraph (1) of such subsection or because the 
     Secretary concerned makes a decision to conduct an evaluation 
     under paragraph (2) of such subsection, the Secretary 
     concerned shall complete the catastrophic event recovery 
     evaluation for the damaged Federal land not later than 30 
     days after the date on which Secretary commenced the 
     catastrophic event recovery evaluation.
       (2) Extension.--The Secretary concerned may extend the 
     completion date for a catastrophic event recovery evaluation, 
     on a case-by-case basis, when the Secretary concerned 
     determines that additional time is necessary to evaluate a 
     complex catastrophic event, an on-going catastrophic event, 
     or a series of catastrophic events. Only a single extension 
     may be provided for any catastrophic event recovery 
     evaluation, and the extension shall not be longer than 60 
     days after the date on which the evaluation was otherwise 
     required to be completed under paragraph (1).
       (d) Elements of Catastrophic Event Evaluation.--In 
     conducting the catastrophic event recovery evaluation for an 
     area of Federal land damaged by a catastrophic event, the 
     Secretary concerned shall prepare the following:
       (1) A description of catastrophic event conditions on the 
     damaged Federal land, recovery needs and opportunities, and 
     the areas where management intervention would be helpful to 
     achieve the catastrophic event recovery of the damaged 
     Federal land.
       (2) A preliminary determination of any catastrophic event 
     research projects that best fit the circumstances of the 
     particular catastrophic event environment or would enhance 
     scientific understanding relevant to the damaged area.
       (3) A catastrophic event recovery proposal containing 
     possible catastrophic event recovery projects and 
     catastrophic event research projects for the damaged area and 
     describing the anticipated size and scope of these projects.
       (4) One or more maps detailing the area of damaged Federal 
     land and the location of catastrophic event recovery 
     proposals.
       (5) A preliminary estimate of the funding that would be 
     needed to complete the catastrophic event recovery projects 
     and catastrophic event research projects contained in the 
     catastrophic event recovery proposal.
       (6) A preliminary estimate of the receipts, including 
     receipts from biomass and other forest products, to be 
     derived from the catastrophic event recovery projects and 
     catastrophic event research projects contained in the 
     catastrophic event recovery proposal, and, to the maximum 
     extent practicable, an estimate of revenues likely to be lost 
     if action is not taken in a timely manner.
       (7) A preliminary schedule showing the timing of possible 
     catastrophic event recovery projects and catastrophic event 
     research projects by fiscal year, assuming funding is 
     available to undertake the projects.
       (e) Use of Pre-Approved Management Practices or Emergency 
     Procedures.--
       (1) Determination.--In addition to complying with the 
     requirements specified in subsection (d) for each 
     catastrophic event recovery evaluation, the Secretary 
     concerned shall make a determination of--
       (A) whether or not any pre-approved management practices 
     should be immediately implemented under section 104 to 
     facilitate the catastrophic event recovery of the area 
     covered by the catastrophic event recovery evaluation; and
       (B) whether or not any catastrophic event recovery project 
     or catastrophic event research project, or portion of such a 
     project, contained in the catastrophic event recovery 
     proposal should be developed and carried out using the 
     emergency procedures authorized by section 105.
       (2) Factors.--In making any determination under paragraph 
     (1)(B) to develop and carry out a catastrophic event recovery

[[Page H2670]]

     project or catastrophic event research project, or portion of 
     such a project, using emergency procedures under section 105, 
     the Secretary concerned shall consider at a minimum the 
     following:
       (A) The necessity of promptly responding to the 
     catastrophic event on the damaged Federal land.
       (B) The recovery needs and opportunities identified under 
     subsection (d)(1) with respect to the damaged Federal land.
       (C) The lack of pre-approved management practices 
     authorized by section 104 applicable to the damaged Federal 
     land.
       (D) The threat to public health and safety.
       (E) The likelihood of substantial loss of adjacent private 
     and public property or other substantial economic losses.
       (3) CEQ notification.--The Secretary concerned shall make 
     the determination under paragraph (1) after notification of 
     the Council on Environmental Quality, but the determination 
     remains in the sole discretion of the Secretary.
       (f) Interdisciplinary Approach.--To conduct the 
     catastrophic event recovery evaluation of an area of Federal 
     land damaged by a catastrophic event, the Secretary concerned 
     shall use a systematic, interdisciplinary approach that 
     insures the integrated use of appropriate natural and social 
     sciences.
       (g) Coordination With Other Activities.--
       (1) Related assessment of non-federal land.--The Secretary 
     concerned may combine the preparation of a catastrophic event 
     recovery evaluation of Federal land with the preparation of a 
     landscape assessment for non-Federal land in the vicinity of 
     the damaged Federal land prepared under subtitle B of title 
     II or subsection (c) of section 10A of the Cooperative 
     Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2106c), as added 
     by section 201.
       (2) Related community wildfire protection plans.--During 
     preparation of a catastrophic event recovery evaluation for 
     an area of Federal land damaged by a catastrophic event 
     involving wildfire, the Secretary concerned shall consider 
     post-fire management recommendations, if any, contained in 
     any community wildfire protection plan addressing the damaged 
     Federal land.
       (h) Public Collaboration.--To encourage meaningful 
     participation during the preparation of catastrophic event 
     recovery projects, the Secretary concerned shall facilitate 
     collaboration among State and local governments, Indian 
     tribes, land-grant colleges and universities, and interested 
     persons during the preparation of catastrophic event recovery 
     evaluations and catastrophic event recovery proposals.
       (i) Public Notice.--
       (1) Notice of evaluation.--The Secretary concerned shall 
     provide public notice of each catastrophic event recovery 
     evaluation, including the catastrophic event recovery 
     proposal prepared as part of the evaluation. The notice shall 
     be provided in a form determined to be appropriate by the 
     Secretary concerned.
       (2) Notice of public meetings.--The Secretary concerned 
     shall provide notice of public meetings conducted in 
     connection with a catastrophic event recovery evaluation and 
     the availability of preliminary analyses or documents 
     prepared as part of the evaluation. The notice shall be 
     provided at such times and in such a manner as the Secretary 
     concerned considers appropriate.

     SEC. 103. COMPLIANCE WITH NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT.

       (a) Compliance Required.--Except as provided in subsection 
     (b), the Secretary concerned shall comply with the National 
     Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4331 et seq.), 
     its implementing regulations, and other applicable laws in 
     designing and conducting catastrophic event recovery projects 
     and catastrophic event research projects.
       (b) Satisfaction of NEPA Requirements.--The following 
     activities are deemed to satisfy the requirements of section 
     102 of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 
     U.S.C. 4332 et seq.) and its implementing regulations:
       (1) The preparation of the list of pre-approved management 
     practices under section 104.
       (2) The use of pre-approved management practices on the 
     list in the manner provided in section 104.
       (3) The use of emergency procedures in the manner provided 
     in section 105.

     SEC. 104. AVAILABILITY AND USE OF PRE-APPROVED MANAGEMENT 
                   PRACTICES.

       (a) List of Available Pre-Approved Management Practices.--
     The Secretary concerned shall prepare a list of management 
     practices, by forest type or plant association group, that 
     may be immediately implemented as part of a catastrophic 
     event recovery project or catastrophic event research project 
     to facilitate the catastrophic event recovery of an area of 
     Federal land damaged by a catastrophic event. The list of 
     pre-approved management practices shall be prepared using 
     notice and comment rule making under section 553 of title 5, 
     United States Code.
       (b) Peer Review.--Before a management practice may be 
     included on the list of pre-approved management practices, 
     the management practice shall be subject to peer review, 
     including independent, third-party peer review, by scientific 
     and land management experts. The results of the peer review 
     shall be available to the public during the comment period.
       (c) Revision or Amendment of List.--The Secretary concerned 
     may amend or revise the list of pre-approved management 
     practices as necessary whenever new scientific and managerial 
     information becomes available. Subsections (a) and (b) shall 
     apply to the amendment or revision process.
       (d) Use for Certain Activities Prohibited.--
       (1) Road construction.--A pre-approved management practice 
     may not authorize any permanent road building. Any temporary 
     road constructed as part of a pre-approved management 
     practice shall be obliterated upon conclusion of the practice 
     and the road area restored to the extent practicable.
       (2) Timber harvesting.--Timber harvesting carried out as 
     part of a pre-approved management practice shall be limited 
     to trees--
       (A) that are already down, dead, broken, or severely root 
     sprung;
       (B) regarding which mortality is highly probable within 
     five years after the end of the catastrophic event; or
       (C) that are required to be removed for worker or public 
     safety.
       (e) Compliance With Other Laws.--
       (1) ESA consultation.--In the case of the proposed use of a 
     pre-approved management practice included on the list 
     prepared under subsection (a), the Secretary concerned may 
     use the emergency procedures described in section 402.05 of 
     title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, to comply with section 
     7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536). At 
     the conclusion of the consultation, the statement required by 
     subsection (b)(4) of such section shall be issued for any 
     incidental taking that may occur while using the pre-approved 
     management practice, which shall be effective beginning on 
     the date the Secretary concerned initiates the practice and 
     shall apply to all persons assisting or cooperating with the 
     Secretary in using the practice.
       (2) Other required consultation.--Any consultation required 
     under other laws, such as the National Historic Preservation 
     Act (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.), may proceed simultaneously with 
     the implementation of a pre-approved management practice. 
     Results of consultation shall be immediately incorporated 
     into the practice, to the extent feasible, practical, and 
     consistent with the response, recovery, and rehabilitation 
     objectives of the project.
       (3) Federal water pollution control act compliance.--
     Compliance with any applicable requirements of the Federal 
     Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) may 
     proceed simultaneously with the implementation of a pre-
     approved management practice.
       (f) Issuance of Decision Document.--Not later than 30 days 
     after the date on which the Secretary concerned makes the 
     determination under section 102(e) to use a pre-approved 
     management practice to facilitate the catastrophic event 
     recovery of an area of Federal land damaged by a catastrophic 
     event, the Secretary concerned shall issue a concise decision 
     document that contains the following:
       (1) A description of the pre-approved management practice 
     to be implemented.
       (2) The rationale for the agency decision.
       (3) An economic analysis and justification.
       (4) An analysis of the environmental effects of the pre-
     approved management practice and how such effects will be 
     minimized or mitigated consistent with the applicable land 
     and resource management plan. As part of this analysis, the 
     Secretary concerned shall consider, to the extent the 
     Secretary concerned determines appropriate, forest type or 
     plant association group, standing- and down-dead wood, 
     watershed, water quality, wildlife habitat, and soils 
     applicable to the damaged Federal land.
       (g) Immediate Implementation.--The Secretary concerned 
     shall implement a pre-approved management practice 
     immediately after the issuance of the decision document under 
     subsection (f), subject only to the availability of funds for 
     the practice.
       (h) Monitoring.--To monitor the implementation of a pre-
     approved management practice, the Secretary concerned may 
     establish a third-party monitoring group, as determined to be 
     appropriate by the Secretary.

     SEC. 105. AVAILABILITY AND USE OF EMERGENCY PROCEDURES.

       (a) Limited Consideration of Alternatives.--If the 
     Secretary concerned determines under section 102(e) to 
     utilize emergency procedures to conduct a catastrophic event 
     recovery project or catastrophic event research project, or 
     portion of such a project, the Secretary concerned is not 
     required to study, develop, or describe more than the 
     proposed agency action and the alternative of no action in 
     designing that project or the portion of the project for 
     which the emergency procedures are utilized.
       (b) Use for Certain Activities Prohibited.--
       (1) Road construction.--Emergency procedures under this 
     section may not be used to design or conduct a catastrophic 
     event recovery project or catastrophic event research 
     project, or portion of such a project, that provides for any 
     permanent road building. Any temporary road constructed as 
     part of the project shall be obliterated upon completion of 
     the project and the road area restored to the extent 
     practicable.
       (2) Timber harvesting.--Timber harvesting carried out as 
     part of a catastrophic event recovery project or catastrophic 
     event research project, or portion of such a project, for 
     which emergency procedures under this section were used shall 
     be limited to trees--
       (A) that are already down, dead, broken, or severely root 
     sprung;

[[Page H2671]]

       (B) regarding which mortality is highly probable within 
     five years after the end of the catastrophic event; or
       (C) that are required to be removed for worker or public 
     safety.
       (c) Compliance With Other Laws.--
       (1) ESA consultation.--In the case of a catastrophic event 
     recovery project or catastrophic event research project, or 
     portion of such a project, for which emergency procedures 
     under this section are used, the Secretary concerned may use 
     the procedures described in section 402.05 of title 50, Code 
     of Federal Regulations, to comply with section 7 of the 
     Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536). At the 
     conclusion of the consultation, the statement required by 
     subsection (b)(4) of such section shall be issued for any 
     incidental taking that may occur under the project, which 
     shall be effective beginning on the date the Secretary 
     concerned initiates action under the project and shall apply 
     to all persons assisting or cooperating with the Secretary 
     under the project.
       (2) Other required consultation.--Any consultation required 
     under other laws, such as the National Historic Preservation 
     Act (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.), may proceed simultaneously with 
     the design of a catastrophic event recovery project or 
     catastrophic event research project, or portion of such a 
     project, for which emergency procedures under this section 
     are used. Results of consultation shall be immediately 
     incorporated into the project, to the extent feasible, 
     practical, and consistent with the response, recovery, and 
     rehabilitation objectives of the project.
       (3) Federal water pollution control act compliance.--
     Compliance with any applicable requirements of the Federal 
     Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) may 
     proceed simultaneously with the design of a catastrophic 
     event recovery project or catastrophic event research 
     project, or portion of such a project, for which emergency 
     procedures under this section are used.
       (d) Completion of Emergency Procedures and Issuance of 
     Decision Document.--Not later than 90 days after the date on 
     which the Secretary concerned makes the determination under 
     section 102(e) to develop and carry out a catastrophic event 
     recovery project or catastrophic event research project, or 
     portion of such a project, using emergency procedures, the 
     Secretary concerned shall--
       (1) complete the emergency procedures for that catastrophic 
     event recovery project or catastrophic event research 
     project, or portion thereof, under this section; and
       (2) issue a concise decision document that contains the 
     following:
       (A) The rationale for the agency decision.
       (B) An economic analysis and justification.
       (C) An analysis of the environmental effects of the project 
     and how such effects will be minimized or mitigated 
     consistent with the applicable land and resource management 
     plan. As part of this analysis, the Secretary concerned shall 
     consider, to the extent the Secretary concerned determines 
     appropriate, forest type or plant association group, 
     standing- and down-dead wood, watershed, water quality, 
     wildlife habitat, and soils applicable to the damaged Federal 
     land.
       (e) Immediate Implementation.--In the case of a 
     catastrophic event recovery project or catastrophic event 
     research project, or portion of such a project, for which the 
     emergency procedures authorized by this section are used, the 
     Secretary concerned shall implement the project, or portion 
     of the project, immediately after the issuance of the 
     decision document under subsection (d), subject only to the 
     availability of funds for the project.
       (f) Monitoring.--To monitor a catastrophic event recovery 
     project or catastrophic event research project, or portion of 
     such a project, for which the emergency procedures authorized 
     by this section were used, the Secretary concerned may 
     establish a third-party monitoring group, as determined to be 
     appropriate by the Secretary.

     SEC. 106. ADMINISTRATIVE AND JUDICIAL REVIEW.

       (a) Administrative Review Generally.--Except as provided in 
     subsection (b), nothing in this title affects--
       (1) the notice, comment, and appeal requirements of section 
     322 of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies 
     Appropriations Act, 1993 (Public 102-381; 16 U.S.C. 1612 
     note); and
       (2) section 215 of title 36, Code of Federal Regulations.
       (b) Predecisional Administrative Notice, Comment, and 
     Review.--
       (1) Interim final regulations.--Not later than 60 days 
     after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of 
     Agriculture shall promulgate interim final regulations to 
     establish a predecisional administrative review process that 
     will serve as the sole means by which--
       (A) the Secretary of Agriculture will provide notice of and 
     solicit comments regarding--
       (i) the proposed use of a pre-approved management practice 
     under section 104 on National Forest System land; and
       (ii) a catastrophic event recovery project or catastrophic 
     event research project, or portion of such a project, for 
     which the emergency procedures under section 105 are used on 
     National Forest System land; and
       (B) a person can seek administrative review regarding--
       (i) the proposed use of a pre-approved management practice 
     under section 104 on National Forest System land; and
       (ii) a catastrophic event recovery project or catastrophic 
     event research project, or portion of such a project, for 
     which the emergency procedures under section 105 are used on 
     National Forest System land.
       (2) Period covered by review process.--The review portion 
     of the predecisional administrative review process described 
     in paragraph (1)(B) shall occur during the period--
       (A) beginning on the date on which the Secretary of 
     Agriculture makes a determination to use pre-approved 
     management practices or emergency procedures under section 
     102(e); and
       (B) ending not later than the date of the issuance of 
     applicable decision document under section 104 or 105.
       (3) Effective date.--The interim final regulations 
     promulgated under paragraph (1) shall take effect on the date 
     of promulgation of the regulations.
       (4) Final regulations.--The Secretary of Agriculture shall 
     promulgate final regulations to establish the predecisional 
     administrative review process described in paragraph (1) as 
     soon as practicable after the interim final regulations have 
     been promulgated and a reasonable period of time has been 
     provided for public comment.
       (c) Judicial Review.--Section 106 of the Healthy Forests 
     Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6516) shall apply with 
     respect to the implementation of a pre-approved management 
     practice under section 104 or a catastrophic event recovery 
     project or catastrophic event research project regarding 
     which the applicable administrative review process has been 
     exhausted. In any proceeding for judicial review of agency 
     action under this subsection, attorney fees awarded to a 
     prevailing party may not exceed the hourly rates established 
     in section 3006A of title 18, United States Code.

     SEC. 107. GUIDANCE REGARDING REFORESTATION IN RESPONSE TO 
                   CATASTROPHIC EVENTS.

       Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of 
     this Act, the Secretary concerned shall--
       (1) standardize the collection, reporting, and review 
     procedures for data regarding more aggressive, expedited, and 
     comprehensive reforestation in response to catastrophic 
     events by clarifying agency-wide guidance and developing 
     standard protocols for determining when and how reforestation 
     can be best achieved as part of the response to catastrophic 
     events;
       (2) clarify agency-wide guidance regarding reforestation in 
     response to catastrophic events to ensure that such guidance 
     is consistent with agency goals and budget constraints; and
       (3) clarify agency-wide guidance regarding the development, 
     during the revision of a land and resource management plan, 
     of goals and objectives for catastrophic event recovery to 
     ensure that such guidance addresses catastrophic event 
     recovery objectives, by forest type or plant association 
     group, related to standing- and down-dead wood, soil and 
     watershed protection, wildlife habitat, and other resource 
     values.

     SEC. 108. EFFECT OF TITLE.

       (a) Use of Other Authorities.--Nothing in this title 
     affects the use by the Secretary concerned of other statutory 
     or administrative authority, including categorical exclusions 
     adopted to implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 
     1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), to conduct a catastrophic 
     event recovery project or catastrophic event research 
     project, or portion of such a project, that is not conducted 
     using the emergency procedures authorized by section 105.
       (b) Preference for Local Operators.--In the manner provided 
     in section 420 of the Department of the Interior, 
     Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006 
     (Public Law 109-54; 119 Stat. 553), the Secretary concerned 
     may give consideration to local contractors in awarding a 
     Federal contract to implement--
       (1) a pre-approved management practice under section 104; 
     or
       (2) a catastrophic event recovery project or catastrophic 
     event research project, or portions of such a project, for 
     which the emergency procedures under section 105 are used.
       (c) Advisory Committees.--The Federal Advisory Committee 
     Act (5 U.S.C. App.) and title XVIII of the Food and 
     Agriculture Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 2281 et seq.) shall not 
     apply to--
       (1) the peer review provided by scientific and land 
     management experts under section 101(b) or 104(b);
       (2) the monitoring process under section 104(h) or 105(f); 
     and
       (3) the preparation of a catastrophic event recovery 
     evaluation or catastrophic event recovery proposal.

     SEC. 109. STANDARDS FOR TREE RETENTION.

       (a) Standing Dead Trees and Downed Wood.--In planning or 
     conducting any catastrophic event recovery project or 
     catastrophic event research project, the Secretary concerned 
     shall ensure that--
       (1) standing dead tree and downed wood retention guidelines 
     contained in the applicable land and resource management plan 
     are applied; or
       (2) if the applicable land and resource management plan 
     does not contain standing dead tree and downed wood retention 
     guidelines, adequate standing dead trees and downed wood of 
     the oldest age class are retained in the project area--
       (A) to provide habitat for associated species through 
     various stages of forest development;

[[Page H2672]]

       (B) to provide a long-term nutrient source; and
       (C) to retain, to the extent practicable and appropriate 
     for forest type and plant association group, the more decay-
     resistant species.
       (b) Exception.--Subsection (a) shall not apply if the 
     Secretary concerned determines that science from land-grant 
     colleges and universities or a Forest Service Research 
     Station provides more appropriate standing dead tree and 
     downed wood retention guidelines for a particular 
     catastrophic event recovery project or catastrophic event 
     research project.
       (c) Plan Amendment.--The Secretary concerned may amend a 
     land and resource management plan to incorporate standing 
     dead tree and downed wood retention guidelines, specific to 
     forest type or plant association group.

TITLE II--RESTORING LANDSCAPES AND COMMUNITIES IMPACTED BY CATASTROPHIC 
                                 EVENTS

        Subtitle A--Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978

     SEC. 201. ASSISTANCE UNDER COOPERATIVE FORESTRY ASSISTANCE 
                   ACT OF 1978 TO RESTORE LANDSCAPES AND 
                   COMMUNITIES AFFECTED BY CATASTROPHIC EVENTS.

       (a) Assistance Authorized.--Section 10A of the Cooperative 
     Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2106c) is 
     amended--
       (1) by redesignating subsections (c) and (d) as subsections 
     (d) and (e), respectively; and
       (2) by inserting after subsection (b) the following new 
     subsection:
       ``(c) Response to Catastrophic Events Affecting Non-Federal 
     Lands.--
       ``(1) Landscape assessments.--At the request of an eligible 
     entity, the Secretary may cooperate with the eligible entity 
     in the preparation of a landscape assessment for non-Federal 
     lands affected by a catastrophic event. The Secretary may 
     combine the preparation of a landscape assessment with the 
     preparation of a catastrophic event recovery evaluation under 
     title I of the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act 
     regarding Federal land in the vicinity of the damaged non-
     Federal land.
       ``(2) Community assessments.--At the request of an eligible 
     entity affected by a catastrophic event, the Secretary may 
     cooperate with the eligible entity in the preparation of a 
     community wildfire protection plan or related plan.
       ``(3) Decision to provide assessment assistance.--In 
     response to the request of an eligible entity for assistance 
     under paragraph (1) or (2), the Secretary shall make a 
     decision, within 30 days after receiving the request, whether 
     or not to provide such assistance. The decision rests in the 
     sole discretion of the Secretary, but, if the Secretary 
     rejects the request for assistance, the Secretary shall 
     provide the eligible entity with an explanation of the 
     reasons for the rejection.
       ``(4) Types of assistance.--The Secretary concerned may 
     provide technical and financial cost-share assistance to an 
     eligible entity--
       ``(A) to assist in the preparation of a landscape 
     assessment under paragraph (1) or a community wildfire 
     protection plan, community assessment, or community action 
     plan under paragraph (2); and
       ``(B) to implement special recovery projects identified in 
     the landscape assessment or community wildfire protection 
     plan, community assessment, or community action plan.
       ``(5) Special recovery projects.--Special recovery projects 
     supported under paragraph (4)(B) may include projects 
     involving--
       ``(A) revegetation, tree planting, and other management 
     practices the Secretary determines to be appropriate;
       ``(B) developing products from and markets for timber 
     harvested in response to a catastrophic event and remaining 
     forest resources;
       ``(C) training for the local populace for work in 
     connection with catastrophic event recovery;
       ``(D) repair of forest roads, bridges, and trails and water 
     supply areas affected by a catastrophic event; and
       ``(E) such other activities as the Secretary determines to 
     be necessary to undertake the special recovery project.
       ``(6) Additional funding sources.--Amounts appropriated to 
     the Secretary to carry out sections 8 and 10 may be used to 
     provide assistance under this subsection.
       ``(7) Definitions.--In this subsection:
       ``(A) The term `eligible entity' means a State Forester or 
     equivalent State official, an Indian tribe, or local 
     government. The term may include community-based 
     organizations and other persons working in conjunction with a 
     State Forester or equivalent State official, an Indian tribe, 
     or local government.
       ``(B) The terms `catastrophic event', `landscape 
     assessment', and `special recovery project' have the meanings 
     given those terms in section 3 of the Forest Emergency 
     Recovery and Research Act.
       ``(C) The term `community wildfire protection plan' has the 
     meaning given that term in section 101(3) of the Healthy 
     Forest Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6511(3)).''.
       (b) Clerical Amendment.--The heading of such section is 
     amended by inserting before the period at the end the 
     following: ``AND RESPONSE TO CATASTROPHIC EVENTS''.

           Subtitle B--Department of the Interior Assistance

     SEC. 211. RESTORING LANDSCAPES.

       (a) Landscape Assessments.--At the request of an eligible 
     entity, the Secretary of the Interior may cooperate with the 
     eligible entity in the preparation of a landscape assessment 
     for non-Federal lands affected by a catastrophic event. The 
     Secretary may combine the preparation of a landscape 
     assessment with the preparation of a catastrophic event 
     recovery evaluation under title I regarding Federal land in 
     the vicinity of the damaged non-Federal land.
       (b) Decision to Provide Assessment Assistance.--In response 
     to the request of an eligible entity for assistance under 
     subsection (a), the Secretary of the Interior shall make a 
     decision, within 30 days after receiving the request, whether 
     or not to provide such assistance. The decision rests in the 
     sole discretion of the Secretary, but, if the Secretary 
     rejects the request for assistance, the Secretary shall 
     provide the eligible entity with an explanation of the 
     reasons for the rejection.
       (c) Types of Assistance.--The Secretary of the Interior may 
     provide technical and financial cost-share assistance to an 
     eligible entity--
       (1) to assist in the preparation of a landscape assessment; 
     and
       (2) to implement special recovery projects identified in 
     the landscape assessment.
       (d) Special Recovery Projects.--The Secretary of the 
     Interior may provide assistance under subsection (c)(2) for 
     special recovery projects, including revegetation, tree 
     planting, and other practices the Secretary determines to be 
     appropriate.

     SEC. 212. RESTORING COMMUNITIES.

       (a) Community Assessments.--At the request of an eligible 
     entity affected by a catastrophic event, the Secretary of the 
     Interior may cooperate with the eligible entity in the 
     preparation of a community wildfire protection plan or 
     related plan.
       (b) Decision to Provide Assessment Assistance.--In response 
     to the request of an eligible entity for assistance under 
     subsection (a), the Secretary of the Interior shall make a 
     decision, within 30 days after receiving the request, whether 
     or not to provide such assistance. The decision rests in the 
     sole discretion of the Secretary, but, if the Secretary 
     rejects the request for assistance, the Secretary shall 
     provide the eligible entity with an explanation of the 
     reasons for the rejection.
       (c) Types of Assistance.--The Secretary of the Interior may 
     provide technical and financial cost-share assistance to an 
     eligible entity--
       (1) to assist in the preparation of development of a 
     community wildfire protection plan, a community assessment, 
     or a community action plan; and
       (2) to implement special recovery projects identified in a 
     community wildfire protection plan, a community assessment, 
     or a community action plan.
       (d) Special Recovery Projects.--Special recovery projects 
     supported under subsection (c)(2) may include projects 
     involving--
       (1) developing products from and markets for timber 
     harvested in response to a catastrophic event and remaining 
     forest resources;
       (2) training for the local populace for work in connection 
     with catastrophic event recovery;
       (3) repair of forest roads, bridges, and trails and water 
     supply areas affected by a catastrophic event; and
       (4) such other activities as the Secretary determines to be 
     necessary to undertake the special recovery project.

                    TITLE III--EXPERIMENTAL FORESTS

     SEC. 301. FINDINGS.

       Congress finds the following:
       (1) The experimental forests established pursuant to 
     section 4 of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources 
     Research Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 1643) or the organic 
     administrative authorities of the Secretary of Agriculture 
     (16 U.S.C. 551) serve as a natural laboratory for the Forest 
     Service to evaluate management practices generally and 
     specific responses to catastrophic events that can be 
     eventually used throughout the National Forest System.
       (2) To build upon the knowledge base to be developed using 
     catastrophic events research projects conducted under title 
     I, the Secretary of Agriculture should be authorized to use 
     the same authorities provided under sections 104 and 105 to 
     design and carry out projects in the experimental forests.

     SEC. 302. AVAILABILITY AND USE OF PRE-APPROVED MANAGEMENT 
                   PRACTICES ON NATIONAL FOREST EXPERIMENTAL 
                   FORESTS.

       Management practices included on the list of pre-approved 
     management practices prepared under subsection (a) of section 
     104 may be implemented, in the manner provided by such 
     section, in an experimental forest established pursuant to 
     section 4 of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources 
     Research Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 1643) or the organic 
     administrative authorities of the Secretary of Agriculture 
     (16 U.S.C. 551).

     SEC. 303. LIMITED CONSIDERATION OF ALTERNATIVES FOR PROJECTS 
                   ON NATIONAL FOREST EXPERIMENTAL FORESTS.

       Section 105(a) shall apply with respect to any individual 
     activity or a series of activities proposed to be undertaken 
     in an experimental forest established pursuant to section 4 
     of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Research Act 
     of 1978 (16

[[Page H2673]]

     U.S.C. 1643) or the organic administrative authorities of the 
     Secretary of Agriculture (16 U.S.C. 551).

                      TITLE IV--GENERAL PROVISIONS

     SEC. 401. REGULATIONS.

       Except as provided in section 106(b), the Secretary 
     concerned is not required to promulgate regulations to 
     implement this Act.

     SEC. 402. DEDICATED SOURCE OF FUNDS FOR RESEARCH AND 
                   MONITORING.

       (a) Special Account.--The Secretary of the Treasury shall 
     establish a special account in the Treasury for each 
     Secretary concerned.
       (b) Deposits.--Ten percent of the gross proceeds derived by 
     the Secretary concerned from catastrophic event recovery 
     projects and catastrophic event research projects conducted 
     by the Secretary concerned under title I shall--
       (1) be deposited in the special account established for 
     that Secretary; and
       (2) remain available, without further appropriation and 
     until expended, for expenditure as provided in subsection 
     (c).
       (c) Research-Related Use of Special Accounts.--The 
     Secretary concerned shall use amounts in the special account 
     established for that Secretary--
       (1) to develop research protocols under section 101;
       (2) to prepare and implement catastrophic event research 
     projects; and
       (3) to provide for monitoring under sections 104 and 105.
       (d) Relation to Other Funds.--Amounts in the special 
     account established for the Secretary concerned are in 
     addition to other amounts available to that Secretary for the 
     purposes described in subsection (c).

     SEC. 403. OTHER FUNDING SOURCES.

       (a) Availability of Knutson-Vandenberg Funds.--Section 3 of 
     the Act of June 9, 1930 (commonly known as the Knutson-
     Vandenberg Act; 16 U.S.C. 576b), is amended--
       (1) by striking ``Such deposits shall be covered'' and 
     inserting the following:
       ``(b) Amounts deposited under subsection (a) shall be 
     covered'';
       (2) by inserting after ``national park.'' the following new 
     sentence: ``The Secretary of Agriculture may also use excess 
     amounts to cover the costs of activities of the Secretary 
     under title I of the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research 
     Act.''; and
       (3) in subsection (c)--
       (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``and'';
       (B) by redesignating paragraph (2) as paragraph (3); and
       (C) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following new 
     paragraph:
       ``(2) the excess amounts will not be needed for activities 
     of the Secretary under title I of the Forest Emergency 
     Recovery and Research Act during the fiscal year in which the 
     transfer would be made; and''.
       (b) Availability of Forest Service Salvage Sale Funds.--
     Section 14(h) of the National Forest Management Act of 1976 
     (16 U.S.C. 472a(h)) is amended--
       (1) in the fourth sentence, by inserting after ``the 
     purposes for which deposited'' the following: ``and to cover 
     the costs of activities of the Secretary under title I of the 
     Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act''; and
       (2) in last proviso, by striking ``for which deposited on 
     any national forest'' and inserting ``for which deposits of 
     money are available under this subsection''.
       (c) Availability of BLM Revolving Fund Derived From 
     Disposal of Salvage Timber.--The first paragraph under the 
     headings ``Forest Ecosystems Health and Recovery'' and 
     ``revolving fund, special account'' in title I of the 
     Department of the Interior and Related Agencies 
     Appropriations Act, 1993 (Public Law 102-381; 106 Stat. 1376; 
     43 U.S.C. 1736a), is amended by adding at the end the 
     following new sentence: ``The money in this fund shall 
     likewise be immediately available to cover the costs of 
     activities of the Bureau of Land Management under title I of 
     the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act.''.

     SEC. 404. EFFECT OF DECLARATION OF MAJOR DISASTER OR 
                   EMERGENCY.

       (a) Availability of Funds.--If an area of non-Federal land 
     damaged by a catastrophic event is also covered by a 
     declaration by the President under section 401 or 501 of the 
     Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance 
     Act (42 U.S.C. 5170, 5191) that a major disaster or emergency 
     exists, the Director of Federal Emergency Management Agency 
     may use funds available for activities under that Act to 
     reimburse the Secretary concerned for assistance in that area 
     provided under--
       (1) subtitle B of title II; or
       (2) subsection (c) of section 10A of the Cooperative 
     Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2106c), as added 
     by section 201.
       (b) Limitation.--Reimbursements under subsection (a) shall 
     be limited to those activities authorized under the Robert T. 
     Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 
     U.S.C. 5122 et seq.) for which assistance under paragraph (1) 
     or (2) of such subsection is provided.

  The Acting CHAIRMAN. No amendment to that amendment shall be in order 
except those printed in House Report 109-467. Each amendment may be 
offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by 
a Member designated in the report, shall be considered read, debatable 
for the time specified in the report, equally divided and controlled by 
the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and 
shall not be subject to a demand for a division of the question.


                 Amendment No. 1 Offered by Mr. Rahall

  Mr. RAHALL. Madam Chairman, I offer an amendment.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Amendment No. 1 printed in House Report 109-467 offered by 
     Mr. Rahall:
       Strike section 103 (page 23, line 14, through page 24, line 
     9) and insert the following:

     SEC. 103. COMPLIANCE WITH NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT.

       The Secretary concerned shall comply with the National 
     Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4331 et seq.), 
     its implementing regulations, and other applicable laws in 
     designing and conducting catastrophic event recovery projects 
     and catastrophic event research projects.
       Strike section 104(e) (page 26, line 3, through page 27, 
     line 8).
       Strike section 105(c) (page 30, line 1, through page 31, 
     line 11).

  The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 816, the gentleman 
from West Virginia (Mr. Rahall) and a Member opposed each will control 
5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from West Virginia.
  Mr. RAHALL. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Madam Chair, I would like to begin by observing that I strongly share 
the view of the gentleman from New Mexico and our colleague, a very 
valued member of the Resources Committee, Mr. Tom Udall, that the 
pending measure is totally unnecessary and seriously deficient and 
should not be approved by this body.
  With that noted, the amendment I am offering is simple and it is 
straightforward. It would strike from H.R. 4200 its most egregious 
provisions which ride roughshod over the National Environmental Policy 
Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Historic Preservation 
Act, and the Clean Water Act.
  These unwarranted assaults on our Nation's premier conservation laws 
under the guise of enhancing forest management should be an 
embarrassment to this body, to this House of Representatives.
  Should this body prove the pending measure, the result would be a 
weakening of existing law in the form of NEPA, a law that is meant to 
ensure public participation in actions by the Federal Government.
  The American public is already in an uproar over this 
administration's penchant for surveillance of their phone conversations 
and e-mail transactions. Now we are going to say to American taxpayers 
that they cannot even participate in proposed Federal actions that 
directly affect them? What message is this sending?
  Did George Orwell really have it right when he wrote the book, 
``1984'' back in 1949, in which he penned and I quote, ``If you want to 
picture the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever.''
  I would note that the sponsor of the pending legislation, the 
gentleman from Oregon, is very passionate about this matter and I 
certainly respect that. Yesterday during the Rules Committee's 
consideration of this bill he described my amendment as one that would 
gut the bill. I, on the other hand, firmly believe that Americans 
cherish the Clean Water Act and do not want its application waived. I 
also believe that Americans believe they should have a say under the 
National Environmental Policy Act on major Federal actions impacting 
their lives. Obviously, the gentleman from Oregon and I have a very 
different view of America.
  And the gulf which divides us on this issue makes for a very clear 
vote in the House of Representatives today on this amendment. The 
pending measure also constitutes a direct assault on the ESA. It 
legislatively directs that an incidental take permit be issued without 
limitation, no ifs, no ands, no buts about it, regardless of the 
impacts of the salvaging operation on endangered species. This is not 
fair play. This is draconian.
  Finally, my amendment would strike provisions of the pending measure 
involving compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act. I 
would ask the question: Are we to sacrifice our country's past, our 
national heritage, on the altar of something like salvage logging?

[[Page H2674]]

  Let us send the proper message to the people of this Nation today. 
Regardless of how Members view the remaining part of the pending 
measure, let us first vote to ensure that the public's right to 
participate in proposed Federal actions is preserved, and that our 
country's fundamental conservation laws will remain in place. I urge 
adoption of the amendment.
  Madam Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. Does any Member rise in opposition to the 
amendment?
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Why, Madam Chairman, indeed I do. I rise in 
opposition and seek the time.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. I would like to take a moment to outline just 
how Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act complies with the NEPA 
standards and often exceeds those standards.
  The Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act requires public 
notice, public collaboration, and an opportunity for the public to 
object to any proposed action. Read the bill: Pages 22, 23, 24, 25, 33, 
and 34. It is right there in black and white.
  The judicial review requirement under this bill is identical to those 
in the Healthy Forest Restoration Act which Congress passed last year. 
See page 35. Now, we actually passed that a couple years ago, and I 
know my friend and colleague from West Virginia voted against it when 
it was in the House and voted against the conference report when it 
came back. So it is no surprise because he doesn't like this bill 
because he hated the Healthy Forest Restoration Act even after the 
Senate voice-voted it, as did my colleague from New Mexico, Mr. Udall, 
opposed the Healthy Forest Restoration Act. So some of the same people 
who are here today saying we are going to do all these awful things 
said the same thing a couple years ago when we passed the Healthy 
Forest Restoration Act. Ironically, some of those same Members now say, 
oh, we are not fully implementing the Healthy Forest Restoration Act 
and we should be doing more on that. We wouldn't have it if they had 
been in charge because they voted against it every time they had an 
opportunity.

                              {time}  1300

  The Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act also requires 
disclosure of the decision rationale, economic analysis, and analysis 
of the environmental effects of the project which leads to a very 
transparent agency process, page 32. We require independent, third-
party, scientific peer review of recovery practices. See page 13 and 
page 24.
  These are just a few examples of how this legislation complies with 
the intent of NEPA, and if the agency fails to comply with all these 
things, we prescribe in the law they can be sued. If they fail to 
comply with the very laws that have been identified by my colleague, 
they can be sued.
  These projects can be halted. We do not say do anything you want, 
notwithstanding any other Federal law, including all the ones you have 
heard listed repeatedly. Those laws still have to be complied with.
  Currently there are bills that actually go further than where this 
bill goes. They would waive environmental documentation altogether. My 
friend and colleague, the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Udall), one of 
the most vocal critics of this legislation, has introduced H.R. 4875, 
which, through categorical exclusion, would waive environmental 
documentation completely for insect emergency areas in Colorado. We do 
not do that here.
  I read where one of the opponents of this legislation worked on the 
sale in the Biscuit fire, and said we do not need this bill, we did 16 
million boardfeet of harvest, and we did it using existing laws. Yeah, 
they used a categorical exclusion which you cannot even do now.
  We have a balanced bill here. It involves the public. It tracks with 
what we did with the Healthy Forest Restoration Act to allow for free 
decisional appeals and for judicial appeal.
  It is backed by all kinds of groups that love to be in the outdoors, 
the Bear Trust International, Boone and Crockett Club, the Bow Hunting 
Preservation Alliance, the Archery Trade, the Congressional Sportsmen 
Caucus, you go through it, people are out there enjoying the woods, the 
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Deer Management Association, and 
professional firefighters groups and the Society of American Foresters.
  We are trying to give our Federal land managers the troops that our 
State and tribal land managers have, and we are trying to allow them to 
be able to move quicker and still involve the public because this 
Member of Congress believes fundamentally the public should have the 
right to appeal a decision of the government, and this bill allows 
that.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  As I conclude, the bottom line here is whether we are for NEPA or 
whether we are against it, whether we are for the Clean Water Act or 
whether we are against it, whether we are for the historic preservation 
laws of our land or whether we are against them, whether we are for the 
Endangered Species Act or whether we are against it.
  We have got to be for these premier preservation laws that have 
guided our country so well over many years. We cannot willy-nilly pick 
at the edges and try to exempt special-interest groups on every piece 
of legislation that the Republican leadership in this body wants to 
consider. We cannot continue to do that or we will not have any of it.
  Let us make that decision, whether we are going to have these laws or 
whether we are not going to have these laws.
  This amendment is an effort to preserve NEPA and all of our premier 
conservation laws that have worked so well for our country and for our 
future generations. I would urge adoption of my amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back my time.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman 
from Minnesota (Mr. Oberstar).
  Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding, 
especially under these time constraints.
  On July 4, 1999, a powerful storm, 100-mile-an-hour winds, blew 
through the boundary waters canoe area of the Superior National Forest 
in my district, blew down 26 million trees over a huge area. The loss 
was estimated somewhere between $12 million and $18 million in timber 
value, but the problem was cleanup.
  The State, the county all were able to get in and clean up their 
lands within weeks, but I had to take the supervisor of the Superior 
National Forest out here to Washington, meet with the Council on 
Environmental Quality, with the chairman of the appropriations 
subcommittee, gentleman from Ohio, and work things out laboriously; 
took us months to get that salvage operation by the Federal Government 
under way to protect the homes and residences and resorts outside the 
wilderness area along the Gunflint Trail to be protected against fire. 
This legislation will help us move that along.
  Mr. Chairman, on July 4, 1999, a widespread convective windstorm 
called a ``derecho'' swept across the arrowhead region of northeastern 
Minnesota. The straight line winds reached 90 to 100 miles an hour, 
causing serious damage to nearly 600 square miles of forest in and 
around Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). The 
aftermath left 30 million toppled trees on the forest floor; in some 
areas the downed trees were stacked 10 and 12 feet high. This area 
approximately 30 miles long and 12 miles wide, or about a quarter 
million acres, was leveled. The timber loss was estimated at 500,000 to 
750,000 million cords, valued between $12 and $18 million. The State of 
Minnesota estimated the cost of other damage and debris clearance for 
Lake and Cook counties at nearly $5 million.
  This powerful storm created near perfect conditions for a major 
forest fire. Only two questions remain: When will the major forest fire 
happen, and how destructive will it be? The blowdown quadrupled the 
amount of fuel per acre that can readily burn and the fire risk is 
expected to increase in the next several years as the timber continues 
to dry out.
  Under H.R. 4200, the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act, an 
expedited review process will be established to provide our Federal 
land managers the resources they need to complete a quick, thorough 
evaluation of forest conditions after catastrophic events.

[[Page H2675]]

  Wayne Brandt, Senior Vice President of Minnesota Forest Industries 
explained ``after the blowdown, private landowners were cleaning up the 
next day. County lands were being cleaned up within a couple of weeks 
and State lands within a month.'' The U.S. Forest Service, even with 
the expedited procedures granted by the Council on Environmental 
Quality, was not ready to put timber up for sale until late fall. 
Nearly all private, county and State lands were salvaged by the winter 
of 2000/2001. The U.S. Forest Service, despite the extraordinary 
efforts of supervisor Jim Sanders and the staff of the Superior 
National Forest, found their hands tied for months.
  Speed is of the utmost importance, especially with softwoods. Insect 
infestation begins to take its toll within a couple of weeks, rendering 
the material unusable for lumber and difficult for paper and Oriented 
Strand Board (OSB). Hardwoods, such as aspen, can last a bit longer if 
the trees still have root structure attached to the soil. In a number 
of instances, the hardwoods leafed out in 2000. However, any trees that 
were snapped off, were very soon unusable.
  County and State land management agencies are able to react almost 
immediately to natural catastrophes because these agencies are allowed 
to acknowledge the reality that the condition of the forest that they 
manage has been completely changed. Guidelines normally appealed to 
mitigate possible negative impacts of land management activities are 
often not realistic when the forestry resource has been drastically 
altered. The Forest Service has been kept from doing its job by 
restrictions that should not apply in the aftermath of a natural 
catastrophic event.
  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has documented that 
downed wood can act as a breeding ground for insect infestations and 
disease, making the material prime for fire. After a few years, 
the blowdown will greatly increase the fuel load and potential for fire 
hazard; worse, left as is, the blowdown timber will hinder regeneration 
for many years. Access through these areas is impossible without 
clearing.

  My good friend, Harry Fisher, owner of Northshore Business Products 
on the Gunflint Trail, had several active timber sales in the Superior 
National Forest prior to the 1999 Blowdown. Because of the lengthy NEPA 
process, Mr. Fisher waited 6 months for these prior timber sales to be 
approved. Although the NEPA process had been complete on these original 
sales, Mr. Fisher had to wait an additional 6 months for expanded sales 
to recover the salvage. Unfortunately, the process to salvage the 
timber had taken its toll on his crews. It was no longer worth the 
return. Had H.R. 4200 been in place in 1999, some 30,000-40,000 cords 
of wood could have been salvaged in the Superior National Forest. 
Instead, Harry's crew was only able to recover 20,000 cords of wood--
Less than half.
  The current process makes for bad forest management. It increases the 
risk for forest fire and insect infestation, and puts homes, businesses 
and human lives in danger.
  Immediately after the Blowdown, many people across the State of 
Minnesota approached me to ask: ``Why aren't we going into the National 
Forest to recover this timber?'' The environmental community was 
concerned about insect infestation and forest fire in the boundary 
Waters Canoe Area. These two often competing interests were coming 
together for the purpose of best forest management. The answer to their 
question is: The process of salvaging timber in a National Forest has 
become too cumbersome.
  The U.S. Forest Service process has too many steps and is not 
efficient when confronting a disaster such as the 1999 blowdown in the 
Superior National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service staff on the Superior 
National Forest were nearly heroic in responding to the blowdown, 
putting in 7-day work weeks of creative effort to address both 
environmental and good forestry practice concerns, invoke every 
available emergency clause to accelerate the cleanup process, producing 
an EIS in record time. Unfortunately, they were confronted by a 
plethora of obstacles. The laws in place prevent Forest Service 
personnel from being professional foresters, rather, they have become 
surrogate lawyers making sure that their proposed timber sales are 
``bullet proof'' from possible litigation.
  The Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act, H.R. 4200, requires 
an expedited National Environmental Policy Act procedural review and 
complies fully with all other environmental laws, including the 1964 
Wilderness Act and the Endangered Species Act of 1973. This law still 
secures the public's right to appeal and litigate Federal forest 
recovery projects. H.R. 4200 requires that funds from the removal of 
trees during recovery projects be used to help repair the catastrophic 
damage to our Federal forests, in turn, offsetting the cost of critical 
watershed and wildlife habitat restoration.
  Federal Foresters can get the job done if they are allowed to assess 
the condition of the forest immediately after a natural catastrophic 
event, protect known special resources and salvage affected 
merchantable timber as soon as possible.
  Blowdown events are not unusual in Northeastern Minnesota. The 1999 
blowdown created the potential for extreme fire danger conditions 
throughout the affected area with the potential to threaten lives 
within and life and property outside the BWCAW. So far, Mother Nature 
has given residents and resorters along the Gunflint Trail a respite 
with favorable weather. The ability to expedite Forest Service response 
time will benefit local communities and economies, improve access for 
recreational users and most importantly, greatly improve forest health 
which benefits everyone.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 4200, the Forest 
Emergency Recovery and Research Act.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN (Mr. McHugh). The time of the gentleman from 
Oregon (Mr. Walden) has expired.
  The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from West 
Virginia (Mr. Rahall).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chairman announced that the 
noes appeared to have it.
  Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from West 
Virginia will be postponed.


                 Amendment No. 2 Offered by Mr. DeFazio

  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Amendment No. 2 printed in House Report 109-467 offered by 
     Mr. DeFazio:
       Strike section 104 (page 24, line 10, through page 28, line 
     14) and insert the following new section:

     SEC. 104. PRE-EVENT MANAGEMENT PLANS.

       (a) Plan Amendment.--For Federal land where timber harvest 
     is allowed, but not the primary management objective, the 
     Secretary concerned shall amend the land and resource 
     management plan or land use plan applicable to the land to 
     pre-plan for certain activities to immediately follow a fire 
     or other catastrophic event. The activities shall be specific 
     to forest type and plant association group, and be 
     appropriate to the management objectives for area described 
     in the plan. The Secretary concerned shall initiate plan 
     amendments with priority to areas at the greatest risk of a 
     catastrophic event and with the most suitability for post-
     event activities. Managers using this pre-planning authority 
     shall conduct environmental analysis in accordance with 36 
     C.F.R. 219 et seq. and 40 C.F.R. 1500 et seq.
       (b) Peer Review.--Before an activity, or collection of 
     activities, may be adopted as an amendment to a land and 
     resource management plan or land use plan, the activity or 
     activities shall be subject to independent, third-party peer 
     review by scientific and land management experts. The results 
     of the peer review shall be available to the public no later 
     than the availability of the draft plan revision.
       (c) Expedited Review.--The Secretary concerned may use the 
     procedures provided in section 104 of the Healthy Forests 
     Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6514; Public Law 108-148) 
     to implement activities adopted as part of the amendment of a 
     land and resource management plan or land use plan according 
     to subsections (a) and (b). If environmental documentation is 
     conducted under this authority, then the administrative and 
     judicial appeals process described in sections 105 and 106 of 
     such Act (16 U.S.C. 6515, 6516) shall apply.
       Add at the end of the bill the following new section:

     SEC. 405. LIMITATION ON APPLICATION OF ACT.

       In the case of Federal land covered by this Act, the 
     Secretary concerned shall use the authorities provided for in 
     this Act only on those Federal lands that--
       (1) are designated as general forest areas available for 
     timber production; and
       (2) are not otherwise reserved or managed for non-timber 
     production values.

  The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 816, the gentleman 
from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio) and the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Walden) 
each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Oregon.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I agree with much of what I have heard. Unfortunately, I do not 
believe that the bill gets us in that direction. As I said earlier, 
giving unbridled discretion to political appointees may sit well with 
this administration and some supporters in the industry, but it does 
not bode well for long-term management of the forests.
  So I looked at this and said, well, there is a way to fix that, and 
that would be to say in areas that are designated for timber 
management, you

[[Page H2676]]

can use the expedited procedure since that is the plan objective, and 
in areas that are not intended for that, you would use normal 
procedures, which does not preclude salvage. It just means a little bit 
more evaluation of the work until such a time as you had anticipated 
catastrophic events and amended the forest plans.
  Now, the Forest Service objects that it would take time, would have 
to involve the public to amend the forest plans, but the thing is the 
experts, the scientists, say that is the only way to get there. They 
say you cannot have a peer-reviewed list of preapproved practices that 
are not site-specific and are not specific to the management goals of 
the forest.
  In fact, the dean of the Oregon College of Forestry Hal Salwasser, 
Jerry Franklin and Norman Johnson, from Oregon State, said here, 
``Management objectives for the area in question are the primary 
consideration in any decision regarding postfire logging, 
reforestation, or any other activities.'' He said that ``those goals, 
together with information on the forest type, or plan association 
group, postevent conditions in disturbed areas, and future climate 
trends will largely determine what actions, if any, are appropriate. If 
management plan direction is not clear,'' and it is not, most plans do 
not have a salvage provision in them, ``for appropriate actions 
following large disturbance events, plan revisions should provide such 
clarity. Major disturbances should not be the basis for de facto 
changes in land allocations or management objectives,'' which is what 
this bill does.
  So the preeminent scientist invited by the chairman to a hearing 
confirmed that.
  I am offering what I think would be a perfecting amendment. It would 
open up millions of acres to expedited procedures. It would allow the 
Forest Service to then amend their plan so in the future they could 
apply with certainty preapproved practices, not with discretion, and 
greatly expedite future salvage under those conditions.
  In the meantime they could use regular procedures, and I pointed out 
earlier, on the Biscuit fire, that could have yielded 175 million 
boardfeet, but, because of political intervention, yielded about 75 
million boardfeet of harvest.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the comments of my colleague and friend 
from southern Oregon, and we have tried to come together on this 
legislation, and we have not quite gotten there yet, but I have to rise 
in opposition to his amendment.
  The term ``timber production land'' means different things when 
discussing different forests. Even in the broadest sense, land where 
timber is the primary objective has been steadily decreasing, 
reflecting a shifting focus on timber production to using harvest for 
other purposes, such as wildlife habitat, hazardous fuels reduction or 
forest health.
  For example, in Oregon there are 32 million acres of BLM and national 
forestlands. Less than 20 percent is designated for timber production. 
In the State of California, of the 12 national forests in the Sierra 
framework, totaling over 11 million acres, only 1 percent is designated 
as timber production land.
  These figures illustrate just what a devastating effect the amendment 
would have. It would be very, very restrictive, guaranteeing only a 
very small portion of the Nation's forests would have proper recovery 
efforts in the event of a catastrophe. Obviously, a quicker review and 
recovery is necessary than what this amendment would allow at this 
point.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. 
Everett).
  Mr. EVERETT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the 
gentleman's amendment. In the case of the Conecuh National Forest in 
Alabama, the amendment could leave areas designated as potential old 
growth subject to increased fire and insect risk.
  Our revised forest plan identifies 60,000 acres as potential old 
growth sites. Half of these acres in this designation are suitable for 
harvest. Half of them are not designated as suitable. So this amendment 
would prohibit the application of H.R. 4200 in these areas.
  In our forests, scenic river designations, cultural areas, and scenic 
areas are all considered unsuitable for timber production; yet harvest 
may be allowed to provide certain habitats, demonstrate cultural 
heritage or provide vistas.
  This amendment would leave these areas untouched by restoration 
efforts. This situation could damage the very trees it is allegedly 
intended to save. Again, this is why this bill provides flexibility 
while requiring compliance with forest plans.
  This amendment was defeated on a bipartisan basis in the committee, 
and it should be defeated on a bipartisan basis on the floor today. 
This is not a good amendment.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. George Miller).
  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Chairman, I was detained in 
committee on a markup during general debate, and I want to rise in 
support of the DeFazio amendment and against the underlying 
legislation.
  I believe that the rationale for this legislation simply does not 
exist. There is no evidence that existing authorities are inadequate.
  The Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management already have 
many existing authorities for timber salvage, including the Healthy 
Forest Restoration Act.
  For situations involving threats to life and property, the Forest 
Service and Bureau of Land Management can request alternative 
arrangements with the Council on Environmental Quality, and to date I 
do not believe that one Forest Service request has been denied.
  I think the DeFazio amendment is improving the legislation.
  The sponsors' underlying rationale for this legislation is that there 
is a dire need for environmental exemptions for timber salvage on 
Federal lands following a catastrophic event.
  But there's no evidence that existing authorities are inadequate.
  The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management already have many 
existing authorities for timber salvage, including the Healthy Forests 
Restoration Act of 2003.
  In 2005, 35 percent of the logging volume on our National Forests 
came from timber salvage--all completed with existing authorities.
  The Forest Service is quickly completing one of the largest timber 
salvage projects in history, 676 million board feet, for those National 
Forests on the gulf coast impacted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
  For situations involving threats to life and property, the Forest 
Service and Bureau of Land Management may request alternative 
arrangements with the Council on Environmental Quality, and to date not 
one Forest Service request has been denied.
  If Congress approves H.R. 4200, roads will be built in inventoried 
roadless areas, even though the existing road maintenance backlog is 
large and growing.
  Ironically, H.R. 4200 will also divert resources from wildfire 
prevention. Over 11,000 communities around the country are at high risk 
for wildfire. There's an urgent need to treat the neighboring forests 
to reduce the danger. And there are similar conditions across the 
Country.
  But instead of focusing on this elevated threat, H.R. 4200 would 
emphasize putting limited resources on post-fire timber sales, even in 
areas far from communities. To make things worse, there is a serious 
chance these salvage operations could actually increase the risk of new 
fires.
  The bottom line is that H.R. 4200 is worse than unnecessary--it's 
counterproductive.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman 
from Washington (Mr. Baird), my friend and colleague, the coauthor of 
this legislation.
  Mr. BAIRD. Mr. Chairman, I want to commend both gentlemen from 
Oregon. Both at least recognize that there is an issue here, that there 
is a reason to use the wood after a fire. There are two concerns I 
would just have about my friend Mr. DeFazio.
  First of all, he cites Dean Salwasser from Oregon State University. 
For the record, it should show that the dean has actually endorsed this 
legislation. So we recognize that the land allocation values are 
critical.
  There is a paradox in the gentleman from Oregon's (Mr. DeFazio) 
legislation in that because other States do not necessarily designate 
so much land as for the primary purpose for harvest, you could actually 
have a paradoxical situation where burned trees end up

[[Page H2677]]

getting more protection than live trees, which I do not think is the 
gentleman's intent.
  Finally, the gentleman points out that this bill does leave 
discretion to local land managers. We think that is a plus. You cannot 
legislatively legislate certainty. You cannot do it. Circumstances on 
the ground will change.
  The bill provides sufficient flexibility for the local land managers 
to make the needed decisions while giving broad enough structure that 
those decisions occur within certain parameters, parameters like 
watershed protection, et cetera.
  For that reason, I urge rejection of this amendment.

                              {time}  1315

  Mr. DeFAZIO. Well, Dean Salwasser does support the thrust of the 
legislation, but he also supports my amendment as a perfecting 
amendment, and I read previously from joint testimony of Dr. Salwasser, 
Dean Salwasser, Dr. Franklin, and Dr. Johnson.
  That is the key here, is I believe that there is a reason, unlike 
some of the others, as the chairman pointed out, I did support the 
Healthy Forest Restoration Act. The Healthy Forest Restoration Act was 
used for much of the post-Katrina recovery with little or no 
controversy, and I believe that these tools can be valuable. But we 
also have to relate back to the forests themselves.
  As the experts said in their testimony, and I asked them, how could 
you establish a list of peer-reviewed, preapproved practices? They 
said, you can't unless you were considering site-specific, class-
specific application. You can't possibly do that. There is no generic 
way of doing that. So my amendment would, I believe, further the 
objectives of the authors of the bill and remove some uncertainty, 
because it is not clear from their testimony how you are ever going to 
get together this list.
  And if the alternative to the list is to go to the CEQ, the Chief of 
the Forest Service said he didn't want to go there. He used HFRA 
instead, which is another proposal I put forward, which is why not just 
use, since we are all familiar with, there is still some controversy, 
but I think very little, attached to HFRA and its application, why not 
apply HFRA procedures to the problems in postcatastrophic events? But 
that was not deemed to be adequate for some reason, and now we have an 
entirely new construct which I believe has some need for perfecting 
amendments.
  And that is why I am offering my amendment, and I would recommend it 
to my colleagues.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I would just comment to my 
colleague from Oregon that we looked at using the HFRA procedures, and 
they are just not fast enough. When you have a catastrophe, an 
emergency, the agency has testified before our committee that the Chief 
of the Forest Service has said, yes, I was able to use the Healthy 
Forest Restoration Act procedures even in Katrina because the trees 
were on the ground, and they posed a fire threat. I said, why can't you 
use those then when a forest is burned when the trees are still 
standing? He said it is a different threat.
  He also said that had he had this, and he wants this authority, by 
the way, and had he had it, he would have been able to move quicker. 
And that is really the underlying issue here is the ability to move 
without upending any of the environmental laws, but move quicker 
procedurally. The public still has a right to input; the public still 
has the right to object and appeal and to stop a project if a law is 
being violated.
  Finally, I would just conclude regarding this amendment that, indeed, 
it is so proscriptive that very few forests would be able to take 
advantage of the underlying legislation. Again, only about 1 percent 
the Sierra framework forest in California, most of the Southeast 
forests would be excluded, and actually very few in the Northwest.
  So I hope my colleague from Oregon, my friend, and I can continue to 
work on this legislation as it moves forward to find common ground, but 
we think we have found pretty good balance right here, the Republicans 
and Democrats that are cosponsoring this bill and have worked now on 
the 50th draft to work out all the issues before bringing it to the 
Committee of the Whole for its consideration. So I urge opposition to 
the DeFazio amendment.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN (Mr. McHugh). All time having expired, the 
question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. 
DeFazio).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chairman announced that the 
noes appeared to have it.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Oregon will 
be postponed.


                 Amendment No. 3 Offered by Mr. Inslee

  Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Amendment No. 3 printed in House Report 109-467 offered by 
     Mr. Inslee:
       Add at the end the following new section:

     SEC. 405. EXCLUSION OF INVENTORIED ROADLESS AREAS.

       This Act shall not apply to any inventoried roadless area 
     within the National Forest System set forth in the maps 
     contained in the Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation, 
     Final Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 2, dated 
     November 2000.

  The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 816, the gentleman 
from Washington (Mr. Inslee) and the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Walden) 
each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Washington.
  Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, this amendment, simply put, will fix a problem with 
this legislation that otherwise would allow a giant loophole in our 
rule that now we have been fighting to maintain for some period of time 
to protect our roadless areas in our national forests. These roadless 
areas are the most pristine areas of the national forests. We have made 
a decision, 96 percent of Americans who have commented on the roadless 
areas have concluded that they want these areas managed for the clean 
water they provide, the recreation they provide, the aesthetics they 
provide rather than timber harvest through log road building.
  My amendment would essentially say that we are not going to tax, we 
are not going to subsidize log road building anymore in these roadless 
areas. There are three reasons we need to do this, and they are two 
fiscal and one environmental. I will address first the two fiscal 
reasons we need to adopt this amendment.
  First, this Chamber went on record in an amendment some time ago that 
said we are going to stop subsidizing roads with taxpayer dollars. And 
we essentially are going to stop, by this amendment, stop subsidizing 
logging roads in some of our steeper areas. These roadless areas are 
commonly found in our steeper, higher elevations. They are at the tops 
of our mountains, and they are the most expensive places to build 
logging roads. They are the places where the taxpayers get soaked the 
most in our subsidization programs.
  We would say essentially that you cannot use this legislation, in our 
amendment, to continue that log road-building program which ends up 
putting the tab on the American taxpayer. This is a fiscal reason.
  The second fiscal reason is it makes no sense now, it makes no sense 
to make a misprioritization from, instead of doing the $10 billion of 
backlog we already have to repair and maintain our existing mileage, 
enough to, I think it is 336,000 miles of existing roads, with a $10 
billion backlog already. Uncle Sam already has a $10 billion commitment 
to get those roads and keep them from washing out. Eighty percent of 
these roads are not even fit. You cannot even drive your car on them.
  Instead of letting people get recreational value, to drive and go up 
to go hunting and go fishing and take your kids on a picnic by the 
creek, 80 percent of these roads are falling apart. Instead of taking 
care of their interests, this bill would subsidize the logging industry 
to go in and log as a priority. Now, they have tried to fix this 
problem, saying these will be temporary roads. There is no such thing 
as

[[Page H2678]]

a temporary road. We have 60,000 miles of roads that should have been 
decommissioned already but aren't.
  So there are two sound fiscal reasons to adopt this amendment, but 
the third is an environmental reason. We depend on these roadless 
areas, the Kettle River Range in Washington, the Eagle Cap roadless 
area in Washington, we depend on them for clean water. We depend on 
them for habitat. And the fact of the matter is when you build a road 
into a roadless area, you double the chance of fire. And that, as a 
science, is well proven. You may get some timber out, but you double 
the chance of fire, and you increase areas of road that can erode and 
silt our streams.
  So two fiscal reasons and one environmental reason that commends 
this.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  I am trying to figure out the gentleman's arguments, because I have 
here the Congressional Budget Office cost estimate for the Forest 
Emergency Recovery and Research Act, and it talks about how if H.R. 
4200 would pass, it would increase proceeds from salvage sales on 
average by 40 percent. Assuming the agencies would phase in the use of 
the new procedures over several years, we estimate increased receipts 
would begin in 2008 and total $122 million over the 2008 through 2016 
period.
  Now, they go through and have a bunch of other numbers they work 
through on what would be offset, but the long and short of it is that 
over the next 7 years, it is something like $21 million additional to 
the Treasury simply by eliminating the bureaucratic red tape that 
delays the projects until the trees have no value.
  So the fiscally prudent argument here is to follow the only number 
sheet I can find, the Congressional Budget Office report, where the 
experts have evaluated the bill independently of any politics and said 
this bill makes money, and it makes sense.
  Now, let us go to the bill. On page 25 of the manager's amendment, it 
talks about this issue of roadless. We were sensitive to this issue. We 
addressed this issue. And it requires that any preapproved management 
practice may not authorize any permanent road building, and any 
temporary road constructed as part of a preapproved management practice 
shall be obliterated upon conclusion of the practice and the road area 
restored to the extent practicable.
  Now, some people will say, well, that is just in the statute. That is 
just in the law. They don't do it now, they won't do it then, whatever. 
They will make it up. The contracts also require this. The contracts 
written by the Forest Service that are entered into as a legal, binding 
document will require a bond, will require obliteration. They work all 
that out there, but the statute backs it up and says obliterate the 
temporary roads. So it is all part of the management practice that 
would go on, and it is codified here in the statute.
  So I just am not quite sure where the gentleman is going with all 
this. The new roadless rule allows each of the 38 States with roadless 
areas to participate in the development of their own State's specific 
plan. A lot of these States are undergoing that now, and we should let 
them have that local authority to help guide the Federal Government in 
that planning.
  Simply put, if a forest plan prohibits road building in an area, then 
this legislation prohibits that, because the underlying forest plans 
are what dictates what happens. Roadless stays roadless. H.R. 4200 will 
not create any new permanent roads. The only roads allowed are 
temporary roads, which must be removed after completion of the project. 
It is in the statute we propose that the Congress pass.
  So we have put it in statute. I am sure it is also in the contracts 
that get negotiated, and we have been very clear on this. So I would 
urge opposition to the amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Chairman, there are two problems. One, although I 
respect the drafters of this bill, the bill does not respect the 
clearly expressed sentiment of the American people, because 96 percent 
of the American people said don't build roads; temporary, permanent, 
transitory, big, small, little. Ninety-six percent of the Americans who 
expressed their opinion on this issue said don't do what this bill 
does, which allows building roads in these designated roadless areas.
  This ignores the clearly expressed intention of the people, and that 
ought to be enough in itself to endorse this particular amendment.
  Now, I come back to when you look at these roadless areas, they have 
value that is not in this accounting, which is to keep the silt out of 
our streams. I respect that we might put a line in a book somewhere 
that will be over in the Library of Congress that says, presto change-
o, these are all going to be ``temporary.'' There is also a line in a 
book over in the Library of Congress that says 60,000 miles that have 
been out there for decades are ``temporary.'' In real life, this guts 
roadless area rules. We need this amendment if this bill is going to 
pass.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds, and I 
understand I have 2 minutes remaining.
  I just want to say that this bill grants no new authority to build 
roads anywhere, anytime. To say so is to make it up. It is that simple. 
It does not say go build roads anywhere, anytime. That is not a new 
authority in this bill.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from 
Washington (Mr. Baird).
  Mr. BAIRD. Mr. Chairman, I'll just make two quick points. It is a red 
herring, to say the least, to say that this is about giving President 
Bush or the Bush administration control over our Federal forests.
  Max Peterson was the former Chief of the Forest Service under a 
Democratic President, President Carter. This is what Max Peterson said 
about this bill: ``The Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act 
allows trained forest managers to act in accordance with carefully 
developed forest plans, ending compliance with environmental laws to 
best restore, protect, and enhance the health of our Federal forests. 
The legislation deserves favorable action by the House and the Senate 
and approval by the President.'' That is not a Bush appointee, it is a 
Carter appointee, a Democrat.
  Let me also address this issue of 96 percent of Americans seeming to 
oppose the road element of this bill. That is specious. Ninety-six 
percent of the American public did not say this. If there has been a 
catastrophic fire and you could use the wood responsibly, and roads in 
would be built and paid for by the people pulling out the wood, and 
they would be immediately decommissioned so that no permanent road 
would remain, how do you feel about that?
  That is not what they said. Essentially I think they were saying in a 
healthy green forest, unimpacted by fire, should we keep the roads out? 
Yeah. But that is a different question. It is apples and oranges.
  We are talking about a situation where you have had a catastrophic 
event, where you would try to get the wood out. And I really want to 
underscore this. This is not some additional tax on the taxpayers. The 
people extracting the wood would be required to post a bond, a bond 
saying they will pay for the removal of these roads. If they renege on 
that bond, they not only have to pay a penalty, but they also become 
ineligible for future harvests, so the taxpayers are not left holding 
this bag.
  Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, I would like to join my colleague, Mr. 
Inslee, in supporting this amendment to exclude inventoried roadless 
areas from HR 4200.
  The public has proven its commitment to protecting inventoried 
roadless areas. The Forest Service has received 1.6 million public 
comments about the roadless rule, and over 95 percent of those comments 
favor protecting roadless areas.
  Inventoried roadless areas represent 58.5 million acres of wild 
roadless areas in our National Forests in 39 states. In my home state 
of West Virginia, we have 202,000 acres of roadless areas. These last 
remaining wild forests protect our water, sustain our wildlife, and 
provide for an array of recreational opportunities for Americans.

[[Page H2679]]

  This amendment is critical to ensuring protection of our most 
treasured areas in our National Forests. Without this amendment, 
logging roads for timber salvage operations will be built in 
inventoried roadless areas.
  While bill proponents claim these roads could be temporary and 
obliterated upon completion of the project, one only needs to look to 
the Forest Service's current road maintenance backlog, which rings in 
at $10 billion, to see where this road leads.
  I support this amendment and I urge my colleagues to adopt it.

                              {time}  1330

  The Acting CHAIRMAN (Mr. McHugh). The question is on the amendment 
offered by the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Inslee).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chairman announced that the 
noes appeared to have it.
  Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Washington 
will be postponed.


           Amendment No. 4 Offered by Mr. Udall of New Mexico

  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Amendment No. 4 printed in House Report 109-467 offered by 
     Mr. Udall of New Mexico:
       At the end of section 102(e) (page 21, after line 15), add 
     the following new paragraph:
       (4) Consideration of fire risk and regeneration.--In making 
     any determination under paragraph (1) to implement any pre-
     approved management practice under section 104 or to develop 
     and carry out a catastrophic event recovery project or 
     catastrophic event research project, or portion of such a 
     project, using emergency procedures under section 105, the 
     Secretary concerned--
       (A) shall consider the effect of the practice or project on 
     fire risk and forest regeneration; and
       (B) may not implement the practice or carry out the project 
     unless the Secretary certifies that the practice or project 
     will not increase fire-risk or decrease forest regeneration.

  The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 816, the gentleman 
from New Mexico (Mr. Udall) and a Member opposed will each control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New Mexico.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, this amendment will require the Secretary concerned to 
certify that a catastrophic event recovery project will not decrease 
forest regeneration or increase forest fire risk.
  This amendment is very important considering the results of a peer-
reviewed study recently published in the respected journal Science by 
Donato and others from Oregon State University. This study concluded 
that logging in the wake of the 2002 Biscuit fire decreased forest 
regeneration by 71 percent and increased short-term fire risk.
  Unfortunately, this peer-reviewed study came under attack from those 
who disagreed with its conclusions. Even the Bureau of Land Management 
threatened to withdraw funding for the study. This was very unfortunate 
and I believe yet another attempt to silence science.
  The vast majority of peer-reviewed science on salvage logging to date 
demonstrates that salvage logging is contrary to the goal of improving 
forest health. In fact, 169 scientists from around the country 
submitted a letter to Congress expressing their opposition to H.R. 
4200. Disappointingly, H.R. 4200 ignores this body of science on the 
harmful impacts of salvage logging, including its potential to increase 
forest-fire risk and decrease forest regeneration. This amendment 
attempts to incorporate some of the science into the underlying bill.
  In the Southwest, we are facing what is predicted to be a record fire 
season. Even firefighters are opposed to H.R. 4200 because it could 
greatly increase fire risk to our communities. The group Firefighters 
United for Safety, Ethics and Ecology, an organization of current, 
former, and retired firefighters, opposes H.R. 4200.
  The practices authorized under H.R. 4200 should not increase the risk 
of fire to our national forests and nearby communities. Nor should H.R. 
4200 impede seedling regeneration of our national forests.
  I urge my colleagues to adopt this amendment.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. Does any Member rise in opposition to the 
amendment?
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Indeed, Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to 
the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Again, Mr. Chairman, let me say that the 
national organizations that represent the men and women who put their 
lives on the line to put out fires support this legislation. The 
national organizations, the Fire Chiefs International, the Forest 
Firefighters folks, support this legislation because they know what it 
will do and how important it is.
  The Udall amendment may sound plausible, may sound reasonable, and it 
is neither. The Udall amendment is based on the theory that salvage 
increases fire risk. Wildfire fighting associations representing over 
12,000 firefighters disagree.
  This amendment also requires that no practice may be carried out 
unless the Secretary certifies the practice or project will not 
increase fire risk or decrease forest regeneration.
  Now, if you haven't been involved in this discussion like we have in 
nine hearings and 50 drafts, you would think, well, that sounds 
reasonable. We wouldn't want to do anything that would increase fire 
risk or maybe decrease regeneration.
  Well, let me give you an example of what happens in the real world. 
Imagine the following scenario: Logging creates logging slash. Under 
contractual agreements it must be cleaned up, often within 30 days. The 
agency could get sued because of the increased fire risk that exists 
during that 30-day period.
  To do a recovery after a hurricane, the Forest Service proposes a 
salvage sale to capture value, remove hazardous fuels and plant a mix 
of willow species and riparian areas and mixed conifers on the drier 
sites. A lawsuit could be filed saying the agency hasn't proven that 
one seedling that survived that fire or that hurricane would be 
affected. So otherwise they can get you coming and going. You can't 
prove that an action in the forest will not have any effect. If you go 
hiking in the forest, you could step on a seedling.
  And I am going to tell you, if you do a project in the forest you are 
going to have an effect. That is why our legislation requires 
mitigation and minimalization.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Washington (Mr. Inslee).
  (Mr. INSLEE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Chairman, it is difficult to understand how anyone 
would oppose an amendment that simply says the administration should 
have what is not too onerous a burden, to certify that under the best 
available science this is not going to degrade that which we are trying 
to achieve, which is forest regeneration and suppression of fire. Is 
that asking too much of the Bush administration, to simply say if you 
are going to have a program, that you will tell the American people 
that it won't make things worse? We don't think that is asking too 
much.
  And there is a point during this debate I think needs to be made, and 
that is that when there is a fire, it is a human instinct to get in 
there and want to fix things. We are fixers. We believe that we are the 
smarter species on the planet.
  But if you look at the beautiful forests we have, if you look at the 
Eagle CAP wilderness, the Kettle River range in Washington State, you 
look at our national forests and you look at those forests, those 
forests are there without the intervention of President George Bush. 
They have evolved over decades and centuries and eons, and they are 
beautiful and they are healthy and they give us picnics for our kids, 
fishing and hunting for our cousins and our families, and clean water 
to drink, without the administration of George Bush going in with their 
chain saws and deciding what they decide to cut.
  Now, given that historical fact that these forests have done very, 
very well without us for tens of thousands of

[[Page H2680]]

years, we don't think it is too much to ask that before President Bush 
gets out his chain saw, that he is required to certify, in the best 
available science, this won't make things worse.
  Now I understand why they object to it, because they object to the 
science and the Donato study in the Science magazine from Oregon State 
University, they objected to it. They didn't like it. It didn't fit 
their political preconceptions so they put it on ice, put it on review, 
canceled it. Use whatever language you want.
  We are saying that the science needs to be asked to be listened to, 
just like the American people should be. This is a commonsense 
amendment. I commend Mr. Udall.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds.
  One of the issues here with the amendment is there no specified time 
period. There is no specified landscape. It is wide open.
  Does this mean anytime, anywhere in the forest you might step on a 
seedling, then, boom, you are going to get sued?
  As for Mr. Donato, let us be forthright about this. The BLM did 
suspend the funding while they responded to allegations they hadn't 
followed the rules. When they got the answers, they were satisfied with 
them and the funding continued and the research continues. And even Mr. 
Donato said, don't overinterpret my findings.
  I yield 2 minutes to my colleague from Washington (Mr. Baird).
  Mr. BAIRD. Mr. Chairman, two things. I have spent a fair bit of time 
studying that. It is distressing that my friend from New Mexico, who 
requested a congressional hearing, was not able to answer a direct 
question earlier about whether or not the Donato study studied the fire 
2 years post-logging or immediately post-logging. It was 2 years post, 
my friends. And it is irrelevant to the bill at hand.
  This amendment by Mr. Udall is something that, if you like to go 
camping in the woods with your family, you better not support this 
amendment because you would have a hard time having the Secretary of 
the Interior certify that building a camp fire in a national forest 
campground does not in some way increase the risks of forest fires.
  If we are going to apply this standard to everything that happens, 
that in no way must any action possibly increase the risk of fire or 
impact natural regeneration, we are going to paralyze the woods. We are 
not going to go camping. We are not going to drive motorized vehicles 
on forest service roads, we are not going to do anything. And in fact, 
Mr. Udall, we are not going to cut live trees either. And isn't that 
really the agenda, to stop all harvest on the Federal lands, live 
trees, burned trees, blowdown trees, drive that harvest to the 
rainforests, drive that harvest to the Russian Taiga, all in the name 
of environmental protection? That is not responsible environmental 
policy.
  The legislation before us is good policy. This amendment is not. This 
amendment should be rejected out of hand.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. Chairman, I am just going to close at 
this point, so I reserve my time.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. Both sides have 30 seconds remaining. The 
gentleman from Oregon may reserve the balance of his time to close. The 
gentleman from New Mexico has 30 seconds remaining and is recognized.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. Chairman, there are ecologically sound 
ways to do salvage logging. This amendment assures that the science is 
followed. All we are asking is that the Secretary, in approving one of 
these projects, certify it will not increase forest-fire risk, and will 
not decrease forest regeneration.
  I urge my colleagues to support the amendment.
  I yield back any remaining time.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I urge opposition to the 
amendment.
  I yield the balance of the time to the chairman of the full Resources 
Committee, Mr. Pombo.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from California is recognized for 
30 seconds.
  Mr. POMBO. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I 
just wanted to congratulate the chairman of the subcommittee, Mr. 
Walden, for the fantastic job he has done. And I especially want to 
thank Mr. Baird for the work that he has put into this.
  This was an effort to bridge across party lines, across different 
ideologies in order to produce a bill that is better for the 
environment, better for the communities and better for our entire 
country, and I thank them for all of the work that they have put into 
this in working together to produce the kind of legislation that this 
House can be proud of, because this is the kind of bipartisan effort 
that produces the kind of legislation that this country deserves. So 
congratulations to both of you.
  Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, I would like to voice my support for the 
gentleman from New Mexico's amendment.
  This amendment corrects some of the fuzzy vision contained in H.R. 
4200 while ensuring that we do not turn a blind eye to the science on 
salvage logging.
  A recent peer-reviewed study out of Oregon State University, 
published in the highly respected journal Science, found that salvage 
logging. after the 2002 Biscuit fire destroyed more than two-thirds of 
the seedlings that were beginning to regenerate the burned forest. That 
operation effectively increased short-term fire risks.
  The Oregon State study is far from the only scientific voice being 
raised about the effects of salvage logging. Over and over again we 
have heard from forest ecology scientists about the increased risk of 
fire and the harm that salvage logging imposes on new and developing 
trees.
  This amendment simply ensures that the Secretary will not carry out a 
project that will increase fire risk or decrease forest regeneration. 
We should not be promoting salvage logging that promotes fires and puts 
forest communities at risk.
  I urge the adoption of the Udall Amendment.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. All time having expired, the question is on the 
amendment offered by the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. Udall).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chairman announced that the 
noes appeared to have it.
  Mr. UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Mexico 
will be postponed.
  Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee do now 
rise.
  The motion was agreed to.
  Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. 
Putnam) having assumed the chair, Mr. McHugh, Acting Chairman of the 
Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, reported that 
that Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 4200) to 
improve the ability of the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary 
of the Interior to promptly implement recovery treatments in response 
to catastrophic events affecting Federal lands under their 
jurisdiction, including the removal of dead and damaged trees and the 
implementation of reforestation treatments, to support the recovery of 
non-Federal lands damaged by catastrophic events, to revitalize Forest 
Service experimental forests, and for other purposes, had come to no 
resolution thereon.

                          ____________________