Amendment Text: H.Amdt.474 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)

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Shown Here:
Amendment as Offered (11/01/2017)

This Amendment appears on page H8354 in the following article from the Congressional Record.

[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 177 (Wednesday, November 1, 2017)]
[Pages H8326-H8356]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                 RESILIENT FEDERAL FORESTS ACT OF 2017


                             General Leave

  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent 
that all Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their 
remarks and include extraneous material on the bill, H.R. 2936.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Bergman). Is there objection to the 
request of the gentleman from Pennsylvania?
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 595 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. 2936.
  The Chair appoints the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. Young) to preside 
over the Committee of the Whole.

                              {time}  1513


                     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. 2936) to expedite under the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 and improve forest management activities on National Forest System 
lands, on public lands under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land 
Management, and on Tribal lands to return resilience to overgrown, 
fire-prone forested lands, and for other purposes, with Mr. Young of 
Iowa in the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The CHAIR. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered read the 
first time.
  General debate shall not exceed 1 hour equally divided among and 
controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on 
Agriculture and the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee 
on Natural Resources.
  The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Thompson), the gentleman from 
Minnesota (Mr. Peterson), the gentleman from Utah (Mr. Bishop), and the 
gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Grijalva) will each control 15 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania.

                              {time}  1515

  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time 
as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of H.R. 2936, the Resilient 
Federal Forests Act of 2017.
  As I stated last Congress, our national forests are facing an 
epidemic of declining health, which is a direct result of policies 
which have led to a dramatic decrease in managed acres creating 
catastrophic wildfires that have increased in size and frequency.
  The past two fire seasons have been some of the most expensive on 
record, and this year appears to be no exception. Secretary of 
Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently announced that wildland fire 
suppression costs for this fiscal year have exceeded $2 billion, making 
2017 the most expensive year on record.
  While the suppression costs are staggering, these fires come at a 
greater cost to local communities, private property, and pristine 
landscapes. Most importantly, they also result in the loss of life.
  For too long, our good folks at the Forest Service have been unable 
to do the work needed to manage our forest fuel loads. Over the years, 
the problem has compounded with more severe fires. Furthermore, these 
fires have consumed more and more of the Forest Service budget that was 
intended for management. This cycle has gone on for far too long.

[[Page H8327]]

  In the 2014 farm bill, we took meaningful steps to empower the Forest 
Service to carry out its mission. With passage of this bill, we will 
provide the Forest Service another tool to carry out their duties.
  This bill builds on the success of the farm bill to allow the Forest 
Service and their partners to manage our forests using sound science 
and environmental protections without fear of frivolous litigation. 
Further, it promotes good stewardship through restoration projects that 
protect our watersheds after catastrophic fire.
  As fuel loads increase in our national forests, the cost of inaction 
increases every day. This legislation allows the Forest Service to 
account for the environmental consequences of inaction, hopefully 
expediting treatments where needed.
  Finally, this issue extends beyond just fire. While they have not yet 
gone up in smoke, some of our national forests continue to deteriorate 
as a result of insect and disease infestations, leaving what was 
pristine and productive habitat so many in this Congress seek to 
protect.
  Mr. Chairman, I ask my colleagues to support this commonsense 
legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.

         Committee on Education and the Workforce, House of 
           Representatives,
                                 Washington, DC, October 25, 2017.
     Hon. K. Michael Conaway,
     Chairman, Committee on Agriculture,
     House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Mr. Chairman: I write to confirm our mutual 
     understanding with respect to H.R. 2936, the Resilient 
     Federal Forests Act of 2017. Thank you for consulting with 
     the Committee on Education and the Workforce with regard to 
     H.R. 2936 on those matters within my committee's 
     jurisdiction.
       The Committee on Education and the Workforce will not delay 
     further consideration of this bill. However, I do so only 
     with the understanding this procedural route will not be 
     construed to prejudice my committee's jurisdictional interest 
     and prerogatives on this bill or any other similar 
     legislation and will not be considered as precedent for 
     consideration of matters of jurisdictional interest to my 
     committee in the future.
       I respectfully request your support for the appointment of 
     outside conferees from the Committee on Education and the 
     Workforce should this bill or a similar bill be considered in 
     a conference with the Senate. I also request you include our 
     exchange of letters on this matter in the Congressional 
     Record during consideration of this bill on the House Floor. 
     Thank you for your attention to these matters.
           Sincerely,
                                                    Virginia Foxx,
     Chairwoman.
                                  ____

                                         Committee on Agriculture,


                                     House of Representatives,

                                 Washington, DC, October 25, 2017.
     Hon. Virginia Foxx,
     Chairman, Committee on Education and the Workforce, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairwoman Foxx: Thank you for your letter regarding 
     H.R. 2936, Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017. I 
     appreciate your support in bringing this legislation before 
     the House of Representatives, and accordingly, understand 
     that the Committee on Education and the Workforce will forego 
     action on the bill.
       The Committee on Agriculture concurs in the mutual 
     understanding that by foregoing consideration of the bill at 
     this time, the Committee on Education and the Workforce does 
     not waive any jurisdiction over the subject matter contained 
     in this bill or similar legislation in the future. In 
     addition, should a conference on this bill be necessary, I 
     would support your request to have the Committee on Education 
     and the Workforce represented on the conference committee.
       I will insert copies of this exchange in the Congressional 
     Record during Floor consideration. I appreciate your 
     cooperation regarding this legislation and look forward to 
     continuing to work the Committee on Education and the 
     Workforce as this bill moves through the legislative process.
           Sincerely,
                                               K. Michael Conaway,
     Chairman.
                                  ____

         Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of 
           Representatives,
                                 Washington, DC, October 25, 2017.
     Hon. Michael Conaway,
     Chairman, Committee on Agriculture,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Conaway: I write concerning H.R. 2936, the 
     Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017. This legislation 
     includes matters that fall within the Rule X jurisdiction of 
     the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
       In order to expedite floor consideration of H.R. 2936, the 
     Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will forgo 
     action on this bill. However, this is conditional on our 
     mutual understanding that forgoing consideration of the bill 
     does not prejudice the Committee with respect to the 
     appointment of conferees or to any future jurisdictional 
     claim over the subject matters contained in the bill or 
     similar legislation that fall within the Committee's Rule X 
     jurisdiction. Finally, should a conference on the bill be 
     necessary, I ask that you support my request to have the 
     Committee represented on the conference committee.
       Please place a copy of this letter and your response 
     acknowledging our jurisdictional interest in the 
     Congressional Record during House Floor consideration of the 
     bill. I look forward to working with the Committee on 
     Agriculture as the bill moves through the legislative 
     process.
           Sincerely,
                                                     Bill Shuster,
     Chairman.
                                  ____

                                         Committee on Agriculture,


                                     House of Representatives,

                                 Washington, DC, October 25, 2017.
     Hon. Bill Shuster,
     Chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Shuster: Thank you for your letter regarding 
     H.R. 2936, Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017. I 
     appreciate your support in bringing this legislation before 
     the House of Representatives, and accordingly, understand 
     that the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will 
     forego action on the bill.
       The Committee on Agriculture concurs in the mutual 
     understanding that by foregoing consideration of the bill at 
     this time, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
     does not waive any jurisdiction over the subject matter 
     contained in this bill or similar legislation in the future. 
     In addition, should a conference on this bill be necessary, I 
     would support your request to have the Committee on 
     Transportation and Infrastructure represented on the 
     conference committee.
       I will insert copies of this exchange in the Congressional 
     Record during Floor consideration. I appreciate your 
     cooperation regarding this legislation and look forward to 
     continuing to work the Committee on Transportation and 
     Infrastructure as this bill moves through the legislative 
     process.
           Sincerely,
                                               K. Michael Conaway,
                                                         Chairman.

  Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chairman, H.R. 2936 addresses some valid concerns regarding 
forest management. The bill would simplify forest management activities 
while also tamping down on overzealous regulations and policy decisions 
made by activists and bureaucrats who have adopted a sue and settle 
strategy to pursue their agenda. This is one of the main reasons why I 
am a cosponsor of H.R. 2936.
  While this bill isn't exactly what I would do if I was in charge of 
putting the bill together, we need to do something to address forest 
management concerns, and I believe that this bill seeks to do that and 
moves us in the right direction. So I am supportive of moving the 
process along so that we can negotiate with our Senate colleagues and 
find a workable solution to address these issues.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Denham).
  Mr. DENHAM. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of H.R. 2936, the 
Resilient Federal Forests Act. When we fail to actively manage our 
forests and Federal lands, we put ourselves and our neighbors at risk. 
It is time to better manage our fire-prone forests and fix how we pay 
for wildfire suppression.
  California just experienced the deadliest wildfire in our history, 
and 2017 is on track to be the worst fire season on record. We can't 
wait until next season. We have got to put the right policies in place 
now.
  The Resilient Federal Forests Act gives us the tools to immediately 
reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires. It allows us to expedite 
the removal of dead trees and rapidly mitigate disease-infested areas. 
It enables us to responsibly manage our forests and improve ecosystems, 
and it permanently solves the fire borrowing problem. No longer will we 
deplete forest restoration and management accounts to pay for wildfire 
suppression. This will give our firefighters the resources they need 
without hindering prevention efforts.
  As California recovers from this year's fires, this bill will help us 
mitigate future wildfires. I urge my colleagues to pass this bill and 
help improve the health and resiliency of our Federal forests.

[[Page H8328]]

  Mr. Chairman, I include in the Record a letter from the Association 
of California Water Agencies in support of H.R. 2936.

                                                    Association of


                                    California Water Agencies,

                                                 October 31, 2017.

   ACWA Support for H.R. 2936--Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017

       The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) 
     respectfully requests your support for H.R. 2936, The 
     Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017. ACWA's 430 public 
     water agency members supply over 90 percent of the water 
     delivered in California for residential, agricultural, and 
     industrial uses.
       Recent severe drought and one of the most destructive 
     wildfire seasons on record have focused renewed attention on 
     the health of California's headwaters. That attention is well 
     placed because the forests, meadows and source waters that 
     play a critical role in our water supply and water management 
     system are threatened by factors ranging from climate change 
     to incomplete management to a lack of planning and 
     coordination.
       H.R. 2936 addresses many of these factors. It incentivizes 
     and rewards collaboration with local governments and 
     stakeholders by expediting environmental review for 
     collaborative projects up to 30,000 acres in size. It also 
     includes important provisions that will increase the yield 
     and protect the quality of our headwaters.
       Additionally, H.R. 2936 solves the perennial ``fire 
     borrowing'' problem, in which federal land management 
     agencies must raid non-fire suppression accounts in order to 
     pay for suppression activities. H.R. 2936 ends this practice 
     by allowing FEMA to transfer funds to the Forest Service/BLM 
     when all fire suppression accounts have been exhausted.
       As stated in ACWA's headwaters framework, ACWA believes 
     with more effective management ``healthy headwaters'' could 
     provide multiple benefits to California's water management 
     system and the environment. These benefits include: Increased 
     Water Supply Reliability; Improved Water Quality; Reduced 
     Impacts from Catastrophic Wildfires; Increased Renewable 
     Energy Supplies; Improved Response to Climate Change; and 
     Enhanced Habitat.
       ACWA encourages you to vote for H.R. 2936.
       If you have any questions please contact David Reynold.

  Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from California (Mr. Costa).
  Mr. COSTA. Mr. Chairman, I thank my friend and colleague from 
Minnesota, Congressman Peterson, for yielding this time.
  It is clear, I think, for everybody in this Chamber to know how 
devastating the fires have been, not only in California over the last 
recent weeks but throughout the West, and it has been this way for 
several years.
  It is long overdue for Congress to address the many issues facing our 
forests under Federal management, and that is what this legislation 
attempts to do.
  Years of mismanagement have contributed to the rise of catastrophic 
wildfires, not only in my home State of California but throughout the 
West. The heart of the problem is simple: money that Congress has 
allocated to prevent wildfires has been used instead to put them out.
  Now, there are other factors involved as well to be sure, but for 
years what we have done with densely overgrown forests that need 
managing is we have set ourselves up to allow these densely overgrown 
forests to be the subject of very destructive fires if something should 
go wrong; and, of course, we have lightning strikes and we have other 
natural conditions that cause these fires.
  This year alone, the United States Forest Service has spent about 
$2.4 billion on putting out fires and has transferred nearly $576 
million from management activities. These management activities would 
go to thinning the forests and to allow for better overall growth. This 
would be a preventive means to decrease the ability of these fires to 
grow.
  I have concerns with some of the provisions in this legislation and 
believe it can be improved with some modifications, specifically to the 
way fire borrowing is addressed and the size of categorical exemptions 
under public disclosure laws, but this is a work in progress, and we 
can deal with that.
  Let me be clear. We must reform the way our Federal forests are 
managed, particularly the impacts as a result of the changing climate 
that we have and as it becomes more pronounced, such as drought 
conditions.
  The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I yield the gentleman from California an 
additional 30 seconds.
  Mr. COSTA. Mr. Chairman, the benefits of improved management will not 
only help with wildfire suppression, putting out these fires, but it 
will benefit the environment. With more effective management, healthier 
headwaters will provide for an estimated increased water supply of 
300,000 acre-feet of additional water--that is significant, certainly 
in a State like California--and improved water quality downstream.
  In closing, I urge my colleagues to work together to improve this 
legislation before it is sent to the Senate for consideration, because 
it is very clear in recent weeks, in recent months, and over the last 2 
years that the status quo is unsustainable. We must do a better job in 
managing our forests.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Dunn).
  Mr. DUNN. Mr. Chairman, I thank my friend from Pennsylvania for 
yielding me time.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Resilient Federal Forests Act 
of 2017. The National Forest System is governed by the principle of 
multiple use--conferring maximum sustainable benefits in the form of 
wildlife habitat, recreation, clean air and water, and timber harvests.
  Sadly, government red tape and the constant threat of litigation has 
caused paralysis by analysis at the Forest Service leading to a 
decrease of public recreation activities and a reduction of timber 
output.
  In the counties surrounding the Apalachicola National Forest in 
Florida's Second District--Franklin, Leon, Liberty, and Wakulla--the 
lack of timber management not only means fewer jobs, but it also 
creates a smaller tax base which means fewer resources to provide basic 
services like law enforcement and good schools.
  Under the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, forest management 
will be driven by forest health and not by fear of litigation. This 
improves stewardship and strengthens communities. I encourage all of my 
colleagues to support this important legislation.
  Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Beyer).
  Mr. BEYER. Mr. Chairman, I don't have any strong objections to the 
parts of this bill that deal with forest resilience, and I yield to 
people who know a lot more about forests than I do.
  But I am concerned that H.R. 2936 is harmful for all of the species 
that rely on forests for habitat and that the bill specifically 
includes provisions that specifically attack and undermine the 
Endangered Species Act.
  The bill allows the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management 
to unilaterally determine if authorized logging and forestry management 
actions would adversely affect listed species or critical habitat 
without ever consulting experts at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
as is required by the Endangered Species Act.
  Furthermore, the bill declares that, for purposes of the ESA, all 
logging and other forestry activities carried out pursuant to the bill 
are ``nondiscretionary'' actions. Deeming these actions to be 
nondiscretionary serves as a direct waiver of the Endangered Species 
Act regulations and protections and allows forest activities to violate 
the ESA and jeopardize species.
  Another provision exempts the Forest Service and BLM from 
implementing regulations that require consultation on management plans 
when a new species is listed as threatened or endangered or there is a 
new critical habitat designation.
  This, in particular, will have profound implications for species that 
have been proposed or are candidates for listing under the ESA that 
rely on these lands for habitat, such as the North American wolverine.
  In short, this bill dismantles interagency consultation that is 
integral to wildlife protection under the Endangered Species Act.
  America's forests are home to over 400 threatened or endangered 
species, including the Florida panther, native wild trout, and the 
black-footed ferret. We cannot allow this bill to strip protections for 
these iconic species and eliminate environmental review processes for 
our Nation's forests. So on this basis--the threat to the Endangered 
Species Act--I urge my colleagues to vote ``no.''

[[Page H8329]]

  

  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to my 
colleague from Texas (Mr. Gohmert).
  Mr. GOHMERT. Mr. Chairman, it is great to be able to speak on this. I 
am grateful to Mr. Westerman. We share a great deal of interests, and 
Mr. Thompson.
  As far as the endangered species, I remember hearing about how this 
little spotted owl only could mate in virgin forests, and then it turns 
out some pair were reported to have mated in a Kmart sign. But 
endangered species will do best in managed forests where we clear 
underbrush and where we make fire lanes--where we manage the forests. 
The forests do better, and you stop the wildfires.
  If you want to just leave it to nature, nature will destroy massive 
numbers of acres of land. So we have a responsibility. Even in the 
Garden of Eden when things were perfect, God said to tend the garden.
  So I appreciate the time, and I also appreciate the chairman's 
willingness to address the issue of the stewardship program so counties 
don't get messed over.
  Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Bergman).
  Mr. BERGMAN. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of H.R. 2936, the 
Resilient Federal Forests Act. My district is home to three national 
forests, Ottawa, Hiawatha, and Huron-Manistee. So when we use the term 
``in our neck of the woods,'' we mean it.
  We understand how vitally important proper management of forests is 
for our environment, our economy, and our special way of life in 
northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. I live right in the middle 
of the Ottawa National Forest, so this issue really does hit close to 
home for me.
  Now as we have seen the devastation from forest fires in the West, it 
is more important than ever to have this debate. But it is impossible 
to talk about the need for wildfire suppression without talking about 
proper forest management. These two go hand in hand--or at least they 
should go hand in hand.

                              {time}  1530

  All too often, we hear rhetoric that managing our forests and 
removing dead or dying trees is a bad thing. This can't be further from 
the truth.
  When we leave these dried, rotting trees laying on the forest floor, 
they become an incendiary breeding ground for fires. Those fires cost 
the Forest Service billions of dollars and countless hours of manpower 
to extinguish. Last year alone, we spent $2.9 billion on suppression 
efforts. This leaves barely any financial resources to allocate towards 
actually managing our forests.
  H.R. 2936 seeks to end this cycle. Let's get at the problem now so it 
doesn't become a disaster later. This is not a partisan issue. This is 
a commonsense solution for our federally owned forest land.
  Mr. Chairman, I include in the Record a letter from the Forest 
Products Industry National Labor Management Committee and a letter from 
the Intertribal Timber Council.

                                                 October 31, 2017.
     Hon. Rob Bishop,
     House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
     Subject: Support for HR 2936, The Resilient Federal Forests 
         Act of 2017.
       Dear Congressman Bishop: As chair of the Forest Products 
     Industry National Labor Management Committee, I am writing in 
     strong support of HR 2936, The Resilient Federal Forests Act 
     of 2017. I urge you to vote in support of HR 2936 when it 
     comes to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote 
     on Wednesday, November 1.
       The Forest Products Industry National Labor Management 
     Committee is a non-profit trust formed to pursue the common 
     public policy interests of the working men and women in the 
     forest products industry. Collectively, the Committee 
     represents more than two million workers across the nation, 
     including lumber and sawmill workers, woodworkers, 
     machinists, carpenters, and pulp and paper workers.
       The balanced and sustainable management of our federally-
     owned forests has been of significant interest to the 
     Committee since it was founded in 1990. Since that time, the 
     Committee has engaged on numerous pieces of federal forest 
     and related legislation.
       HR 2936 is a bipartisan measure that will address the 
     growing economic and environmental threats posed by 
     catastrophic wildfires. HR 2936 provides a responsible 
     budgetary solution and targeted forest management reforms to 
     improve the health and resiliency of America's forests. 
     Adoption of these proposals will enhance federal forest 
     stewardship; protect forest ecosystems from catastrophic fire 
     and disease; and preserve rural, family wage jobs.
       The Forest Products Industry National Labor Management 
     Committee urges you to vote in support of HR 2936, the 
     Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, when the measure comes 
     to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote this 
     week.
           Sincerely,
     Mike Draper,
       Chairman, Forest Products Industry National Labor 
     Management Committee.
                                  ____



                                   Intertribal Timber Council,

                                       Portland, OR, July 5, 2017.
     Hon. Rob Bishop,
     Chairman, House Committee on Natural Resources, Washington, 
         DC.
       Dear Chairman Bishop: The Executive Board of the 
     Intertribal Timber Council (ITC) supports H.R. 2936, the 
     Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. 
     Bruce Westerman.
       We wish to particularly express our strong support for 
     Title VII, which will enhance tribal input and involvement in 
     the restoration of federal forest lands. Such restoration 
     projects are sorely needed to improve forest health and 
     reduce threats to lands held in trust for Indians as well as 
     non-trust federal land upon which Indian tribes access for 
     traditional, subsistence and treaty-guaranteed purposes.
       Section 701 would provide timelines for review, approval 
     and implementation of Tribal Forest Protection Act projects. 
     This new authority is needed because of the underperformance 
     of the TFPA authority. Thirteen years after Congress passed 
     the TFPA, only three projects have been fully implemented, 
     while others linger in years of procedural abyss. As a 
     result, tribal forest lands remain at high risk of wildfire 
     coming from adjacent federal lands. This section would give 
     tribes the certainty to pursue TFPA projects with their 
     federal neighbors and reduce the risk of wildfire migrating 
     from federal lands onto Indian trust land.
       Section 702 would give the Forest Service and BLM a new 
     ability to have tribes carry out forest restoration projects 
     in their homelands. Improvement of forest health and 
     ecological functions are vital to maintain watersheds and 
     fish and wildlife habitat on lands that may be subject to 
     federally-reserved tribal rights. Acting through the Bureau 
     of Indian Affairs, tribes would be able to restore lands 
     using the federal regulatory structure used on Indian trust 
     lands. As the Committee has noted on several occasions, 
     tribal forest management is able to achieve greater results 
     faster and at lower costs than on federal land. This 
     provision would help bring that successful management 
     approach to federal lands sorely in need of restoration.
       Section 703 authorizes pilot authority for the Interior and 
     Agriculture Departments to grant ``638'' contracting 
     authority to tribes and tribal organizations for the 
     administrative and management functions of TFPA projects.
       The ITC is a forty-one year old association of more than 
     fifty Indian tribes and Alaska Native organizations that 
     collectively manage more than 90% of the 18 million acres of 
     forest land held in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 
     The ITC is dedicated to pursuing the best management and 
     protection of tribal forests and other natural resources. We 
     actively participated in the development of the National 
     Indian Forest Resources Management Act (PL 101-630, 1990) and 
     the Tribal Forest Protection Act (PL 108-278, 2004). It is 
     our pleasure to now support H.R. 2936.
           Sincerely,
                                                      Phil Rigdon,
                                                        President.

  Mr. BERGMAN. Mr. Chairman, I strongly urge my colleagues to support 
H.R. 2936.
  Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Thompson).
  Mr. THOMPSON of California. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for 
yielding.
  Mr. Chairman, many of my colleagues have asked, because of the recent 
fires in my district, how I will be voting on this measure today. Well, 
I am a ``no.''
  My district experienced the worst wildfires in California history. 
Fires burned close to 300,000 acres, killed 43 people, forced more than 
100,000 people to evacuate, decimated some 7,000 homes, and left 10,000 
people homeless in the city of Santa Rosa alone.
  Our fires didn't burn Forest Service lands and they didn't start on 
public land, so nothing in this bill that we are discussing here today 
could have prevented the devastation in my district.
  I agree that we should be doing more to prepare for catastrophic fire 
events, but this bill doesn't achieve that goal. Instead, it guts 
longstanding protections and fails to fix the budgetary issues that 
plague fire management. In

[[Page H8330]]

fact, this bill could make things worse by creating more red tape for 
agencies when they are actively responding to wildfires.
  That is why I joined Representative Huffman to introduce an amendment 
that would have more directly addressed the risk of wildfires. We 
incorporated provisions based on:
  Representatives Simpson's and Schrader's Wildfire Disaster Funding 
Act that gives land management agencies access to funding to fight 
wildfires without jeopardizing other agency programs;
  Legislation that I dropped today that is the companion bill to 
Senators Cantwell's and Risch's Wildland Fires Act, which provides 
funding to help communities prepare for wildfires and target high-risk 
areas for prescribed burns. The gentleman from Nevada (Mr. Amodei) is 
the coauthor of that legislation;
  We incorporated Representatives LaMalfa's and Schrader's Electricity 
Reliability and Forest Protection Act, which passed the House earlier 
this year, and allows for hazardous vegetation management on Federal 
lands that abut electrical transmission lines;
  We also incorporated Representative Ruiz's Wildfire Prevention Act 
that allows States to apply for hazard mitigation grants for wildfire 
prevention projects.
  Instead of considering controversial measures that will meet a dead 
end once it gets to the Senate, we should pass these bipartisan, 
practical, and effective solutions.
  The fires that tore across my State must not be used as an excuse to 
undermine fundamental environmental laws that protect public lands. 
They should motivate us to work together to protect communities from 
the devastation that my constituents are facing today.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Montana (Mr. Gianforte).
  Mr. GIANFORTE. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding. I 
also thank the gentleman from Arkansas, a trained forester, for his 
efforts to reform how we manage our forests.
  Montana faced a devastating wildfire season. Over 1 million acres 
have burned in our State. Lives were lost. Our livelihoods were 
threatened. Wildlife habitats were destroyed. We breathed the smoke as 
the clouds hung in the air.
  Earlier this week, the gentleman from Arkansas and I met with 
conservationists, the Forest Service, local leaders, and key 
stakeholders, including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. They all 
affirmed that litigation and an inability to inappropriately manage our 
forests are the problem that lead to severe wildfires.
  When catastrophic wildfires strike, we keep treating the symptoms--
suppressing the fires--and somehow think that the next wildfire will be 
different. We have to address the underlying issues. We have to reform 
how we manage our forests. We have to make our forests healthier and 
our wildfires less severe. We can begin that process today.
  The people of Montana need relief and a long-term solution. I 
encourage my colleagues to support this bill.
  The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Issa). The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I yield an additional 30 
seconds to the gentleman.
  Mr. GIANFORTE. Mr. Chairman, I include in the Record a letter of 
support for the legislation from the National Lumber and Building 
Material Dealers Association, and a statement of support from the 
former Chief of the Forest Service, Tom Tidwell.

     NLBMDA Praises Reintroduction of Resilient Federal Forests Act

       Washington, DC.--The National Lumber and Building Material 
     Dealers Association (NLBMDA) praises the introduction 
     yesterday of the Resilient Federal Forests Act by (H.R. 2936) 
     Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR). The legislation helps protect 
     the national forest system by implementing best practices 
     intended to lessen the threat of wildfires. Original 
     cosponsors for the bipartisan bill include Reps. Raul 
     Labrador (R-ID), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Cathy McMorris 
     Rodgers (R-WA), Rick Nolan (D-MN), Collin Peterson (D-MN), 
     and Scott Tipton (R-CO).
       Rep. Westerman introduced the legislation during the 
     previous Congress in 2015, where it passed the House of 
     Representatives by a vote of 262-167 with support from 21 
     Democrats who crossed the aisle to support the bill.
       The U.S. Forest Service manages over 190 million acres. Of 
     this, 46 million acres is designated as allowable for timber 
     harvest. Timber harvests from federal forests declined by 78 
     percent between 1987 and 2015, from 11.3 to 2.5 billion board 
     feet. This is far below the long-term, sustainable capability 
     of these lands of 12.2 billion board feet per year.
       Poor land management during the past 30 years has led to 
     declining health of national forests. This has resulted in 
     fewer jobs and productivity in the forestry sector, fewer 
     board feet of domestically produced lumber entering the 
     market, and a marked increase in acreage ravaged by insects, 
     disease and fire.
       ``The Resilient Federal Forests Act strikes a balanced 
     approach in managing the national forest system by making 
     more land available for logging in an environmentally 
     sustainable way,'' said Jonathan Paine, NLBMDA President and 
     CEO. ``NLBMDA thanks Congressman Westerman for his leadership 
     on this important issue.''
       NLBMDA supports greater sustainable harvesting of federal 
     forests to meet long-term demand for lumber as part of a 
     comprehensive plan that does not place U.S. private forests 
     at a competitive disadvantage.
                                  ____


Statement of Tom Tidwell, Chief, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest 
                                Service


  Submitted to THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE, SUBCOMMITTEE ON 
       FEDERAL LANDS on THE RESILIENT FEDERAL FORESTS ACT OF 2017

       Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for 
     the opportunity to present a statement regarding the 
     Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017. The U.S. Forest 
     Service is currently reviewing this discussion draft, and the 
     Administration does not have a position on it at this time.
       We appreciate the significant work the Subcommittee put 
     into this bill since it was last introduced in the 114th 
     Congress. We also appreciate your efforts to incorporate 
     Forest Service comments and recommendations and are 
     encouraged by many of the goals outlined within this bill. We 
     look forward to continuing to work with you and your staffs 
     on the details to ensure this legislation results in 
     meaningful improvements to forest management work on the 
     ground.
       The Forest Service welcomes legislation that expands the 
     toolset we can use to restore our nation's forests while 
     staying within the boundaries and intent of the National 
     Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. 
     Forest restoration projects provide rural jobs, mitigate the 
     severity of wildfires, enhance watershed conditions, and 
     ensure a variety of other economic, social and environmental 
     benefits for the American people. Provisions that expand 
     categorical exclusions, incentivize collaboration, and 
     streamline environmental analysis or consultation with other 
     federal agencies are all important issues in the bill that we 
     are reviewing.
       It is notable that the Resilient Federal Forests Act does 
     not contain provisions that would mandate harvest levels, 
     require a new layer of zoning on the National Forests, or 
     elevate one use over another on these multiple-use lands, as 
     we have seen in other recent forestry bills.
       While we support efforts to provide new tools to improve 
     forest management and restoration, capacity constraints, 
     including the present approach to budgeting for wildfire, 
     continue to be impediments to increasing the pace and scale 
     of this work. We look forward to continuing to work with you 
     on the wildfire title to find a solution that addresses the 
     disproportionate growth of fire programs as a share of the 
     agency's overall budget.
       Again, I thank you for the opportunity to provide this 
     statement. The Forest Service stands ready to continue 
     working with you on this important legislation.

  Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I yield 4 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Schrader).
  Mr. SCHRADER. Mr. Chairman, this fire season has put the need for 
real forest management in stark relief for those of us who live out 
West.
  The current laissez-faire forest policy, with random desperate 
measures to fight increasingly horrific fires that threaten and destroy 
rural and now--as we have seen in California--suburban communities is 
completely inadequate and increasingly costly to the taxpayer.
  This bill, contrary to what some have said, rewards communities that 
have proactive, collaborative programs; stewardship programs; rural 
advisory committees; and wildfire protection plans to manage their 
forests without redundant NEPA processes.
  A few thousand acres out of the millions acres of Federal forest land 
are now going to be enabled to be managed for wildlife successional 
forest habitat; removal of dangerous roadside and infrastructure 
threatening vegetation; insect and disease infestations; reducing 
hazardous fuel in the forests; and,

[[Page H8331]]

frankly, doing a little reforesting of salvage projects, which should 
have been allowed years ago.
  We also pilot a few arbitration projects to stop the endless 
frivolous litigation of every single forest project, at least in 
Oregon, and I think elsewhere.
  SRS payments continue to rural communities whose way of life has 
been, basically, taken away from them by the endless frivolous 
litigation in our Federal forests. Counties, for the first time, get 
some revenue from the very stewardship contracts that we want to 
encourage, but not at the expense of rural communities' economic 
health.
  Many are still stuck in the recession, and this bill is critical to 
their revival. Oregon counties in the Oregon and California railroad 
areas also get the opportunity to be made whole again, like the 
original statute said.
  I think it is important to note for a lot of our friends out there 
that the current regional forest plans still apply and are not 
undermined. We just give flexibility to the Forest Service folks within 
the regions to do what they think needs to be done to keep those 
forests healthy. We empower good management.
  For those of you who are interested in innovation, this bill actually 
calls out cross-laminated timber and other thoughtful uses of forests 
and timber that can bring environmental and timber groups together like 
it should be in the 21st century.
  Finally, most important of all for some folks, we actually get 
wildfire disaster funding included as a reasonable topic of 
conversation and get out of the current fire-borrowing policy that is 
preventing the Forest Service and BLM from doing good forest management 
to prevent those fires in the first place.
  On balance, frankly, this is a very good bill and it is much-needed 
at this time.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Idaho (Mr. Labrador).
  Mr. LABRADOR. Mr. Chairman, the Resilient Federal Forests Act 
contains many provisions that will give the Forest Service additional 
tools to better manage our national forests.
  To keep our forests healthy and productive, we must ensure we have 
skilled loggers to safely work in those forests. I thank Representative 
Westerman for including my bill, the Future Logging Careers Act, in his 
bill that is on the floor today.
  My bill will allow 16- and 17-year-olds to learn the logging business 
by working in family-owned mechanized logging operations under the 
supervision of their parents. That will allow the next generation of 
loggers to learn valuable skills, prepare to take over family 
businesses, and provide the wood products needed to support our 
economy.
  I learned of the need for this bill after meeting two Idaho loggers 
from third-generation logging families, Tim Christopherson from Idaho 
County and Tom Mahon from Adams County.
  Mahon's 16-year-old son, J.T., was working under his father's 
supervision when a Forest Service employee sent him home. J.T. couldn't 
work in the woods because logging doesn't have an exemption that has 
long been enjoyed by family farms under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I yield an additional 30 
seconds to the gentleman from Idaho.
  Mr. LABRADOR. With help from the families and the Associated Logging 
Contractors of Idaho, we crafted a solution that is good for families, 
good for rural America, and good for the American economy.
  I am grateful for the bipartisan effort on this legislation, and I 
urge my colleagues to support the bill.
  Mr. Chairman, I include in the Record a letter from the National Wild 
Turkey Federation and a letter from the National Association of 
Counties, Western Interstate Region, in support of H.R. 2936.

                              National Wild Turkey Federation,

                                     Edgefield, SC, June 26, 2017.
     Hon. Rob Bishop,
     Chairman, Natural Resources Committee,
     House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Raul Grijalva,
     Ranking Democrat, Natural Resources Committee, House of 
         Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Bishop and Representative Grijalva: On behalf 
     of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and its 230,000 
     members, we urge you to take swift Committee action on H.R. 
     2936 the Resilient Federal Forest Act of 2017. The NWTF is a 
     leader in wildlife habitat conservation in North America and 
     is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and 
     preservation of our hunting heritage. We are currently 
     working towards our 10-year Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt 
     initiative in which we aim to conserve or enhance 4 million 
     acres of critical habitat, recruit 1.5 million hunters and 
     open 500,000 acres for outdoor enjoyment
       Active forest management is crucial to establishing healthy 
     and sustainable forests and decisions for forest management 
     should be based on sound science. As such, the common sense 
     solutions offered in H.R. 2936 are imperative to the health 
     and future of our nation's forests and important to the NWTF 
     to help achieve our objectives. In total, H.R. 2936 has many 
     reasonable solutions to the challenges that the managing 
     agencies face to increase the pace and efficiency of active 
     forest management on our nation's federal lands. We take this 
     opportunity to highlight those solutions that we believe will 
     make the most immediate difference and offer recommendations 
     as to how we believe the bill can be further improved.
       We support increased availability for Categorical 
     Exclusions (CE) in order to deal more effectively and 
     efficiently with threats like pests and disease and for 
     addressing urgent wildlife needs like critical habitat for 
     endangered species. We are especially supportive of the CE 
     that will allow for activities that enhance early 
     successional forests for wildlife habitat. Unlike some 
     critics of CEs who will suggest, they do not exempt the 
     action from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 
     rather they apply the NEPA review to like or similar actions 
     to expedite the process. These are administered under Council 
     on Environmental Quality regulations and other guidance. 
     Increased use of CEs is one of the best opportunities we have 
     in the short term to increase the pace of active forest 
     management.
       Funding the cost of fighting catastrophic wildfires outside 
     of the agency budget is paramount to the agency's ability to 
     deliver on other aspects of their mission. We are supportive 
     of a fix that will allow catastrophic wildfires to be 
     considered a disaster. Until agencies are freed from the 
     burden of fighting catastrophic wildfires through their 
     annual budgets we will be unable to make meaningful progress 
     towards proactive forest management. We recommend capping the 
     firefighting budget at the current 10-year average to protect 
     further erosion of the U.S. Forest Service budget in other 
     important mission delivery areas.
       We support the bill's provisions for large scale 
     reforestation on fire-impacted lands. While public input and 
     review is essential to public lands management, currently it 
     can result in delayed action and result in an inability to 
     accomplish the necessary objectives. We believe the deadlines 
     set for plan development and public input, as well as the 
     prohibition on restraining orders and preliminary injunctions 
     strike a reasonable balance. We recommend that this provision 
     of the bill clarify that proper ecological restoration is 
     allowed as a mechanism to salvage forests post catastrophic 
     events as reforestation may not always be the best action for 
     the ecological good.
       The NWTF strongly supports arbitration as an alternative to 
     litigation. This will conserve valuable U.S. Forest Service 
     resources and expedite work getting done on the ground. 
     Additionally, we support the provision that does not allow 
     plaintiffs challenging a forest management activity to 
     receive any award or payment obligated from the Claims and 
     Judgment Fund.
       We support the approach for allowing evaluation of only 
     action/no-action alternatives for collaborative Forest Plans, 
     Resource Advisory Committee and Community Wildfire Protection 
     Plan projects. Limiting the number of alternatives will 
     expedite the development of environmental assessments and 
     allow work to get done on the ground more quickly. We also 
     support the requirement to look at consequences of a no-
     action alternative as a no-action decision would still have 
     an impact on the resource.
       We understand budget concerns counties face and are 
     supportive of a portion of retained receipts from stewardship 
     contracts going to the counties. Stewardship Contracting is 
     an important tool for active forest management. Ultimately 
     this change will remove one impediment to utilizing 
     Stewardship Contracting and help garner support from the 
     counties. We recommend modifying this section to reflect that 
     payment should come only from retained receipts on completed 
     projects, versus strictly from timber value within ongoing 
     projects. This will maintain the ``exchange of goods for 
     services'' function of Stewardship Contracting while also 
     preserving the balance of timber dollars and the investment 
     of matching funds from organizations like the NWTF to expand 
     the scope and scale of projects, thus accomplishing more 
     active management and fire protection across the landscape 
     and within counties.
       We appreciate the recognition of the importance of funding 
     planning activities for forest management. We are concerned 
     that the provision could potentially provide justification 
     for the U.S. Forest Service staff to refrain from fully 
     utilizing product value and

[[Page H8332]]

     partner match dollars for on the ground work. While we feel 
     the 25% threshold is too high, the provision of allowing some 
     of the stewardship project revenues to cover the costs of 
     planning additional projects could be beneficial and 
     incentivize project planning.
       We also appreciate the common-sense amendments to the 
     Endangered Species Act (ESA) that will improve the process of 
     protecting endangered and threatened species and their 
     habitat. The bill overturns the ``Cottonwood'' court 
     decision, which directs that if additional critical habitat 
     is designated under an approved Forest Plan or Resource 
     Management Plan, a section 7 programmatic re-consultation of 
     the entire Forest Plan needs to be done. The U.S. Fish and 
     Wildlife Service and the Obama Administration argued that the 
     section 7 consultation needs only to be done on the portion 
     of the project covering the additionally designated acreage 
     of critical habitat. The remedy in this bill will greatly 
     reduce the debilitating process that the federal court 
     decision directs. The bill also affirms current U.S. Fish and 
     Wildlife Service policy that no ESA section 7 consultation is 
     required if the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land 
     Management determines through informal consultation that the 
     proposed action will not likely have an adverse affect on 
     species or critical habitat. We further support the 90 day 
     threshold on a CE established by this bill because it will 
     conserve agency resources and expedite management activities 
     on the ground.
       We commend Congressman Westerman, the co-sponsors, and 
     Chairman Bishop for their dedication to restoring and 
     maintaining our federal forests under management informed by 
     science, and offering the appropriate reforms to management 
     practices. We respectfully urge that you expeditiously report 
     H.R. 2936 out of Committee and to the House floor.
           Sincerely,
                                             Rebecca A. Humphries,
     Chief Executive Officer.
                                  ____

                                                    June 21, 2017.
     Hon. Bruce Westerman,
     House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Congressman Westerman: On behalf of the National 
     Association of Counties (NACo) the only organization 
     representing the nation's 3,069 counties, parishes, and 
     boroughs, and the Western Interstate Region (WIR), we write 
     to express support for H.R. 2936, the Resilient Federal 
     Forests Act of 2017. Thank you for your leadership in 
     introducing legislation to promote the active management of 
     our nation's federal lands and forests, reduce the risk of 
     catastrophic wildfire and promote collaborative approaches to 
     address natural resource management challenges.
       The legislation will improve the health and wellbeing of 
     forest lands and forest communities by: promoting 
     collaboration and streamlining regulations for forest health 
     projects, protecting communities through wildfire risk 
     reduction, improving flexibility and fairness in forest 
     revenue sharing, and delegating the authority for Resource 
     Advisory Committees (RAC) appointments.


Promoting Collaboration and Streamlining Regulations for Forest Health 
                                Projects

       Counties believe that active management of federal lands 
     and forests must be done in a sustainable manner that ensures 
     the health of our federal lands for generations to come. One 
     way to help ensure a balanced approach to address natural 
     resource management challenges is by promoting locally driven 
     collaborative processes that promote consensus driven 
     decision making. Counties across the United States have 
     engaged in collaborative efforts to address their natural 
     resources challenges. By bringing a broad cross-section of 
     local stakeholders into collaborative processes, counties, 
     industry, outdoorsmen, conservationists and federal and state 
     land managers have built consensus on some of the most 
     complex natural resource management challenges.
       By authorizing limited and reasonable categorical 
     exclusions for projects that improve forest health and have 
     been developed through consensus based collaborative 
     processes, H.R. 2936 builds upon these successes and provides 
     additional tools to help ensure that collaborative efforts 
     continue to work, accelerate and expand. Streamlining the 
     regulatory review of proposed forestry projects will increase 
     project implementation and the number of acres that are 
     treated.


         Protecting Communities through Wildfire Risk Reduction

       For the 26 percent of counties across the United States 
     that are home to federal forest lands, the health of our 
     national forests has a direct impact on the health and safety 
     of county residents. Healthy forests are less prone to 
     disease, insect infestation, and wildfire. While the causes 
     of catastrophic wildfire are complex, the status quo of 
     inaction has exacerbated present forest conditions, which now 
     present a great risk to both communities and the environment. 
     Your legislation would help to correct this by requiring the 
     costs and benefits of a proposed forest project be weighed 
     against the costs and benefits of doing nothing to address 
     wildfire threats, disease and insect infestation, and their 
     impacts on local water supply and wildlife habitat.
       Provisions of the legislation expediting regulatory 
     analysis for timber salvage after major wildfires are also 
     crucial, and will provide the Forest Service with the revenue 
     it needs to execute critical and time-sensitive post-fire 
     reforestation work.


     Providing Flexibility and Equitable Sharing of Forest Revenues

       In addition to improving forest health and reducing 
     wildfire risk for forest communities, increased active 
     management will generate more revenue for the federal 
     treasury and critical services provided by counties, and 
     promote job creation and economic growth in counties across 
     the nation. According to the American Forest and Paper 
     Association, forest products industries account for 4% of 
     U.S. manufacturing GDP and over $50 billion annually in wages 
     for approximately 900,000 employees. These jobs provide a 
     direct economic impact to many rural and forest counties 
     across the country.
       The growth in stewardship contracting in recent years has 
     shown that a market-driven approach to forest management 
     projects can work to achieve both forest management goals and 
     increased forest production. Counties support and are active 
     partners in stewardship contracting initiatives across the 
     United States. NACo and WIR support provisions of H.R. 2936 
     that authorize the equitable sharing of stewardship 
     contracting revenues with counties consistent with historic 
     practices. Forest revenue sharing payments support critical 
     county services such as transportation infrastructure and 
     education. America's counties look forward to working with 
     Congress to further strengthen forest revenue sharing between 
     counties and the federal government.
       Since 2000, due to sharp declines in forest revenues, the 
     federal government has provided payments to forest counties 
     through the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. The SRS 
     program provides a critical safety-net for forest counties 
     impacted by declines in forest production and the loss of 
     forest jobs and it will continue to be a critical program 
     until the declines in forest production can be fully 
     addressed. H.R. 2936 reforms Title III of SRS that provide 
     much needed flexibility for counties to use a portion of SRS 
     funding to support law enforcement patrols and ensure county 
     first-responders have the equipment and training they need to 
     provide high-quality emergency services on forest service 
     land to county residents and the millions of public lands 
     visitors each year.


    Delegating the Authority for Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) 
                              Appointments

       Finally, counties support legislation to ensure rural 
     counties can actively coordinate with federal agencies 
     through flexibility in RAC membership and appointments. NACo 
     and WIR support allowing the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture 
     and U.S. Secretary of the Interior to delegate the authority 
     for appointing RAC members to agency leaders, such as 
     Regional Foresters or Bureau of Land Management State 
     Directors. Counties should be included in the development and 
     implementation of public lands management plans, and RACs 
     allow county leaders to actively participate in this process. 
     Your legislation would allow the Secretary to delegate RAC 
     appointment authority, and ensure locally-driven efforts to 
     better manage federal lands can begin in a timely manner.
       NACo and WIR stand ready to work with you to promote 
     locally supported, consensus-driven solutions to address 
     management challenges, reduce the risk of catastrophic 
     wildfire, and increase economic activity on our federal 
     lands. NACo and WIR encourage swift passage of the Resilient 
     Federal Forests Act of 2017.
           Sincerely,
     Matthew D. Chase,
       Executive Director, National Association of Counties.
     Joel Bousman,
       President, Western Interstate Region.

  Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from California (Mr. LaMalfa).
  Mr. LaMALFA. Mr. Chairman, nationwide, this year has been the most 
expensive year on record, with over $2 billion spent to combat fires 
that have burned almost 9 million acres of land.
  As of October 29, State and Federal firefighters responded to 8,300-
plus fires, covering over 1.1 million acres in California alone, nearly 
doubling the amount of acres burned in 2016.
  A complete lack of forest management in California has left our 
forests more combustible than ever, leading to one of the worst 
wildfire seasons in our State's history. That is why the bill of my 
colleague, Mr. Westerman, H.R. 2936, is very important.
  The Resilient Federal Forests Act includes what I believe to be 
critically important reforms in forest management, such as expedited 
environmental reviews and the availability of categorical exclusions 
for forest management activities to help achieve these goals.
  Our Federal lands are hurting. They are in desperate need to be 
managed in order to not have these disasters each and every year. We 
can either thin the trees and the brush out, or watch them

[[Page H8333]]

go up in smoke every year and become part of our brown skies, instead 
of the blue skies that we would normally enjoy.
  We can't afford this inaction anymore. We need to move this 
legislation and clean up California's forests for all.
  Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, as I said earlier, this bill is not 
perfect, but it has a lot of good provisions.
  I urge support of this bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, I thank the ranking 
member of the Agriculture Committee for his support, and also Mr. 
Westerman from Arkansas, the author of this bill.
  The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017 is a bipartisan solution to 
address the growing economic and environmental threats from 
catastrophic wildfires.
  As we have heard already, 2017 has had the costliest wildfires on 
record, with the Forest Service spending over $2 billion. We have had 
the loss of communities and lives lost. The greatest cause of this 
uptick in wildfires is the severe lack of forest management.

                              {time}  1545

  This legislation pairs a responsible budget fix with forest 
management reforms, improves the health and resiliency of our Nation's 
forests and rangelands, and provides Federal Land Management agency 
tools to increase the pay scale and cost efficiency of forest 
management projects without sacrificing environmental protections.
  The bill permanently solves the wildfire borrowing problem by 
allowing FEMA to transfer limited funds to the Forest Service or BLM 
when the rest of their wildfire suppression funding has been exhausted.
  It prevents wildfires by authorizing the tools for the Forest 
Service, tools that they are looking for in the Bureau of Land 
Management that they can implement immediately to mitigate insect and 
disease infestation, prevent damage to municipal watersheds and 
critical infrastructure quickly, harvest wildfire, kill trees to pay 
for the reforestation, and the bill encourages quick reforestation that 
accelerates habitat improvement.
  This bill does incentivize collaboration, supports local government, 
and modernizes the Secure Rural Schools Act.
  Mr. Chairman, I would just ask my colleagues for their support of 
H.R. 2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, and I yield back 
the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  As we make this transition, let me try and sum up where we are at 
this particular time.
  This particular bill was done in coordination with the U.S. Forest 
Service under both the Obama administration and the Trump 
administration. This has the approval of local governments, Tribes, 
sportsmen's groups, and labor unions. The last time we had this bill, 
it had a good bipartisan vote on it, but these are issues that the 
Forest Service needs and they can use on day one of their issue.
  What the Forest Service needs are resources, obviously. We know that. 
But they also need the tools that they need to actually do their work.
  Now, there are some on the fringe who are going to say that 
everything is wrong here, but I would encourage them to get rid of the 
usual rhetoric and to pocket the dogma for a minute and realize that 
what we need to do is come up with a system that affects the planning 
process.
  The Forest Service admits they have 50 to 60 million acres of 
forestland today that is ready to be a catastrophic catastrophe. They 
want to treat 25 percent of what they own a year. They are only 
treating 2 to 3 percent. That means, of the 50 to 60 million acres they 
have that are in dire situations right now, they can only treat 3 a 
year. That would take them 20 years to try and get through what needs 
to be treated unless we give them new tools to reform the system to 
make that process going in, and that is exactly what this bill does: it 
rewards collaboration; it tries to stop unnecessary litigation; it 
comes up with arbitration concepts that are in there; it expands the 
ability of streamlining the process so they can get to work.
  Our people need the resources to do their job. They need the tools. 
We should make it very clear that money alone is not going to solve the 
problem of wildfire catastrophe. What we have to do is solve the 
conditions that create the catastrophic wildfires in the first place, 
and that means that we need to make sure that we are doing things so we 
can prohibit what has happened, which has been devastating to people 
and their property; which has destroyed habitat for species, endangered 
and unendangered; and which has created conditions of pollution in our 
atmosphere.
  All that has to take place. Everything in this bill is what the 
experts in the Forest Service said they can do on day one after it is 
passed. It needs to take place. It needs to be in addition to the 
financial solving of the wildfire situation. You need to have these 
reforms, and that is what we are pushing in this bill. It is why it is 
so desperately needed and why it was worked out with the experts in the 
field.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  I rise in opposition to H.R. 2936, the so-called Resilient Federal 
Forests Act of 2017. Perhaps a better name would be the ``Log America's 
Forest Act of 2017.''
  But before I address the many concerns with the underlying bill, I 
must commend my colleagues across the aisle for attempting to deal with 
the biggest barrier to improved management of our national forests: the 
enormous cost and impact of wildfire suppression on the Forest Service 
budget.
  Over 50 percent of the Forest Service budget is eaten up by wildfire, 
and if things don't change, the agency predicts that it will increase 
to two-thirds in just 5 years. Unfortunately, the budget fix in this 
bill falls short.
  First, it requires Congress to appropriate an amount equal to the 10-
year average before emergency funding is available. We know that 
climate change results in longer and more intense wildfire seasons, 
making the 10-year average irrelevant to the ever-increasing need for 
funding. Because the average is too low, the real number will keep 
growing, meaning the amount of funding that must be taken from the 
Forest Service accounts will continue to grow. Fighting fires will 
continue squeezing out money for the active management my Republican 
colleagues are so eager to prioritize.
  Second, requiring the President to declare each fire a national 
emergency before releasing funds is unnecessarily bureaucratic and 
could delay emergency operations.
  We need a holistic fix for the wildfire budget that makes money 
available in advance of a critical emergency, but Republicans would 
rather play politics with fire to undermine environmental safeguards.
  This is not the first time we have seen the bill, this piece of 
legislation. House Republicans sent a version to the Senate in the 
113th and the 114th Congresses, where it languished on the shelf 
because our colleagues on the other side of the Capitol found it too 
extreme.
  Rather than view that experience as an opportunity to seek compromise 
this time around, today we are considering a bill that is even more 
extreme and polarizing. They doubled the environmental review waivers, 
added language to undermine the Endangered Species Act, and scaled back 
protections for national monuments and roadless areas.
  We are told that this is all in the name of decreasing wildfire risk 
and protecting communities. The truth is that it is just more of the 
same from House Republicans who will look for any excuse to advance 
their extraction-above-all agenda.
  Wildfires are a huge problem in this country due, in large part, to 
climate change, something this bill ignores. By the way, they are 
becoming more frequent and more intense, and they pose a growing threat 
to public safety and local communities.
  This bill is not about forest health or wildfire mitigation. It is 
about increasing the number of trees removed from our forests. 
Republicans would rather scare us into weakening environmental 
safeguards than work on a possible bipartisan solution to wildfire 
management.

[[Page H8334]]

  A serious proposal would recognize the Forest Service and the 
Department of the Interior have ample authority within current law to 
conduct fire treatment on our public lands. In fact, the 2009 
Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, established the 
last time Democrats controlled the House, has resulted in the treatment 
of over 1.45 million acres of national forests to reduce the risk of 
catastrophic fire and the improvement of over 1.33 million acres of 
wildlife habitat.
  In just 5 years, the program generated more than $661 million in 
local labor income and an average of 4,300 jobs per year. The projects 
have attracted new partners and strengthened community relationships, 
leveraging over $76.1 million in partner matching funds. Collaborative 
programs like this bring people to the table and result in more acres 
treated, more local jobs, and more successful projects. Again, all of 
this has taken place within the framework of the current law.
  Increased funding for programs like Collaborative Forest Landscape 
Restoration should be a priority for Republicans, but this program was 
zeroed out by the Trump administration budget, and extreme proposals 
like this bill chip away at the principal pillars of law that make 
collaboration possible. Our constituents and our forests deserve 
better.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chairman, I include in the Record a letter 
from the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers 
and a letter sent from 40 forestry coalitions that are in support of 
this particular bill.

                                      National Conference of State


                               Historic Preservation Officers,

                                 Washington, DC, October 24, 2017.
     Hon. Rob Bishop,
     Chairman, House Committee on Natural Resources, Washington, 
         DC.
       Dear Chairman Bishop: On behalf of the National Conference 
     of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), we would 
     like to thank you and Congressman Bruce Westerman for 
     including language in the manager's amendment to H.R. 2936, 
     the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017. The language, 
     which calls for the establishment of a Nationwide 
     Programmatic Agreement to pursue an efficient and effective 
     solution to historic preservation review, ensures state and 
     local input on the impact of federal undertakings on historic 
     resources.
       The establishment of the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement 
     is consistent with the principal of states and communities 
     having a lead role in evaluating the impact of federal 
     projects on historic resources. This principal was enshrined 
     in law more than 50 years ago with the passage of the 
     National Historic Preservation Act and strengthened more than 
     40 years ago by the creation of the Historic Preservation 
     Fund.
       Wildfires pose a threat to historic resources and NCSHPO 
     supports your effort to reduce their risk. As the bill moves 
     forward, NCSHPO and its members remain ready and willing to 
     help find a solution to any challenges faced in the 
     management of our nation's forests. Our members are committed 
     to assisting federal agencies in achieving this goal, while 
     also ensuring that state and local governments continue to 
     have say in the impact of federal undertakings on historic 
     resources.
       We look forward to working with you on this important 
     issue.
           Sincerely,
                                                     Erik M. Hein,
     Executive Director.
                                  ____

                                                    June 27, 2017.
     Hon. Rob Bishop,
     Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources, House of 
         Representatives, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Raul Grijalva,
     Ranking Member, Committee on Natural Resources, House of 
         Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Bishop & Ranking Member Grijalva: We write to 
     you today in strong support of HR 2936, the bipartisan 
     Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017.
       Our federal forests are facing serious threats from fires, 
     insects, and diseases due to lack of active forest 
     management. The poor health of our federal forests also 
     threatens wildlife habitat, watersheds, and neighboring non-
     Federal lands, as well as the vitality of rural, forested 
     communities across the country. HR 2936 contains provisions 
     intended to both address the disruption caused by fire 
     borrowing and to expedite needed forest management to improve 
     the health and vitality of our federal forests.
       The Resilient Federal Forests Act provides Categorical 
     Exclusions (CE's) under the National Environmental Policy Act 
     will allow needed forest management projects to be more 
     quickly prepared, analyzed, and implemented. It will also 
     allow forest recovery projects to proceed more quickly, 
     addressing a dire need created by recent wildfire seasons. 
     The Forest Service has long experience with management 
     techniques to reduce forest pests, thin hazardous fuels, 
     create and maintain habitat for species, recover damaged 
     timber and protect water quality. These projects mitigate 
     risk and help create early successional forest habitat which 
     is good for wildlife.
       The Forest Service does more complex NEPA documentation 
     than most other Federal agencies, and even after years of 
     collaboration, frequently finds itself in court where judges 
     scrutinize procedural issues, delaying needed management, 
     sometimes for years. The Resilient Federal Forests Act 
     addresses the complex, court-imposed NEPA burden that has 
     been forced on the Forest Service, while preserving 
     collaborative efforts and avoiding sensitive forest lands.
       HR 2936 addresses both the excessive analysis requirements 
     imposed on even modest forest management projects, as well as 
     the dysfunctional system of funding suppression costs out of 
     forest management program accounts. Provisions in the bill 
     limit the acreage of Categorical Exclusions, and prohibits 
     their use in sensitive areas. The legislation provides access 
     to the disaster relief fund for wildfire suppression expenses 
     in excess of the 10-year average.
       The House acted on a similar, bipartisan bill in 2015. The 
     need for action to address forest health conditions on our 
     national forest system is even higher today. Wildfire 
     suppression funding mechanisms developed in the past are no 
     longer adequate to address the conditions we are 
     experiencing. We urge to take up and pass HR 2936 as quickly 
     as possible.
       We stand ready to work with both of you advance responsible 
     solutions to these serious national problems.
         Alabama Loggers Council; Allegheny Hardwood Utilization 
           Group, Inc.; American Farm Bureau Federation; American 
           Forest & Paper Association; American Forest Resource 
           Council; American Loggers Council; Arkansas Forestry 
           Association; Arkansas Timber Producers Association; 
           Associated California Loggers; Associated Logging 
           Contractors of Idaho; Associated Oregon Loggers; 
           Association of Consulting Foresters; Black Hills Forest 
           Resource Association; California Forestry Association; 
           Carolina Loggers Association; Colorado Timber Industry 
           Association; Coos County (Oregon) Board of 
           Commissioners; Deere & Co; Great Lakes Timber 
           Professionals; Hardwood Federations.
         Intermountain Forest Association; Louisiana Forestry 
           Association; Michigan Association of Timbermen; 
           Michigan Forest Products Council; Minnesota Forest 
           Industries; Minnesota Timber Producers Association; 
           Mississippi Loggers Association; Missouri Forest 
           Products Association; Montana Logging Association; 
           Montana Wood Products Association; National Wildfire 
           Institute; New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association; 
           New Mexico Coalition of Conservation Districts; New 
           Mexico Forest Industry Association; Northeastern 
           Loggers Association; Professional Logging Contractors 
           of Maine; South Carolina Timber Producers Association; 
           Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association; 
           Sustainable Forest Action Coalition; Treated Wood 
           Council.

  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from Arizona (Mr. Gosar).
  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 2936, 
the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, introduced by my friend and 
colleague Bruce Westerman.
  Our forests and the communities that live, work, and rely on them 
desperately need improved management practice to reduce these forest 
fire disasters and to increase resiliency.
  I was very pleased with the quick work by my friend and former 
colleague OMB Director Mick Mulvaney for addressing the wildfire 
funding crisis at the United States Forest Service, requesting $576.5 
million for wildfire suppression and recommending active management 
reforms.
  Now, while the Trump administration came through in a big way for 
Western communities that have been ravaged by catastrophic wildfires, 
Congress must pass H.R. 2936 and get serious about combating 
catastrophic wildfires before they get started.
  The Resilient Federal Forests Act is a bipartisan, comprehensive 
piece of legislation that simplifies the cumbersome planning process 
and reduces the cost of implementing proactive forest management 
strategies.
  H.R. 2936 empowers local communities by getting them involved in the 
decisionmaking process. It empowers Tribal communities to be part of 
the solution and help reduce the risk of wildfire.
  The bill removes incentives for extreme special interest groups to 
file frivolous lawsuits. In fact, it requires litigants opposing active 
management projects to propose an alternative plan as opposed to just 
saying ``no.'' Imagine that, solutions over lawsuits.

[[Page H8335]]

  Mismanagement has left our forests vulnerable to insects and disease 
and ripe for catastrophic wildfires. It is clear the system is broken. 
Western communities are tired of being victims, and this bill allows us 
to be proactive and to prevent disasters before they become a risk.
  Mr. Chairman, I include in the Record two letters, one from the 
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the second from the 
National Association of Home Builders, in support of H.R. 2936.
         Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies,
                                    Washington, DC, June 26, 2017.
     Hon. Rob Bishop,
     Chairman, House Natural Resources Committee, House of 
         Representatives, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Raul Grijalva,
     Ranking Democrat, House Natural Resources Committee, House of 
         Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Bishop and Ranking Democrat Grijalva: The 
     Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (Association) is 
     pleased to support H.R. 2936, the ``Resilient Federal Forest 
     Act of 2017'' (RFFA). All 50 state agencies are members of 
     the Association. Founded in 1902, the Association's mission 
     is to protect the interests and authorities of the states to 
     manage fish and wildlife within their borders, including on 
     federal land. The Association works closely with the federal 
     land management agencies to deliver on the ground 
     conservation of fish, wildlife and their habitats for our 
     citizens.
       The Association is particularly appreciative of changes 
     made by the Committee staff at the request of the 
     Association. These changes make more prominent in federal 
     statute the states' authority to manage fish and wildlife on 
     U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management 
     (BLM) lands. Nothing in the amended language is intended to 
     change any existing federal, state or tribal authority. It 
     simply makes more evident the state-federal jurisdictional 
     relationship which Congress has affirmed. Federal-state 
     cooperation in this arena is compelled because the USFS and 
     BLM own the land and thus the habitat, and the state fish and 
     wildlife agencies manage the fish and wildlife. Robust 
     cooperation will provide that both land/habitat objectives 
     and fish and wildlife population objectives are met.
       The RFFA is vitally needed to restore the health of our 
     Nation's federal forests on USFS and BLM lands. 
     Unfortunately, the USFS and BLM have fallen significantly 
     behind in meeting objectives for early successional stage 
     forest habitat, for a number of reasons. Significantly, 
     federal court decisions and increasing uninformed litigation 
     has created ``paralysis by analysis'' to quote a former USFS 
     Chief. Congress mandated that the federal forests were to be 
     managed for water quality, wildlife habitat, recreation, and 
     timber harvest. Active forest management by the federal 
     professional managers in cooperation with the state fish and 
     wildlife agency professional managers has been replaced by 
     natural resource management decisions being made by the 
     federal courts. A return to active forest management will 
     facilitate realization of all of the public values of federal 
     forests.
       The Association much appreciates that the fire-borrowing 
     problem is addressed in HR 2936. While most catastrophic 
     fires occur in the western United States, this is a national 
     problem because the funds for every national forest and 
     public land unit are affected. This remedy will prevent the 
     USFS and BLM from having to borrow from other appropriated 
     line-items (for example, wildfire prevention, wildlife, 
     recreation and water quality) to pay for the cost of 
     catastrophic fire suppression, which cost consumes over 50% 
     of the USFS budget. We respectfully urge the Committee to 
     further protect the USFS budget by capping the 10-year 
     average cost of catastrophic fire costs at its current level. 
     The 10-year average is used by the USFS in building their 
     budget request. The 10-year average continues to rise and 
     unless it is capped it will continue to erode other important 
     budget line items such as wildlife, water quality, fire 
     prevention and recreation in the President's budget.
       The Association further appreciates the process relief 
     provided to National Forest Plans (NFP) and (potentially) 
     Resource Management Plans (RMP) developed by collaborative 
     deliberation. It is appropriate that a collaborative-
     developed plan, which often takes years to deliberate and 
     conclude, be subject to only two options under NEPA, proceed 
     or not proceed. It is very reasonable to assume that the 
     collaboratively deliberated process has examined and rejected 
     the other options, and only the action or no action need be 
     analyzed.
       The bill's establishment of a pilot binding arbitration 
     process as an alternative to litigation in each FS Region is 
     certainly welcomed by the Association. Not only is the cost 
     of defending the land management plan a burden on the 
     agencies, but the planned for management work on the ground 
     is lost, perhaps never to be resurrected on that site. We 
     commend Congressman Westerman and the Committee for settling 
     on this significant improvement to litigation reform that was 
     in HR 2647 from the last Congress.
       We also appreciate the increase in acreage ceilings for the 
     statutorily endorsed Categorical Exclusions (CEs) under NEPA. 
     CEs must avoid sensitive areas and must be consistent with 
     standards and guidelines in Forest Plans. Early forest 
     successional stage habitat, for instance, cannot be just 
     incidental to be effective in providing habitat for deer, 
     elk, wild turkey, neo-tropical migratory songbirds and other 
     species which are dependent on this habitat type. While an 
     acreage ceiling is an easy metric to measure success, the 
     desired forest future condition should really determine the 
     size of the timber harvest.
       Additionally, the Association supports the proposed common-
     sense amendments to the Endangered Species Act. First, H.R. 
     2936 overturns the Cottonwood decision, which directs that if 
     additional critical habitat is designated under an approved 
     FP or RMP, a section 7 programmatic re-consultation of the 
     entire FP needs to be done. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
     Service (USFWS) and the Obama Administration argued that the 
     section 7 consultation needs only to be done on the project 
     covering the additionally designated acreage of critical 
     habitat. This remedy will greatly reduce the debilitating 
     process that the federal court decision directs. Second, the 
     bill affirms that no ESA section 7 consultation is required 
     if the USFS or BLM determine during informal consultation 
     that the proposed action is ``not likely to adversely affect 
     a species or designated critical habitat'', which is already 
     USFWS policy. And third, if any consultation on a categorical 
     exclusion established by the bill is not concluded after 90 
     days, the action shall be considered to have not violated 
     section 7(a)(2) of the ESA.
       The Association is committed to working with our partners 
     in the USFS and BLM to manage our federal forests to fulfill 
     their public values as Congress mandated. HR 2936 makes 
     significant improvements to and would expedite the process 
     that governs approval of the USFS and BLM management plans. 
     We urge that your Committee expeditiously report HR 2936 from 
     the Committee to the House floor.
       We look forward to continuing to work with you to move this 
     bill quickly through the legislative process. If you have any 
     questions, please contact AFWA Government affairs Director 
     Jen Mock Schaeffer.
           Sincerely,
     Nick Wiley,
       President, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies;
       Executive Director, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation 
     Commission.
                                  ____

                                           National Association of


                                                Home Builders,

                                    Washington, DC, June 21, 2017.
     Hon. Rob Bishop,
     Chairman, House of Representatives, Committee on Natural 
         Resources, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Bishop: On behalf of the more than 140,000 
     members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 
     I am writing to express NAHB's strong support for The 
     Resilient National Forests Act of 2017 and express our 
     appreciation to the House Committee on Natural Resources for 
     continuing this important discussion on the health of our 
     nation's forest. Better forest management practices that are 
     also mindful of environmental considerations will help 
     strengthen the housing supply chain and promote affordable 
     housing opportunities for all Americans.
       Significant concerns have been raised about the U.S. Forest 
     Service's current forest management efforts, both in terms of 
     administrative obstacles and legal obstacles in approving 
     timber harvesting projects. Consequently, less commercial 
     harvesting of timber has resulted in overgrown forests and an 
     increased risk of catastrophic wildfire across the country.
       Additional commercial harvesting of timber will promote the 
     health of our nation's forest system, but also positively 
     impact housing affordability. NAHB research shows lumber and 
     wood products account for 15% of the cost of construction for 
     a single family house. Lumber prices are generally volatile, 
     and it is common for builders to encounter a large price 
     swing in a short period of time. As additional supply is 
     brought into the market, upward pressure on lumber prices 
     will soften.
       NAHB urges the House Natural Resources Committee to support 
     The Resilient National Forests Act of 2017, which will 
     encourage multi-use forest management practices for national 
     forests and provide increases in the supply of federal timber 
     products.
       Thank you for considering our views.
           Sincerely,
                                               James W. Tobin III.

  Mr. GOSAR. Mr. Chairman, we need forest management reforms, we need 
them now. I thank Mr. Westerman and the committee for their work on 
this bill, and I strongly urge my colleagues to support it.
  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Oregon (Mr. DeFazio).
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, I remember, 13 years ago, after another 
spate of catastrophic fires in the Western United States, we came 
together in a truly bipartisan fashion and passed something called the 
Healthy Forests Restoration Act. It authorized up to 20 million acres 
to be treated to remove

[[Page H8336]]

hazard fuels in what is called the WUI, the wildland-urban interface, 
and in threats to municipal water supplies. We also authorized $760 
million a year.
  Well, it has been 13 years. We authorized 20 million acres of work. 
What has been done? 2\1/2\ million.
  Is it because of litigation, lawsuits, or, you know, obstruction? No. 
It is because of this body, the United States Congress, which is 
refusing to put up the money to do the work.
  In my State alone, there are 1.8 million acres waiting for treatment. 
They have gone through all environmental reviews. There is no potential 
for litigation or any other blocking, but they don't have the money.
  Does this bill fix that? No. We are addressing problems that don't 
exist in terms of addressing the wildfire problem.
  This is really, you know, kind of a lost opportunity, a missed 
opportunity. Yes, it does a partial fix of the wildfire borrowing, 
which devastates the Forest Service every year. I appreciate that. But 
the fact is, we have got 44 million homes that are now at risk in terms 
of wildland-urban interface, and we have only treated 2\1/2\ million 
acres because this Congress isn't putting up the money.

                              {time}  1600

  And this year, yet again, they are proposing like one-half of what we 
authorized. What does one-half get you? It gets you half the acreage.
  So if we had appropriated at the levels we authorized over the last 
13 years, they would have treated 5 or 6 million acres. Again, they 
weren't blocked by litigation. They weren't blocked by appeals. The 
HFRA Act became virtually noncontroversial because it didn't do away 
with judicial review, which this bill will do on a certain number of 
projects in each region every year.
  I wish that this was a bipartisan approach, it isn't, and I cannot 
support the legislation.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Virginia (Mr. McEachin).
  Mr. McEACHIN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the ranking member for yielding.
  Mr. Chairman, the goal of forest management should be to make our 
forests more resilient--more resilient to the impacts of climate 
change, drought, and wildlife--but contrary to its title, H.R. 2936, 
the so-called Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, does not achieve 
these goals.
  This bill includes exemptions from analyses required under the 
National Environmental Policy Act, restricts judicial review of certain 
forest management activities, amends the Equal Access to Justice Act to 
limit payment of attorneys' fees, and scales back the wildlife 
conservation efforts of the Endangered Species Act.
  Mr. Chairman, this bill desperately needs improvement, and I am 
disappointed that my commonsense amendment--offered both in committee 
and again to Rules, this time with my colleague, Mr. Beyer from 
Virginia--is not being considered by the House.
  My amendment would have struck two sections of this bill that are 
designed to allow approval of timber projects without adequate 
consideration of the impacts to some of the most vulnerable living 
creatures on Earth: those listed as threatened or endangered under the 
Endangered Species Act.
  The first offending section would put the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service on a 90-day shot clock to complete consultations required under 
section 7 of the ESA. Such a provision is both unnecessary and deeply 
harmful.
  The second section my amendment would have struck is designed to 
prevent ESA consultation from happening altogether when FWS lists a new 
species or designates critical habitat for a listed species. This 
simply defies logic.
  Getting ESA consultation right--and ensuring that it happens in the 
first place--is a small price to pay for preserving irreplaceable parts 
of our natural heritage.
  Mr. Chairman, H.R. 2936 attacks responsible forest management policy 
and promotes commercial logging at the expense of sound environmental 
review.
  Instead of giving gifts to special interests, Congress should be 
addressing the effects of climate change, working to reduce the risk of 
wildfire, and fixing the wildfire budget.
  Mr. Chairman, this bill takes us many steps in the wrong direction, 
and I urge my colleagues to vote ``no.''
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman 
from California (Mr. McClintock), who has sat through 2 years of 
discussions of the ideas from the Forest Service in creating this bill.
  Mr. McCLINTOCK. Mr. Chairman, 45 years ago, Congress enacted laws, 
such as the National Environmental Policy Act, that promised to improve 
the health of our forests. They imposed what have become endlessly 
time-consuming and, ultimately, cost-prohibitive restrictions on our 
ability to properly manage our national forests so that we can match 
the tree density with the ability of the land to support it.
  I think after 45 years of experience with these laws, we are entitled 
to ask: How are our forests doing? The answer is damning. Our forests 
are now catastrophically overgrown, often carrying four times the 
number of trees that the land can support. In this stressed and 
weakened condition, our forests are easy prey for drought, disease, 
pestilence, and fire.
  There is an old adage that excess timber comes out of the forest one 
way or the other--it is either carried out or it burns out. When we 
carried it out, we had resilient, healthy forests and a thriving 
economy, as excess timber was sold and harvested before it could choke 
our forests to death. In the years since then, we have seen an 80 
percent decline in timber sales from our Federal lands and a 
concomitant increase in acreage destroyed by forest fire. I would 
remind my friend from Oregon that timber sales used to generate us 
money, not cost us money.
  The direct revenues and spin-off commerce generated by these sales 
provided a stream of revenues that we could then use to improve our 
national forests and share with the local communities affected.
  The Resilient Federal Forests Act begins to move us back towards 
sound and scientific forest management practices. It requires forest 
managers to consider the cost of no action alternatives; it streamlines 
fire and disease prevention programs and ensures that fire-killed 
timber can be quickly removed to create both revenues and room to 
restore fire-damaged lands; it ends the practice of raiding prevention 
funds to fight fires; it streamlines onerous environmental review 
processes without sacrificing environmental protection; and it provides 
our forest managers with alternatives to resolve frivolous lawsuits.
  Provisions that streamline the environmental reviews were already 
signed into law last year for the Tahoe Basin, and the Forest Service 
regional manager told me that is going to take their revenue processes 
from 800 pages down to 40 pages and allow them to get their forest 
there back to a sustainable level.
  We made some very big mistakes 45 years ago, and our forests have 
paid the price. This bill starts the long process of correcting those 
mistakes and recovering our national forests, and I urge its adoption.
  Mr. Chairman, I include in the Record two letters, one from the South 
Tahoe Public Utility District, and the second from the Public Lands 
Council and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, in support of 
H.R. 2936.
                                                    June 22, 2017.
     Hon. Rob Bishop,
     Chairman, House Committee on Natural Resources, Washington, 
         DC.
     Hon. Raul Grijalva,
     Ranking Member, House Committee on Energy and Natural 
         Resources, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Bishop and Ranking Member Grijalva: As 
     entities responsible for delivering sustainable water supply 
     and renewable hydropower for millions of citizens throughout 
     the western U.S., we are writing in support of H.R. 2936, the 
     Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017. National Forest lands 
     are the largest single source of water in the U.S. and in 
     some regions of the west contribute nearly 50% of the overall 
     water supply that supports our farms and cities. The current, 
     unhealthy state of these forests, which contain some of the 
     nation's most valuable watersheds, increases the threat of 
     catastrophic wildfires. These high intensity wildfires 
     jeopardize the reliability, volume and quality of water for 
     tens of millions of

[[Page H8337]]

     Americans, along with the wildlife, recreational, and multi-
     purpose value of these lands.
       The H.R. 2936 supports collaborative forest management, 
     streamlines the environmental review process, addresses the 
     unsustainable practice of fire borrowing, and includes an 
     innovative arbitration process. We believe it is critical 
     that both forest management reforms and resolution of the 
     ``fire borrowing'' issue are addressed in any legislation to 
     ensure on-the-ground forest restoration activities can 
     proceed at the pace and scale of the problem.
       We appreciate your leadership on this important issue and 
     urge prompt passage of H.R. 2936, the Resilient Federal 
     Forests Act of 2017.
           Sincerely,
     National Water Resources Association.
     Utah Water Users Association.
     Association of California Water Agencies.
     Placer County Water Agency.
     South Tahoe Public Utility District.
                                  ____

                                                    June 27, 2017.
     Hon. Rob Bishop,
     Chairman, House Natural Resources Committee, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Raul Grijalva,
     Ranking Member, House Natural Resources Committee, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Bishop and Ranking Member Grijalva: The 
     Public Lands Council (PLC) and the National Cattlemen's Beef 
     Association (NCBA) strongly support H.R. 2936, the Resilient 
     Federal Forests Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Bruce 
     Westerman (R-Ark.). PLC is the only national organization 
     dedicated solely to representing the roughly 22,000 ranchers 
     who operate on federal lands. NCBA is the beef industry's 
     largest and oldest national marketing and trade association, 
     representing American cattlemen and women who provide much of 
     the nation's supply of food and own or manage a large portion 
     of America's private property.
       The Resilient Federal Forests Act will expedite 
     environmental reviews and assessments for the removal of dead 
     trees and set deadlines for reforestation projects to occur. 
     Such changes ensure forests are no longer neglected and 
     establish a healthier management pattern. Further, this 
     legislation discourages frivolous litigation by requiring 
     litigants who oppose a management project to come to the 
     table with an alternative, rather than just tying up agency 
     time and resources in court. The bill provides an incentive 
     for collaborative efforts between local governments, local 
     stakeholders and federal land management agencies. Finally, 
     the legislation prevents ``fire borrowing'' and stops federal 
     agencies from raiding accounts necessary for proper forest 
     and range management.
       The severe mismanagement of federally-owned forests and 
     rangelands, due to outdated environmental laws and 
     regulations along with the abuse of the legal system by 
     radical special interest groups, creates devastating economic 
     hardship and danger for our members and rural communities 
     across the west. The livestock industry and rural economies 
     will spend decades attempting to recover from millions of 
     dollars' worth of infrastructure damage and forage loss that 
     have been the result of catastrophic wildfires in recent 
     years, not to mention the loss of valuable wildlife habitats.
       It is scientifically proven that proper timber management 
     and rangeland management through grazing is the key to 
     maintaining healthy forests and preventing catastrophic 
     wildfires. However, according to the BLM, livestock grazing 
     has been reduced on BLM lands by as much as 50 percent since 
     1971, while the timber industry has been all but destroyed 
     over the last 30 years, due almost entirely to federal laws 
     and regulations and predatory environmental groups. 
     Restrictions have allowed the accumulation of fuel, 
     increasing risk of wildfires and leading to harm of forest 
     ecosystems and western communities--the watershed, wildlife, 
     air quality, rural communities and the taxpayers are all 
     negatively impacted.
       PLC and NCBA believe that H.R. 2936 is a positive step 
     forward to returning management flexibility and fiscal 
     responsibility to the federal land management agencies. PLC 
     and NCBA appreciate the opportunity to provide our input on 
     behalf of our members--the nation's food and fiber producers. 
     H.R. 2936 is proactive, common sense legislation, and we 
     would encourage the committee to pass the bill out of 
     committee without delay.
           Sincerely,
     Dave Eliason,
       President, Public Lands Council.
     Craig Uden,
       President, National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chairman, I yield such time as he may consume to 
the gentleman from California (Mr. Huffman).
  Mr. HUFFMAN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Arizona for 
yielding.
  Mr. Chairman, this bill that we are debating today has been touted as 
Congress' solution to the longstanding issue of fire borrowing that has 
plagued the Forest Service.
  I represent a district that has experienced a lot of wildfire. 
Thankfully, the recent devastating fires in the North Bay were not 
caused by this fire-borrowing issue. They did not involve Federal 
public lands. However, I have had a lot of wildfire in my district over 
the years, and fire borrowing is a top priority for me. Unfortunately, 
as it is currently written, this bill introduces more problems than 
solutions on this issue. Let me explain.
  The title in the bill pertaining to fire borrowing repurposes the 
Stafford Act, which Congress enacted to provide assistance to State and 
local governments in case of emergencies. This requires Congress to 
appropriate the 10-year average for wildfire suppression before the 
Forest Service can access emergency funds. That is not the way to solve 
this problem. In fact, I saw that just yesterday the administration 
issued a SAP because of this problematic provision.
  If Congress is serious about fixing the budget issue, we should be 
making funds available ahead of an emergency situation, and we should 
remove the cost of fighting catastrophic fires from the agency's base 
budget. That will enable them to invest in proactive measures to make 
our forests more resilient and healthy.
  Although the Rules Committee added title XI to this bill, which 
increased the overall cap for disaster spending, the problems with 
using the Stafford Act approach still remain.
  The second point. This bill, essentially, is a gutting of 
environmental protections and an attack on sustainable forest 
management that threatens equal access to justice. We should just call 
it what it is.
  Title I of this bill allows intensive logging projects of 10,000 to 
30,000 acres each. That is as big as the entire city of San Francisco. 
Projects of that size can proceed on Federal public lands without any 
environmental review under NEPA, without any compliance with the 
Endangered Species Act.
  Title II of the bill eliminates the requirement that the Forest 
Service consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service and, essentially, 
let's the Forest Service decide for itself if it wants to follow the 
Endangered Species Act consultation requirements regarding any of its 
projects on public lands.
  Title III further chokes judicial review by prohibiting the recovery 
of attorneys' fees for any challenges to forest management activity 
under the Equal Access to Justice Act, including meritorious successful 
challenges. This severely limits public review of logging projects on 
Federal public lands.
  How would any of these measures promote forest health? It wouldn't. 
So let's call this bill what it is. It is an environmental wrecking 
ball that weakens standards and protections, limits public 
participation in the review of Federal agency actions, and won't make 
our forests any healthier or safer.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from California (Mr. LaMalfa) for the purpose of a colloquy.
  Mr. LaMALFA. Mr. Chairman, I rise for the purpose of engaging in a 
colloquy with the chairman to seek a clarification on the applicability 
of the provisions in title I and title II of this bill to national 
forest lands.
  As my colleagues know, the State of California has been on fire. We 
have all seen the devastation across the State, ranging from the Sierra 
Nevada to the Bay area, and even the wine country. Even today, CalFire 
and Forest Service personnel remain deployed on fires across the State.
  Ensuring that the Forest Service returns to active management of our 
forests is critical to promoting forest health and helping reduce the 
risks and likeliness of catastrophic wildfires that we have seen 
already this year.
  The Resilient Federal Forests Act includes what I believe to be 
critically important reforms to forest management, such as expedited 
environmental reviews and availability of categorical exclusion for 
forest management activities, to help achieve these needed goals.
  In California, there are six national monuments managed by the Forest 
Service or jointly between the Forest Service and BLM. Oftentimes, 
management activities in these areas are highly restricted, which only 
leads to hazardous fuels buildup and increased risk

[[Page H8338]]

of catastrophic fires. We see the results every year in the West.
  H.R. 2936 clearly identifies certain national forest lands that these 
provisions do not apply to. This includes wilderness areas, national or 
State inventoried roadless areas, or areas where timber harvesting is 
prohibited by statute.
  However, it is my belief that provisions of this bill, Mr. Chairman--
based on the definition of National Forest System lands in the bill--
apply to all other Forest Service lands not explicitly prohibited in 
the bill.
  Respectfully, I would like to clarify with the chairman that it is 
his intent that provisions in title I and title II of H.R. 2936 apply 
to all other Federal lands managed by the United States Forest Service. 
This includes national monuments managed by the Forest Service.
  Mr. Chairman, I thank the chairman for his work on this critical 
bill.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chairman, I thank my colleague from 
California for his work on forestry issues and understand the 
importance this bill has to forestry management in his state.
  It is my intent, and I believe the intent of my colleagues, that all 
provisions of H.R. 2936, including title I and title II, unless 
explicitly excluded, apply to national monuments and all other lands 
managed by the United States Forest Service.

  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chairman, may I inquire how much time is remaining 
on both sides.
  The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Williams). The gentleman from Arizona has 3 
minutes remaining. The gentleman from Utah has 5 minutes remaining.
  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman 
from Colorado (Mr. Tipton).
  Mr. TIPTON. Mr. Chairman, I thank my colleague from Arkansas, Mr. 
Westerman, for his hard work on the Resilient Federal Forests Act.
  I would like to be able to submit that if you actually care about 
helping our forests, if you care about our watersheds, if you care 
about wildlife habitat, if you care about outdoor recreation, if you 
care about responsible job development, if you care about being able to 
provide funding for our schools, this is a piece of legislation to be 
able to try and achieve a win-win-win, literally, for our communities.
  We have seen 7 million acres, Mr. Chairman, burn in the West in 2017 
alone. We have seen our forests devastated. We have seen over half of 
the budget of the Forest Service being used to fight forest fires.
  Is there a better way?
  The better way can be found in this piece of legislation, to be able 
to not only address what we must address, in terms of fighting forest 
fires when they break out, but also to be able to have a responsible, 
proactive management forest to be able to make sure that we are 
creating healthy forests.
  Mr. Chairman, as I travel throughout my district, I am now looking at 
forests that my great-grandchildren will not see as I saw them as a 
young boy growing up. It is time that we actually have legislation that 
doesn't just be reactive to the problem that we face when it comes to 
forest management but be proactive. This legislation will achieve that 
goal.
  And, again, I applaud Mr. Westerman and the Committee on Natural 
Resources for their hard work on this.

                              {time}  1615

  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  As we have talked about H.R. 2936, this is something that has been 
before two previous Congresses and went nowhere; and as a consequence, 
we continue to not confront the issue of appropriate and necessary 
funding for the Forest Service to conduct wildfire suppression. That is 
the gap in this. This flawed attempt to try to fix the funding issue 
does not.
  In fact, Congress has provided appropriate tools to conduct 
restoration, reduce hazardous fuels, and restore ecological balance on 
national forest and public lands.
  Congress should fix the wildfire budget--that is the issue--not use 
this as leverage to subsidize the timber industry and also overturn 
essential environmental laws.
  This legislation has an attack on NEPA, has an attack on the 
Endangered Species Act, has an attack on judicial review and access to 
justice, has an attack on the Antiquities Act, and continues the 
process of fire borrowing.
  H.R. 2936 is not about forest health or reducing wildfire risk. It is 
intended to make it easier to advance commercial logging and sales on 
our national forests and public lands.
  A flawed attempt to fix the wildfire funding problem, it does nothing 
to change the anti-environmental provisions in the underlying bill.
  We have a serious issue, validated because of all the studies that 
have been done, including GAO, which found that climate change is a 
contributor, scientists have found that climate change is a 
contributor. That is not discussed because that is a hoax, my 
Republican colleagues say, created by the Chinese. So we will not talk 
about climate change as a major factor, which it is, to the increasing 
intensity and length of wildfires across our public lands and across 
private and State lands as well.
  This legislation is about undermining environmental law. It does 
nothing about the funding necessary to fight wildfires in this country. 
It does nothing about involving the stakeholders in proactive 
restoration and reducing the threat of wildfire in this country.
  Mr. Chair, I urge a ``no'' vote on H.R. 2936, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chairman, I am amazed at how critical people 
have been about the experts of the Forest Service, as if people don't 
realize that these provisions in Mr. Westerman's bill weren't coming 
out of thin air. Somebody told us the tools they need to deal with 
this.
  Mr. Chair, may I also add, there are still other issues which we will 
work out when we get to the Senate on these, some that Mr. Gohmert 
presented. We will still work on those issues.
  Mr. Chair, I yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from 
Arkansas (Mr. Westerman), the author of this bill, the only Member on 
the floor who has a degree in forestry.
  Mr. WESTERMAN. Mr. Chair, I thank Chairman Bishop for his tireless 
efforts to see our government do better on our Federal lands.
  Mr. Chairman, I recently made a trip out to Montana to visit some of 
our National Forests and the rural communities they border. These 
forests, much like many areas across our country, have been mismanaged 
for decades, and the ones that have not already been destroyed are ripe 
to be devastated by insects, disease, or catastrophic wildfire, not 
because of some action taken by the Forest Service, but just the 
opposite. Because of no actions, our forests are overstocked, 
underutilized, and unhealthy.
  We have seen nearly 9 million acres of forest, an area larger than 
the State of Maryland, go up in flames just this year, spewing tens of 
millions of tons of carbon and thick smoke into the atmosphere.
  Don't get me wrong. 32,000 full-time Forest Service personnel are 
busy and working hard trying to manage the 193 million acres of 
timberland across our great country, but they are spinning their wheels 
and making very little progress.
  Mr. Chairman, that is a forest the size of Texas and South Carolina 
combined. According to scientists at the Forest Service, 80 million 
acres of that, an area the size of the State of New Mexico, is in a 
condition that is subject to catastrophic wildfire.
  These fires are not only creating a forest health crisis, they are a 
public health crisis. They kill trees, they kill wildlife and 
livestock. These fires not only kill livelihoods, they create 
unbearable health concerns and living conditions with their thick smoke 
and ash. On top of all that, they are killing people.
  It shouldn't be this way and it doesn't have to be this way.
  This bill simply allows sound, scientifically-based forestry 
practices, like the ones I learned at Yale's Forestry School, to be 
implemented on our Federal forests. It will result in cleaner air, 
cleaner water, better wildlife habitat, better recreational 
opportunities, more plant and animal biodiversity, stronger economies, 
and fewer fires, resulting in lower fire costs.

[[Page H8339]]

  As we traveled through the beautiful countryside of Montana, I saw 
the symbol of our Nation perched majestically atop a tree by the bank 
of a clear and flowing stream. This bald eagle reminded me of a fable 
by Aesop that described our situation today. It goes like this:
  An eagle was soaring through the sky, when suddenly it heard the whiz 
of an arrow and it felt itself wounded to death. Slowly it fluttered 
down to the Earth, with its lifeblood pouring out of it. Looking down 
upon the arrow with which it had been pierced, it found that the haft 
of the arrow had been feathered with one of its own plumes.

       ``Alas!'' it cried, as it died, ``We often give our enemies 
     the means for our own destruction.''

  Mr. Chairman, our enemies aren't our colleagues across the aisle. 
Many support this bill and some are cosponsors. Our enemies are not 
environmental extremists that are impeding science and causing some 
people to love our trees to death. Our enemy is not even the United 
States Senate.

  Mr. Chairman, our enemy is catastrophic wildfire that destroys our 
forests. Our enemies are insects and diseases that kill our trees, and 
we are feathering their arrows with inaction. We are feathering their 
arrows with bureaucratic red tape. We are feathering their arrows with 
poor policy that are killing our forests, killing our communities, and 
killing us every day.
  How much longer will we stand by and do nothing?
  I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get behind this 
bill, pass it out of the House, and join me in relentlessly encouraging 
the Senate to take action.
  Our forests, our rural communities, our environment, and all those 
areas, urban and rural alike, that are breathing the smoke and ash of 
our once magnificent forests need us to act.
  Every day that we delay, the problem gets worse and the enemies of 
the forest are gaining ground. Please join me in this fight and pass 
this bill.
  Mr. Chair, I include in the Record two letters. The first is from 
eight groups, including the Archery Trade Association; the second is 
from the National Association of State Foresters, both in support of 
H.R. 2936.

                                                    June 26, 2017.
     Hon. Rob Bishop,
     Chairman, House Natural Resources Committee,
     Washington, DC.
     Hon. Raul Grijalva,
     Ranking Democrat, House Natural Resources Committee, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Bishop and Cong. Grijalva: Our organizations 
     which represent millions of hunters, anglers, recreational 
     shooters and other conservationists express our strong 
     support for H.R. 2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 
     2017. We respectfully urge you to take expeditious Committee 
     action on H.R. 2936, which if enacted, will improve the 
     health of our federal forests and reduce costly wildfires. 
     Our nation's federal lands play a vital role in maintaining 
     healthy forests that are resilient to threats at a landscape 
     level from fire, pests, disease and insects. Through 
     incentives and expedited process, consistent with informed 
     science, the bill will help ensure that timber harvest and 
     the creation of young forest habitat for wildlife remains 
     viable on US Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land 
     Management (BLM) lands. Additionally, it remedies the budget 
     fire-funding problem (borrowing from other line items) that 
     our country faces when fighting catastrophic wildfires.
       Our organizations much appreciate that the fire-funding 
     problem is addressed in HR 2936. While most catastrophic 
     fires occur in the western United States, this is a national 
     problem because the funds for every national forest and 
     public land unit are affected. This remedy will prevent the 
     USFS and BLM from having to borrow from other appropriated 
     budget line-items (for example, wildfire prevention, 
     wildlife, recreation and water quality) to pay for the cost 
     of catastrophic fire suppression, which cost now consumes 
     over 50% of the USFS budget. We respectfully urge the 
     Committee to further protect the USFS budget by capping the 
     10-year average of catastrophic fire costs at its current 
     level. The USFS uses this 10-year average to build their 
     budget request for the President. The 10-year average 
     continues to rise and unless it is capped it will continue to 
     erode other important budget line items such as wildlife, 
     water quality, fire prevention and recreation as the USFS 
     constructs its budget request.
       All forest management plans are conducted with public 
     input, and all projects undergo National Environmental Policy 
     Act (NEPA) analysis. The bill's use of the Categorical 
     Exclusion (CE) under the NEPA rules from the Council on 
     Environmental Quality, will allow routine projects with known 
     effects to be implemented more efficiently and cost-
     effectively to achieve the forest's desired future condition, 
     as outlined in the forest management plan. Certain forest 
     management treatments previously analyzed under NEPA in order 
     to deal with issues such as pests and disease, hazardous 
     fuels, critical habitats for threatened or endangered 
     species, salvage facilitation, and water quality, do not need 
     re-analysis on each similar project. These projects are 
     routine, reoccurring activities with known effects, already 
     fully analyzed and therefore qualify for CEs from repeated 
     analysis.
       We also appreciate the increase in acreage ceilings for the 
     statutorily endorsed CEs. Early successional stage forest 
     habitat, for instance, cannot be just incidental to be 
     effective in providing habitat for deer, ruffed grouse, elk, 
     wild turkey, neo-tropical migratory songbirds and other 
     species which are dependent on this habitat type. While an 
     acreage ceiling is an easy metric to measure success, the 
     desired forest future condition should really determine the 
     size of the management activity. Additionally, as stated in 
     the bill, all CEs must avoid sensitive areas and must be 
     consistent with standards and guidelines in approved Forest 
     Plans.
       Our organizations appreciate changes made to make more 
     prominent in federal statute the states' authority to manage 
     fish and wildlife on USFS and BLM lands. Nothing in the bill 
     language is intended to change any existing federal, state or 
     tribal authority. It simply makes more evident the state-
     federal jurisdictional relationship which Congress has 
     affirmed. Federal-state cooperation in this arena is 
     compelled because the USFS and BLM own the land and thus the 
     habitat, and the state fish and wildlife agencies manage the 
     fish and wildlife. Robust cooperation will provide that both 
     land/habitat objectives and fish and wildlife population 
     objectives are met.
       Additionally, our groups support the proposed common-sense 
     amendments to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). First, the 
     bill overturns the Cottonwood decision, which directs that if 
     additional critical habitat is designated under an approved 
     forest plan or resource management plan, a section 7 
     programmatic re-consultation of the entire forest plan needs 
     to be done. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the 
     Obama Administration argued that the section 7 consultation 
     needs only to be done on the portion of the project covering 
     the additionally designated acreage of critical habitat. This 
     remedy will greatly reduce the debilitating process that the 
     federal court decision directs. Second, the bill affirms that 
     no ESA section 7 consultation is required if the USFS or BLM 
     determine during informal consultation that the proposed 
     action is ``not likely to adversely affect a species or 
     designated critical habitat'', which is already USFWS policy. 
     And third, if any consultation on a categorical exclusion 
     established by the bill is not concluded after 90 days, the 
     action shall be considered to have not violated section 
     7(a)(2) of the ESA.
       We also support the bill's provisions expediting large 
     scale restoration after catastrophic wildfires. We likewise 
     support the prohibition on restraining orders and preliminary 
     injunctions. It is imperative that we work to restore 
     wildfire-impacted lands for the ecological health of the 
     immediate area and surrounding landscape, protection of the 
     watershed, and economic vitality of the local communities.
       Our organizations further appreciate the process relief 
     provided to National Forest Plans and potentially Resources 
     Management Plans developed by collaborative deliberation. It 
     is appropriate that a collaborative-developed plan, which 
     often takes years to deliberate and conclude, be subject to 
     only two options under NEPA, proceed or not proceed. It is 
     very reasonable to assume that the collaboratively 
     deliberated process has examined and rejected the other 
     options, and only the action or no action alternatives need 
     be analyzed.
       The bill's establishment of a pilot binding arbitration 
     process as an alternative to litigation in each Forest 
     Service Region is certainly welcomed. Not only is the cost of 
     defending the land management plan a burden on the agencies, 
     but the planned for management work on the ground is lost, 
     perhaps never to be resurrected on that site. We find much 
     merit in this improved approach as an alternative to the 
     proposal in H.R. 2647 from the last Congress, and commend 
     Cong. Westerman and the Committee for settling on this. 
     Uninformed litigation has led to federal forest management by 
     the federal courts; we need to return forest management to 
     the federal and state professionals with public input as 
     provided for by the established processes.
       H.R. 2936 makes significant improvements to and would 
     expedite the process that governs approval of the USFS and 
     BLM management plans. We urge that your Committee 
     expeditiously report this bill from the Committee to the 
     House floor. We look forward to continuing to work with you 
     to move this bill quickly through the legislative process.
       Thank you for your consideration of our community's 
     perspectives.
       Archery Trade Association, Association of Fish and Wildlife 
     Agencies, (Boone and Crockett Club, Catch-a-Dream Foundation, 
     Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, Conservation Force, 
     Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports, Delta 
     Waterfowl, Houston Safari Club, Mule Deer Foundation, 
     National Association of Forest Service Retirees, National 
     Rifle Association.
       National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Wild Turkey 
     Federation, Professional Outfitters and Guides Association, 
     Public

[[Page H8340]]

     Lands Foundation, Quality Deer Management Association, Rocky 
     Mountain Elk Foundation, Ruffed Grouse Society, Safari Club 
     International, Whitetails Unlimited, Wild Sheep Foundation, 
     Wildlife Forever, Wildlife Management Institute, Wildlife 
     Mississippi.
                                  ____

                                           National Association of


                                              State Foresters,

                                    Washington, DC, June 13, 2017.
     Chairman Rob Bishop,
     House Natural Resources Committee, House of Representatives, 
         Washington, DC.
     Ranking Member Raul M. Grijalva,
     House Natural Resources Committee, House of Representatives, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Bishop and Ranking Member Grijalva: The 
     National Association of State Foresters (NASF) is pleased to 
     provide comments on the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 
     2017. NASF represents the heads of state forestry agencies in 
     all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the US 
     Territories. Through the development of comprehensive State 
     Forest Action Plans our members maintain a broad view of the 
     full set of forestry ownerships within their authority, 
     including federally owned forest lands. For citizens of the 
     United States to realize a full set of forest related 
     benefits, federal lands need to provide a complete and 
     balanced set of environmental, economic and social values.
       In February of 2016 our organization adopted a formal 
     position on desired reforms to federal land management 
     policy. Suggestions are organized around:
       Reforms that would allow federal lands to develop a more 
     balanced set of social, environmental and economic benefits;
       Reforms that would lower the costs of agency 
     administration, planning, regulatory compliance and 
     litigation, and
       Reforms that would enable vegetation management to be 
     carried out at a scope, scale and pace sufficient to create 
     more sustainable and resilient landscape conditions.
       We feel this bill would indeed create the end results our 
     members support as our members want to see more active 
     management of federal forest lands. Expedited planning and 
     analysis, prompt response to catastrophic events, alternative 
     dispute resolution, greater collaboration and less costly 
     litigation are all outcomes that for which we strongly 
     advocate. In addition, we're encouraged to see some desired 
     modification to Good Neighbor Authority allowing road repair 
     to be part of cooperative projects, as well as support for 
     giving the land management agencies the opportunity to make 
     their own determinations of endangered species jeopardy or 
     adverse effects. Finally, NASF appreciates that this 
     discussion draft recognizes the need to solve the wildfire 
     suppression funding issue. We look forward to working with 
     the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands and 
     Congressman Bruce Westerman to ensure that a solution 
     addresses both fire borrowing and the erosion of the Forest 
     Service's budget over-time due to increasing wildfire 
     suppression costs.
       We recently provided comments on federal land management 
     reform to the House Natural Resources Committee's 
     Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. One additional 
     suggestion we made there and would repeat here is to 
     ``Require that National Forest Management Plans specifically 
     address how they support State Forest Action Plans. In 
     addition, encourage regular consultation with State Foresters 
     by National Forest System leadership to ensure their annual 
     programs of work are dovetailed where appropriate.''
       Thank you for this opportunity to comment. We would be 
     happy to answer any questions or provide any additional 
     information that might be of assistance.
           Sincerely,

                                                 Bill Crapser,

                                           Wyoming State Forester,
         President of the National Association of State Foresters.

  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. DeFazio. Mr. Chair, I voted for last Congress' version of this 
bill, one of 19 Democrats to do so. It wasn't perfect, but the bill was 
step in the right direction. I hoped the Senate would improve it and we 
would finally make needed changes forest management and fix ``fire 
borrowing.'' But the Senate never acted on it, or on any other forest 
management bill.
  In the 113th Congress, I worked with Reps. Schrader and Walden and 
crafted a bipartisan bill to create a long-term solution to properly 
manage statutorily unique forestlands in Western Oregon. It would have 
devoted nearly 1.3 million acres for sustainable timber production for 
local mills, created thousands of private sector jobs, and provided 
much-needed revenue for our rural counties. The legislation was 
included in a larger bill which passed the House in September 2014. 
Again, the Senate failed to act.
  Like last Congress, there are provisions in this bill I support. 
However, there are provisions that I cannot support. For example, the 
bill doubles the amount of acres exempt from nearly all environmental 
analysis for projects up to 10,000 acres, and in some cases 30,000 
acres, nearly 47 square miles.
  I agree there is a need to need to increase the pace and size of 
forest restoration projects. But the Forest Service and BLM already 
have many tools to accomplish more management objectives. What they 
need is funding to complete projects. In fact, Forest Service NEPA 
experts have initiated a comprehensive review to determine 
opportunities, already allowed under law, to increase efficiencies and 
management tools to expedite environmental review, including proposing 
new categorical exclusions.
  It's true that in some cases the Forest Service and BLM don't use 
authority they have because of legitimate concerns about the threat of 
litigation and the accompanying expenses it incurs. But it is 
disingenuous for us to claim that this bill, or any forest management 
bill, is a miraculous fix to harvest more timber, improve forest 
restoration, or reduce fuels to reduce the threat of catastrophic 
wildfires, without Congress providing funding to do so. In fact, 
according to the Forest Service, in Oregon there are over 1.8 million 
acres of treatment projects that are ``shovel ready,'' meaning all 
environmental analysis has been completed. But they stay on the shelf, 
because the Forest Service doesn't have the funds to complete them.
  We've all seen the destruction from this year's severe fire season. 
Homes and businesses were destroyed, and dozens of lives were lost in 
Northern California. In my district, over 300,000 acres burned. The 
Forest Service says that nationally there are now more than 44 million 
homes are within the Wildland Urban Interface, at high risk of burning 
in a wildfire.
  In 2004, Congress passed, on a bipartisan basis, the Healthy Forests 
Restoration Act, which if properly implemented would go a long way to 
reduce the threat of wildfires in our communities. It authorized up to 
20 million acres to be treated to remove hazard fuels in the Wildland 
and Urban Interface, as well as protect municipal water supplies from 
catastrophic wildfires. We authorized $760 million annually to perform 
the work. So far, thirteen years later, only 2.5 million acres have 
been treated.
  Why is that? We have never come close to appropriating enough funding 
to get the job done. In Fiscal Year 2017, Congress appropriated $390 
million for hazardous fuels reduction.
  As always, I stand ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of 
the aisle to improve forest management and help our rural communities 
get back on their feet. But it must be balanced approach. 
Unfortunately, this bill is not a balanced approach.
  The Acting CHAIR. All time for general debate has expired.
  Pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment 
under the 5-minute rule.
  In lieu of the amendments in the nature of a substitute recommended 
by the Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on Natural 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 consisting of the text of Rules Committee 
Print 115-36. That amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be 
considered as read.
  The text of the amendment in the nature of a substitute is as 
follows:
  


                               H.R. 2936

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

       (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Resilient 
     Federal Forests Act of 2017''.
       (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act 
     is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Definitions.
Sec. 3. Rule of application for National Forest System lands and public 
              lands.

     TITLE I--EXPEDITED ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS AND AVAILABILITY OF 
    CATEGORICAL EXCLUSIONS TO EXPEDITE FOREST MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES

   Subtitle A--Analysis of Proposed Collaborative Forest Management 
                               Activities

Sec. 101. Analysis of only two alternatives (action versus no action) 
              in proposed collaborative forest management activities.

                   Subtitle B--Categorical Exclusions

Sec. 111. Categorical exclusion to expedite certain critical response 
              actions.
Sec. 112. Categorical exclusion to expedite salvage operations in 
              response to catastrophic events.
Sec. 113. Categorical exclusion to meet forest plan goals for early 
              successional forests.
Sec. 114. Categorical exclusion for road side projects.
Sec. 115. Categorical exclusion to improve or restore National Forest 
              System Lands or public land or reduce the risk of 
              wildfire.

    Subtitle C--General Provisions for Forest Management Activities

Sec. 121. Compliance with forest plans.
Sec. 122. Consultation under the National Historic Preservation Act.

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Sec. 123. Consultation under the Endangered Species Act.
Sec. 124. Forest management activities considered non-discretionary 
              actions.

 TITLE II--SALVAGE AND REFORESTATION IN RESPONSE TO CATASTROPHIC EVENTS

Sec. 201. Expedited salvage operations and reforestation activities 
              following large-scale catastrophic events.
Sec. 202. Compliance with forest plan.
Sec. 203. Prohibition on restraining orders, preliminary injunctions, 
              and injunctions pending appeal.

                TITLE III--FOREST MANAGEMENT LITIGATION

               Subtitle A--General Litigation Provisions

Sec. 301. No attorney fees for forest management activity challenges.
Sec. 302. Injunctive relief.

    Subtitle B--Forest Management Activity Arbitration Pilot Program

Sec. 311. Use of arbitration instead of litigation to address 
              challenges to forest management activities.

  TITLE IV--SECURE RURAL SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY SELF-DETERMINATION ACT 
                               AMENDMENTS

Sec. 401. Use of reserved funds for title II projects on Federal land 
              and certain non-Federal land.
Sec. 402. Resource advisory committees.
Sec. 403. Program for title II self-sustaining resource advisory 
              committee projects.
Sec. 404. Additional authorized use of reserved funds for title III 
              county projects.
Sec. 405. Treatment as supplemental funding.

              TITLE V--STEWARDSHIP END RESULT CONTRACTING

Sec. 501. Cancellation ceilings for stewardship end result contracting 
              projects.
Sec. 502. Excess offset value.
Sec. 503. Payment of portion of stewardship project revenues to county 
              in which stewardship project occurs.
Sec. 504. Submission of existing annual report.
Sec. 505. Fire liability provision.
Sec. 506. Extension of stewardship contracting maximum term limits.

 TITLE VI--ADDITIONAL FUNDING SOURCES FOR FOREST MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES

Sec. 601. Definitions.
Sec. 602. Availability of stewardship project revenues and 
              Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Fund to cover 
              forest management activity planning costs.
Sec. 603. State-supported planning of forest management activities.

        TITLE VII--TRIBAL FORESTRY PARTICIPATION AND PROTECTION

Sec. 701. Protection of Tribal forest assets through use of stewardship 
              end result contracting and other authorities.
Sec. 702. Management of Indian forest land authorized to include 
              related National Forest System lands and public lands.
Sec. 703. Tribal forest management demonstration project.
Sec. 704. Rule of application.

            TITLE VIII-- EXPEDITING INTERAGENCY CONSULTATION

     Subtitle A--Forest Plans Not Considered Major Federal Actions

Sec. 801. Forest plans not considered major Federal actions.

                    Subtitle B--Agency Consultation

Sec. 811. Consultation under Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources 
              Planning Act of 1974.
Sec. 812. Consultation under Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 
              1976.

                        TITLE IX--MISCELLANEOUS

                Subtitle A--Forest Management Provisions

Sec. 901. Clarification of existing categorical exclusion authority 
              related to insect and disease infestation.
Sec. 902. Revision of alternate consultation agreement regulations.
Sec. 903. Revision of extraordinary circumstances regulations.
Sec. 904. Conditions on Forest Service road decommissioning.
Sec. 905. Prohibition on application of Eastside Screens requirements 
              on National Forest System lands.
Sec. 906. Use of site-specific forest plan amendments for certain 
              projects and activities.
Sec. 907. Knutson-Vandenberg Act modifications.
Sec. 908. Application of Northwest Forest Plan Survey and Manage 
              Mitigation Measure Standard and Guidelines.
Sec. 909. Reconstruction and repair included in good neighbor 
              agreements.
Sec. 910. Logging and mechanized operations.

  Subtitle B--Oregon and California Railroad Grant Lands and Coos Bay 
                         Wagon Road Grant Lands

Sec. 911. Amendments to the Act of August 28, 1937.
Sec. 912. Oregon and California Railroad Grant Lands and Coos Bay Wagon 
              Road Grant lands permanent rights of access.
Sec. 913. Management of Bureau of Land Management lands in Western 
              Oregon.

                     Subtitle C--Timber Innovation

Sec. 921. Definitions.
Sec. 922. Clarification of research and development program for wood 
              building construction.

          TITLE X--MAJOR DISASTER FOR WILDFIRE ON FEDERAL LAND

Sec. 1001. Wildfire on Federal lands.
Sec. 1002. Declaration of a major disaster for wildfire on Federal 
              lands.
Sec. 1003. Prohibition on transfers.

           TITLE XI--DISASTER RELIEF AND WILDFIRE ADJUSTMENT

Sec. 1101. Increase in maximum adjustment to accommodate wildfire 
              funding.

     SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

       In titles I through IX:
       (1) Catastrophic event.--The term ``catastrophic event'' 
     means any natural disaster (such as 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) 
     or any fire, flood, or explosion, regardless of cause.
       (2) Collaborative process.--The term ``collaborative 
     process'' refers to a process relating to the management of 
     National Forest System lands or public lands by which a 
     project or forest management activity is developed and 
     implemented by the Secretary concerned through collaboration 
     with interested persons, as described in section 603(b)(1)(C) 
     of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 
     6591b(b)(1)(C)).
       (3) Community wildfire protection plan.--The term 
     ``community wildfire protection plan'' has the meaning given 
     that term in section 101 of the Healthy Forests Restoration 
     Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6511).
       (4) Coos bay wagon road grant lands.--The term ``Coos Bay 
     Wagon Road Grant lands'' means the lands reconveyed to the 
     United States pursuant to the first section of the Act of 
     February 26, 1919 (40 Stat. 1179).
       (5) Forest management activity.--The term ``forest 
     management activity'' means a project or activity carried out 
     by the Secretary concerned on National Forest System lands or 
     public lands consistent with the forest plan covering the 
     lands.
       (6) Forest plan.--The term ``forest plan'' means--
       (A) a land use plan prepared by the Bureau of Land 
     Management for public lands pursuant to section 202 of the 
     Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 
     1712); or
       (B) a land and resource management plan prepared by the 
     Forest Service for a unit of the National Forest System 
     pursuant to section 6 of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable 
     Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1604).
       (7) Large-scale catastrophic event.--The term ``large-scale 
     catastrophic event'' means a catastrophic event that 
     adversely impacts at least 5,000 acres of reasonably 
     contiguous National Forest System lands or public lands, as 
     determined by the Secretary concerned.
       (8) 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)).
       (9) Oregon and california railroad grant lands.--The term 
     ``Oregon and California Railroad Grant lands'' means the 
     following lands:
       (A) All lands in the State of Oregon revested in the United 
     States under the Act of June 9, 1916 (39 Stat. 218), that are 
     administered by the Secretary of the Interior, acting through 
     the Bureau of Land Management, pursuant to the first section 
     of the Act of August 28, 1937 (43 U.S.C. 1181a).
       (B) All lands in that State obtained by the Secretary of 
     the Interior pursuant to the land exchanges authorized and 
     directed by section 2 of the Act of June 24, 1954 (43 U.S.C. 
     1181h).
       (C) All lands in that State acquired by the United States 
     at any time and made subject to the provisions of title II of 
     the Act of August 28, 1937 (43 U.S.C. 1181f).
       (10) Public lands.--The term ``public lands'' has the 
     meaning given that term in section 103 of the Federal Land 
     Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1702), except 
     that the term includes Coos Bay Wagon Road Grant lands and 
     Oregon and California Railroad Grant lands.
       (11) Reforestation activity.--The term ``reforestation 
     activity'' means a project or forest management activity 
     carried out by the Secretary concerned whose primary purpose 
     is the reforestation of impacted lands following a large-
     scale catastrophic event. The term includes planting, 
     evaluating and enhancing natural regeneration, clearing 
     competing vegetation, and other activities related to 
     reestablishment of forest species on the impacted lands.
       (12) Resource advisory committee.--The term ``resource 
     advisory committee'' has the meaning given that term in 
     section 201 of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-
     Determination Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 7121).
       (13) Salvage operation.--The term ``salvage operation'' 
     means a forest management activity and restoration activities 
     carried out in response to a catastrophic event where the 
     primary purpose is--
       (A) to prevent wildfire as a result of the catastrophic 
     event, or, if the catastrophic event was wildfire, to prevent 
     a re-burn of the fire-impacted area;
       (B) to provide an opportunity for utilization of forest 
     materials damaged as a result of the catastrophic event; or
       (C) to provide a funding source for reforestation and other 
     restoration activities for the National Forest System lands 
     or public lands impacted by the catastrophic event.
       (14) Secretary concerned.--The term ``Secretary concerned'' 
     means--
       (A) the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to National 
     Forest System lands; and
       (B) the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to public 
     lands.

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     SEC. 3. RULE OF APPLICATION FOR NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM LANDS 
                   AND PUBLIC LANDS.

       Unless specifically provided by a provision of titles I 
     through IX, the authorities provided by such titles do not 
     apply with respect to any National Forest System lands or 
     public lands--
       (1) that are included in the National Wilderness 
     Preservation System;
       (2) that are located within a national or State-specific 
     inventoried roadless area established by the Secretary of 
     Agriculture through regulation, unless--
       (A) the forest management activity to be carried out under 
     such authority is consistent with the forest plan applicable 
     to the area; or
       (B) the Secretary concerned determines the activity is 
     allowed under the applicable roadless rule governing such 
     lands; or
       (3) on which timber harvesting for any purpose is 
     prohibited by Federal statute.

     TITLE I--EXPEDITED ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS AND AVAILABILITY OF 
    CATEGORICAL EXCLUSIONS TO EXPEDITE FOREST MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES

   Subtitle A--Analysis of Proposed Collaborative Forest Management 
                               Activities

     SEC. 101. ANALYSIS OF ONLY TWO ALTERNATIVES (ACTION VERSUS NO 
                   ACTION) IN PROPOSED COLLABORATIVE FOREST 
                   MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES.

       (a) Application to Certain Environmental Assessments and 
     Environmental Impact Statements.--This section shall apply 
     whenever the Secretary concerned prepares an environmental 
     assessment or an environmental impact statement pursuant to 
     section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
     (42 U.S.C. 4332) for a forest management activity that--
       (1) is developed through a collaborative process;
       (2) is proposed by a resource advisory committee;
       (3) will occur on lands identified by the Secretary 
     concerned as suitable for timber production;
       (4) will occur on lands designated by the Secretary (or 
     designee thereof) pursuant to section 602(b) of the Healthy 
     Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6591a(b)), 
     notwithstanding whether such forest management activity is 
     initiated prior to September 30, 2018; or
       (5) is covered by a community wildfire protection plan.
       (b) Consideration of Alternatives.--In an environmental 
     assessment or environmental impact statement described in 
     subsection (a), the Secretary concerned shall study, develop, 
     and describe only the following two alternatives:
       (1) The forest management activity.
       (2) The alternative of no action.
       (c) Elements of No Action Alternative.--In the case of the 
     alternative of no action, the Secretary concerned shall 
     consider whether to evaluate--
       (1) the effect of no action on--
       (A) forest health;
       (B) habitat diversity;
       (C) wildfire potential;
       (D) insect and disease potential; and
       (E) timber production; and
       (2) the implications of a resulting decline in forest 
     health, loss of habitat diversity, wildfire, or insect or 
     disease infestation, given fire and insect and disease 
     historic cycles, on--
       (A) domestic water supply in the project area;
       (B) wildlife habitat loss; and
       (C) other economic and social factors.

                   Subtitle B--Categorical Exclusions

     SEC. 111. CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION TO EXPEDITE CERTAIN CRITICAL 
                   RESPONSE ACTIONS.

       (a) Categorical Exclusion Established.--Forest management 
     activities described in subsection (b) are a category of 
     actions hereby designated as being categorically excluded 
     from the preparation of an environmental assessment or an 
     environmental impact statement under section 102 of the 
     National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332).
       (b) Forest Management Activities Designated for Categorical 
     Exclusion.--The forest management activities designated under 
     this section for a categorical exclusion are forest 
     management activities carried out by the Secretary concerned 
     on National Forest System lands or public lands where the 
     primary purpose of such activity is--
       (1) to address an insect or disease infestation;
       (2) to reduce hazardous fuel loads;
       (3) to protect a municipal water source;
       (4) to maintain, enhance, or modify critical habitat to 
     protect it from catastrophic disturbances;
       (5) to increase water yield;
       (6) produce timber; or
       (7) any combination of the purposes specified in paragraphs 
     (1) through (6).
       (c) Availability of Categorical Exclusion.--On and after 
     the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary 
     concerned may use the categorical exclusion established under 
     subsection (a) in accordance with this section.
       (d) Acreage Limitations.--
       (1) In general.--Except in the case of a forest management 
     activity described in paragraph (2), a forest management 
     activity covered by the categorical exclusion established 
     under subsection (a) may not contain treatment units 
     exceeding a total of 10,000 acres.
       (2) Larger areas authorized.--A forest management activity 
     covered by the categorical exclusion established under 
     subsection (a) may contain treatment units exceeding a total 
     of 10,000 acres but not more than a total of 30,000 acres if 
     the forest management activity--
       (A) is developed through a collaborative process;
       (B) is proposed by a resource advisory committee; or
       (C) is covered by a community wildfire protection plan.

     SEC. 112. CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION TO EXPEDITE SALVAGE 
                   OPERATIONS IN RESPONSE TO CATASTROPHIC EVENTS.

       (a) Categorical Exclusion Established.--Salvage operations 
     carried out by the Secretary concerned on National Forest 
     System lands or public lands are a category of actions hereby 
     designated as being categorically excluded from the 
     preparation of an environmental assessment or an 
     environmental impact statement under section 102 of the 
     National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332).
       (b) Availability of Categorical Exclusion.--On and after 
     the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary 
     concerned may use the categorical exclusion established under 
     subsection (a) in accordance with this section.
       (c) Acreage Limitation.--A salvage operation covered by the 
     categorical exclusion established under subsection (a) may 
     not contain treatment units exceeding a total of 10,000 
     acres.
       (d) Additional Requirements.--
       (1) Stream buffers.--A salvage operation covered by the 
     categorical exclusion established under subsection (a) shall 
     comply with the standards and guidelines for stream buffers 
     contained in the applicable forest plan unless waived by the 
     Regional Forester, in the case of National Forest System 
     lands, or the State Director of the Bureau of Land 
     Management, in the case of public lands.
       (2) Reforestation plan.--A reforestation plan shall be 
     developed under section 3 of the Act of June 9, 1930 
     (commonly known as the Knutson-Vandenberg Act; 16 U.S.C. 
     576b), as part of a salvage operation covered by the 
     categorical exclusion established under subsection (a).

     SEC. 113. CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION TO MEET FOREST PLAN GOALS FOR 
                   EARLY SUCCESSIONAL FORESTS.

       (a) Categorical Exclusion Established.--Forest management 
     activities described in subsection (b) are a category of 
     actions hereby designated as being categorically excluded 
     from the preparation of an environmental assessment or an 
     environmental impact statement under section 102 of the 
     National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332).
       (b) Forest Management Activities Designated for Categorical 
     Exclusion.--The forest management activities designated under 
     this section for a categorical exclusion are forest 
     management activities carried out by the Secretary concerned 
     on National Forest System lands or public lands where the 
     primary purpose of such activity is to modify, improve, 
     enhance, or create early successional forests for wildlife 
     habitat improvement and other purposes, consistent with the 
     applicable forest plan.
       (c) Availability of Categorical Exclusion.--On and after 
     the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary 
     concerned may use the categorical exclusion established under 
     subsection (a) in accordance with this section.
       (d) Project Goals.--To the maximum extent practicable, the 
     Secretary concerned shall design a forest management activity 
     under this section to meet early successional forest goals in 
     such a manner so as to maximize production and regeneration 
     of priority species, as identified in the forest plan and 
     consistent with the capability of the activity site.
       (e) Acreage Limitations.--A forest management activity 
     covered by the categorical exclusion established under 
     subsection (a) may not contain treatment units exceeding a 
     total of 10,000 acres.

     SEC. 114. CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION FOR ROAD SIDE PROJECTS.

       (a) Categorical Exclusion Established.--Projects carried 
     out by the Secretary concerned to remove hazard trees or to 
     salvage timber for purposes of the protection of public 
     health or safety, water supply, or public infrastructure are 
     a category of actions hereby designated as being 
     categorically excluded from the preparation of an 
     environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement 
     under section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act of 
     1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332).
       (b) Availability of Categorical Exclusion.--On and after 
     the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary 
     concerned may use the categorical exclusion established under 
     subsection (a) in accordance with this section.
       (c) Healthy Forests Restoration Act Requirements.--
       (1) Administrative review.--A project that is categorically 
     excluded under this section shall be subject to the 
     requirements of subsections (d), (e), and (f) of section 603 
     of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 
     6591).
       (2) Hazardous fuel reduction on federal land.--A project 
     that is categorically excluded under this section shall be 
     subject to the requirements of sections 102, 104, 105, and 
     106 of title I of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 
     (16 U.S.C. 6511 et seq.).

     SEC. 115. CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION TO IMPROVE OR RESTORE 
                   NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM LANDS OR PUBLIC LAND OR 
                   REDUCE THE RISK OF WILDFIRE.

       (a) Categorical Exclusion Established.--Forest management 
     activities described in subsection (b) are a category of 
     actions hereby designated as being categorically excluded 
     from the preparation of an environmental assessment or an 
     environmental impact statement under section 102 of the 
     National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332).
       (b) Forest Management Activities Designated for Categorical 
     Exclusion.--
       (1) Designation.--The forest management activities 
     designated under this section for a categorical exclusion are 
     forest management activities described in paragraph (2) that 
     are carried out by the Secretary concerned on National Forest 
     System Lands or public lands where the primary purpose of 
     such activity is to improve or restore such lands or reduce 
     the risk of wildfire on those lands.

[[Page H8343]]

       (2) Activities authorized.--The follow activities may be 
     carried out pursuant to the categorical exclusion established 
     under subsection (a):
       (A) Removal of juniper trees, medusahead rye, conifer 
     trees, pinon pine trees, cheatgrass, and other noxious or 
     invasive weeds specified on Federal or State noxious weeds 
     lists through late-season livestock grazing, targeted 
     livestock grazing, prescribed burns, and mechanical 
     treatments.
       (B) Performance of hazardous fuels management.
       (C) Creation of fuel and fire breaks.
       (D) Modification of existing fences in order to distribute 
     livestock and help improve wildlife habitat.
       (E) Installation of erosion control devices.
       (F) Construction of new and maintenance of permanent 
     infrastructure, including stock ponds, water catchments, and 
     water spring boxes used to benefit livestock and improve 
     wildlife habitat.
       (G) Performance of soil treatments, native and non-native 
     seeding, and planting of and transplanting sagebrush, grass, 
     forb, shrub, and other species.
       (H) Use of herbicides, so long as the Secretary concerned 
     determines that the activity is otherwise conducted 
     consistently with agency procedures, including any forest 
     plan applicable to the area covered by the activity.
       (c) Availability of Categorical Exclusion.--On and after 
     the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary 
     concerned may use the categorical exclusion established under 
     subsection (a) in accordance with this section.
       (d) Acreage Limitations.--A forest management activity 
     covered by the categorical exclusion established under 
     subsection (a) may not exceed 10,000 acres.
       (e) Definitions.--In this section:
       (1) Hazardous fuels management.--The term ``hazardous fuels 
     management'' means any vegetation management activities that 
     reduce the risk of wildfire.
       (2) Late-season grazing.--The term ``late-season grazing'' 
     means grazing activities that occur after both the invasive 
     species and native perennial species have completed their 
     current-year annual growth cycle until new plant growth 
     begins to appear in the following year.
       (3) Targeted livestock grazing.--The term ``targeted 
     livestock grazing'' means grazing used for purposes of 
     hazardous fuel reduction.

    Subtitle C--General Provisions for Forest Management Activities

     SEC. 121. COMPLIANCE WITH FOREST PLANS.

       A forest management activity carried out pursuant to this 
     Act shall be conducted in a manner consistent with the forest 
     plan applicable to the National Forest System land or public 
     lands covered by the forest management activity.

     SEC. 122. CONSULTATION UNDER THE NATIONAL HISTORIC 
                   PRESERVATION ACT.

       (a) In General.--Not later than 12 months after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary concerned shall each 
     develop, in consultation with relevant consulting parties, a 
     programmatic agreement or other appropriate program 
     alternative pursuant to section 800.14 of title 36, Code of 
     Federal Regulations, or successor regulation, for expediting 
     reviews under section 306108 of title 54, United States Code, 
     for forest management activities carried out pursuant to this 
     Act.
       (b) Requirement.--A programmatic agreement or other program 
     alternative developed under subsection (a) shall incorporate 
     the concepts of phased identification and evaluation set 
     forth in section 800.4(b)(2) of title 36, Code of Federal 
     Regulations, or successor regulation.

     SEC. 123. CONSULTATION UNDER THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT.

       (a) No Consultation if Action Not Likely To Adversely 
     Affect a Listed Species or Designated Critical Habitat.--With 
     respect to a forest management activity carried out pursuant 
     to this Act, consultation under section 7 of the Endangered 
     Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536) shall not be required if 
     the Secretary concerned determines that the such forest 
     management activity is not likely to adversely affect a 
     listed species or designated critical habitat.
       (b) Expedited Consultation.--
       (1) In general.--With respect to a forest management 
     activity carried out pursuant to this Act, consultation 
     required under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 
     1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536) shall be concluded within the 90-day 
     period beginning on the date on which such consultation was 
     requested by the Secretary concerned.
       (2) No conclusion.--In the case of a consultation described 
     in paragraph (1) that is not concluded within the 90-day 
     period, the forest management activity for which such 
     consultation was initiated--
       (A) shall be considered to have not violated section 7 of 
     the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2)); 
     and
       (B) may be carried out.

     SEC. 124. FOREST MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES CONSIDERED NON-
                   DISCRETIONARY ACTIONS.

       For purposes of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 
     U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), a forest management activity carried 
     out by the Secretary concerned pursuant to this Act shall be 
     considered a non-discretionary action.

 TITLE II--SALVAGE AND REFORESTATION IN RESPONSE TO CATASTROPHIC EVENTS

     SEC. 201. EXPEDITED SALVAGE OPERATIONS AND REFORESTATION 
                   ACTIVITIES FOLLOWING LARGE-SCALE CATASTROPHIC 
                   EVENTS.

       (a) Expedited Environmental Assessment.--Notwithstanding 
     any other provision of law, an environmental assessment 
     prepared by the Secretary concerned pursuant to section 102 
     of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 
     4332) for a salvage operation or reforestation activity 
     proposed to be conducted on National Forest System lands or 
     public lands adversely impacted by a large-scale catastrophic 
     event shall be completed within 60 days after the conclusion 
     of the catastrophic event.
       (b) Expedited Implementation and Completion.--In the case 
     of reforestation activities conducted on National Forest 
     System lands or public lands adversely impacted by a large-
     scale catastrophic event, the Secretary concerned shall, to 
     the maximum extent practicable, achieve reforestation of at 
     least 75 percent of the impacted lands during the 5-year 
     period following the conclusion of the catastrophic event.
       (c) Availability of Knutson-Vandenberg Funds.--Amounts in 
     the special fund established pursuant to section 3 of the Act 
     of June 9, 1930 (commonly known as the Knutson-Vandenberg 
     Act; 16 U.S.C. 576b) shall be available to the Secretary of 
     Agriculture for reforestation activities authorized by this 
     title.
       (d) Timeline for Public Input Process.--Notwithstanding any 
     other provision of law, in the case of a salvage operation or 
     reforestation activity proposed to be conducted on National 
     Forest System lands or public lands adversely impacted by a 
     large-scale catastrophic event, the Secretary concerned shall 
     allow 30 days for public scoping and comment, 15 days for 
     filing an objection, and 15 days for the agency response to 
     the filing of an objection. Upon completion of this process 
     and expiration of the period specified in subsection (a), the 
     Secretary concerned shall implement the project immediately.

     SEC. 202. COMPLIANCE WITH FOREST PLAN.

       A salvage operation or reforestation activity authorized by 
     this title shall be conducted in a manner consistent with the 
     forest plan applicable to the National Forest System lands or 
     public lands covered by the salvage operation or 
     reforestation activity.

     SEC. 203. PROHIBITION ON RESTRAINING ORDERS, PRELIMINARY 
                   INJUNCTIONS, AND INJUNCTIONS PENDING APPEAL.

       No restraining order, preliminary injunction, or injunction 
     pending appeal shall be issued by any court of the United 
     States with respect to any decision to prepare or conduct a 
     salvage operation or reforestation activity in response to a 
     large-scale catastrophic event. Section 705 of title 5, 
     United States Code, shall not apply to any challenge to the 
     salvage operation or reforestation activity.

                TITLE III--FOREST MANAGEMENT LITIGATION

               Subtitle A--General Litigation Provisions

     SEC. 301. NO ATTORNEY FEES FOR FOREST MANAGEMENT ACTIVITY 
                   CHALLENGES.

       Notwithstanding section 1304 of title 31, United States 
     Code, no award may be made under section 2412 of title 28, 
     United States Code, and no amounts may be obligated or 
     expended from the Claims and Judgment Fund of the United 
     States Treasury to pay any fees or other expenses under such 
     sections to any plaintiff related to an action challenging a 
     forest management activity carried out pursuant to this Act.

     SEC. 302. INJUNCTIVE RELIEF.

       (a) Balancing Short- and Long-Term Effects of Forest 
     Management Activities in Considering Injunctive Relief.--As 
     part of its weighing the equities while considering any 
     request for an injunction that applies to any agency action 
     as part of a forest management activity under titles I 
     through IX, the court reviewing the agency action shall 
     balance the impact to the ecosystem likely affected by the 
     forest management activity of--
       (1) the short- and long-term effects of undertaking the 
     agency action; against
       (2) the short- and long-term effects of not undertaking the 
     action.
       (b) Time Limitations for Injunctive Relief.--
       (1) In general.--Subject to paragraph (2) the length of any 
     preliminary injunctive relief and stays pending appeal that 
     applies to any agency action as part of a forest management 
     activity under titles I through IX, shall not exceed 60 days.
       (2) Renewal.--
       (A) In general.--A court of competent jurisdiction may 
     issue one or more renewals of any preliminary injunction, or 
     stay pending appeal, granted under paragraph (1).
       (B) Updates.--In each renewal of an injunction in an 
     action, the parties to the action shall present the court 
     with updated information on the status of the authorized 
     forest management activity.

    Subtitle B--Forest Management Activity Arbitration Pilot Program

     SEC. 311. USE OF ARBITRATION INSTEAD OF LITIGATION TO ADDRESS 
                   CHALLENGES TO FOREST MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES.

       (a) Discretionary Arbitration Process Pilot Program.--
       (1) In general.--The Secretary of Agriculture, with respect 
     to National Forest System lands, and the Secretary of the 
     Interior, with respect to public lands, shall each establish 
     a discretionary arbitration pilot program as an alternative 
     dispute resolution process in lieu of judicial review for the 
     activities described in paragraph (2).
       (2) Activities described.--The Secretary concerned, at the 
     sole discretion of the Secretary, may designate objections or 
     protests to forest management activities for arbitration 
     under the arbitration pilot program established under 
     paragraph (1).
       (3) Maximum amount of arbitrations.--Under the arbitration 
     pilot program, the Secretary concerned may not arbitrate more 
     than 10 objections or protests to forest management 
     activities in a fiscal year in--

[[Page H8344]]

       (A) each Forest Service Region; and
       (B) each State Region of the Bureau of Land Management.
       (4) Determining amount of arbitrations.--An objection or 
     protest to a forest management activity shall not be counted 
     towards the limitation on number of arbitrations under 
     paragraph (3) unless--
       (A) on the date such objection or protest is designated for 
     arbitration, the forest management activity for which such 
     objection or protest is filed has not been the subject of 
     arbitration proceedings under the pilot program; and
       (B) the arbitration proceeding has commenced with respect 
     to such objection or protest.
       (5) Termination.--The pilot programs established pursuant 
     to paragraph (1) shall terminate on the date that is 7 years 
     after the date of the enactment of this Act.
       (b) Intervening Parties.--
       (1) Requirements.--Any person that submitted a public 
     comment on the forest management activity that is subject to 
     arbitration may intervene in the arbitration--
       (A) by endorsing--
       (i) the forest management activity; or
       (ii) the modification proposal submitted under subparagraph 
     (B); or
       (B) by submitting a proposal to further modify the forest 
     management activity.
       (2) Deadline for submission.--With respect to an objection 
     or protest that is designated for arbitration under this 
     subsection (a), a request to intervene in an arbitration must 
     be submitted not later than the date that is 30 days after 
     the date on which such objection or protest was designated 
     for arbitration.
       (3) Multiple parties.--Multiple intervening parties may 
     submit a joint proposal so long as each intervening party 
     meets the eligibility requirements of paragraph (1).
       (c) Appointment of Arbitrator.--
       (1) Appointment.--The Secretary of Agriculture and the 
     Secretary of the Interior shall jointly develop and publish a 
     list of not fewer than 20 individuals eligible to serve as 
     arbitrators for the pilot programs under this section.
       (2) Qualifications.--In order to be eligible to serve as an 
     arbitrator under this subsection, an individual shall be, on 
     the date of the appointment of such arbitrator--
       (A) certified by the American Arbitration Association; and
       (B) not a registered lobbyist.
       (3) Selection of arbitrator.--
       (A) In general.--For each arbitration commenced under this 
     section, the Secretary concerned and each applicable objector 
     or protestor shall agree, not later than 14 days after the 
     agreement process is initiated, on a mutually acceptable 
     arbitrator from the list published under subsection.
       (B) Appointment after 14-days.--In the case of an agreement 
     with respect to a mutually acceptable arbitrator not being 
     reached within the 14-day limit described in subparagraph 
     (A), the Secretary concerned shall appoint an arbitrator from 
     the list published under this subsection.
       (d) Selection of Proposals.--
       (1) In general.--The arbitrator appointed under subsection 
     (c)--
       (A) may not modify any of the proposals submitted with the 
     objection, protest, or request to intervene; and
       (B) shall select to be conducted--
       (i) the forest management activity, as approved by the 
     Secretary; or
       (ii) a proposal submitted by an objector or an intervening 
     party.
       (2) Selection criteria.--An arbitrator shall, when 
     selecting a proposal, consider--
       (A) whether the proposal is consistent with the applicable 
     forest plan, laws, and regulations;
       (B) whether the proposal can be carried out by the 
     Secretary concerned; and
       (C) the effect of each proposal on--
       (i) forest health;
       (ii) habitat diversity;
       (iii) wildfire potential;
       (iv) insect and disease potential;
       (v) timber production; and
       (vi) the implications of a resulting decline in forest 
     health, loss of habitat diversity, wildfire, or insect or 
     disease infestation, given fire and insect and disease 
     historic cycles, on--

       (I) domestic water costs;
       (II) wildlife habitat loss; and
       (III) other economic and social factors.

       (e) Effect of Decision.--The decision of an arbitrator with 
     respect to the forest management activity--
       (1) shall not be considered a major Federal action;
       (2) shall be binding; and
       (3) shall not be subject to judicial review, except as 
     provided in section 10(a) of title 9, United States Code.
       (f) Deadline for Completion.--Not later than 90 days after 
     the date on which the arbitration is filed with respect to 
     the forest management activity, the arbitration process shall 
     be completed.

  TITLE IV--SECURE RURAL SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY SELF-DETERMINATION ACT 
                               AMENDMENTS

     SEC. 401. USE OF RESERVED FUNDS FOR TITLE II PROJECTS ON 
                   FEDERAL LAND AND CERTAIN NON-FEDERAL LAND.

       (a) Repeal of Merchantable Timber Contracting Pilot 
     Program.--Section 204(e) of the Secure Rural Schools and 
     Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 7124(e)) 
     is amended by striking paragraph (3).
       (b) Requirements for Project Funds.--Section 204(f) of the 
     Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 
     2000 (16 U.S.C. 7124(f)) is amended to read as follows:
       ``(f) Requirements for Project Funds.--
       ``(1) In general.--Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary 
     concerned shall ensure that at least 50 percent of the 
     project funds reserved by a participating county under 
     section 102(d) shall be available only for projects that--
       ``(A) include the sale of timber or other forest products, 
     reduce fire risks, or improve water supplies; and
       ``(B) implement stewardship objectives that enhance forest 
     ecosystems or restore and improve land health and water 
     quality.
       ``(2) Applicability.--The requirement in paragraph (1) 
     shall apply only to project funds reserved by a participating 
     county whose boundaries include Federal land that the 
     Secretary concerned determines has been subject to a timber 
     or other forest products program within 5 fiscal years before 
     the fiscal year in which the funds are reserved.''.

     SEC. 402. RESOURCE ADVISORY COMMITTEES.

       (a) Recognition of Resource Advisory Committees.--Section 
     205(a)(4) of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-
     Determination Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 7125(a)(4)) is amended 
     by striking ``2012'' each place it appears and inserting 
     ``2022''.
       (b) Reduction in Composition of Committees.--Section 205(d) 
     of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination 
     Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 7125(d)) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (1), by striking ``15 members'' and 
     inserting ``9 members''; and
       (2) by striking ``5 persons'' each place it appears and 
     inserting ``3 persons''.
       (c) Expanding Local Participation on Committees.--Section 
     205(d) of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-
     Determination Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 7125(d)) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (3), by inserting before the period at the 
     end the following: ``, consistent with the requirements of 
     paragraph (4)''; and
       (2) by striking paragraph (4) and inserting the following 
     new paragraph:
       ``(4) Geographic distribution.--The members of a resource 
     advisory committee shall reside within the county or counties 
     in which the committee has jurisdiction or an adjacent 
     county.''.
       (d) Appointment of Resource Advisory Committees by 
     Applicable Designee.--
       (1) In general.--Section 205 of the Secure Rural Schools 
     and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 7125) 
     is further amended--
       (A) in subsection (a)--
       (i) in paragraph (1), by inserting ``(or applicable 
     designee)'' after ``The Secretary concerned'';
       (ii) in paragraph (3), by inserting ``(or applicable 
     designee)'' after ``the Secretary concerned''; and
       (iii) in paragraph (4), by inserting ``(or applicable 
     designee)'' after ``the Secretary concerned'' both places it 
     appears;
       (B) in subsection (b)(6), by inserting ``(or applicable 
     designee)'' after ``the Secretary concerned'';
       (C) in subsection (c)--
       (i) in the subsection heading, by inserting ``or Applicable 
     Designee'' after ``by the Secretary'';
       (ii) in paragraph (1), by inserting ``(or applicable 
     designee)'' after ``The Secretary concerned'' both places it 
     appears;
       (iii) in paragraph (2), by inserting ``(or applicable 
     designee)'' after ``The Secretary concerned'';
       (iv) in paragraph (4), by inserting ``(or applicable 
     designee)'' after ``The Secretary concerned''; and
       (v) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
       ``(6) Applicable designee.--In this section, the term 
     `applicable designee' means--
       ``(A) with respect to Federal land described in section 
     3(7)(A), the applicable Regional Forester; and
       ``(B) with respect to Federal land described in section 
     3(7)(B), the applicable Bureau of Land Management State 
     Director.'';
       (D) in subsection (d)(3), by inserting ``(or applicable 
     designee)'' after ``the Secretary concerned''; and
       (E) in subsection (f)(1)--
       (i) by inserting ``(or applicable designee)'' after ``the 
     Secretary concerned''; and
       (ii) by inserting ``(or applicable designee)'' after ``of 
     the Secretary''.
       (2) Conforming amendment.--Section 201(3) of the Secure 
     Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 
     (16 U.S.C. 7121(3)) is amended by inserting ``(or applicable 
     designee (as defined in section 205(c)(6)))'' after 
     ``Secretary concerned'' both places it appears.

     SEC. 403. PROGRAM FOR TITLE II SELF-SUSTAINING RESOURCE 
                   ADVISORY COMMITTEE PROJECTS.

       (a) Self-Sustaining Resource Advisory Committee Projects.--
     Title II of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-
     Determination Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 7121 et seq.) is amended 
     by adding at the end the following new section:

     ``SEC. 209. PROGRAM FOR SELF-SUSTAINING RESOURCE ADVISORY 
                   COMMITTEE PROJECTS.

       ``(a) RAC Program.--The Chief of the Forest Service shall 
     conduct a program (to be known as the `self-sustaining 
     resource advisory committee program' or `RAC program') under 
     which 10 resource advisory committees will propose projects 
     authorized by subsection (c) to be carried out using project 
     funds reserved by a participating county under section 
     102(d).
       ``(b) Selection of Participating Resource Advisory 
     Committees.--The selection of resource advisory committees to 
     participate in the RAC program is in the sole discretion of 
     the Chief of the Forest Service.
       ``(c) Authorized Projects.--Notwithstanding the project 
     purposes specified in sections 202(b), 203(c), and 204(a)(5), 
     projects under the RAC program are intended to--
       ``(1) accomplish forest management objectives or support 
     community development; and
       ``(2) generate receipts.

[[Page H8345]]

       ``(d) Deposit and Availability of Revenues.--Any revenue 
     generated by a project conducted under the RAC program, 
     including any interest accrued from the revenues, shall be--
       ``(1) deposited in the special account in the Treasury 
     established under section 102(d)(2)(A); and
       ``(2) available, in such amounts as may be provided in 
     advance in appropriation Acts, for additional projects under 
     the RAC program.
       ``(e) Termination of Authority.--
       ``(1) In general.--The authority to initiate a project 
     under the RAC program shall terminate on September 30, 2022.
       ``(2) Deposits in treasury.--Any funds available for 
     projects under the RAC program and not obligated by September 
     30, 2023, shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United 
     States.''.
       (b) Exception to General Rule Regarding Treatment of 
     Receipts.--Section 403(b) of the Secure Rural Schools and 
     Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 7153(b)) 
     is amended by striking ``All revenues'' and inserting 
     ``Except as provided in section 209, all revenues''.

     SEC. 404. ADDITIONAL AUTHORIZED USE OF RESERVED FUNDS FOR 
                   TITLE III COUNTY PROJECTS.

       Section 302(a) of the Secure Rural Schools and Community 
     Self-Determination Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 7142(a)) is 
     amended--
       (1) in paragraph (2)--
       (A) by inserting ``and law enforcement patrols'' after 
     ``including firefighting''; and
       (B) by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (2) in paragraph (3), by inserting ``and carry out'' after 
     ``develop'';
       (3) by redesignating paragraph (3) as paragraph (4); and
       (4) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following new 
     paragraph (3):
       ``(3) to cover training costs and equipment purchases 
     directly related to the emergency services described in 
     paragraph (2); and''.

     SEC. 405. TREATMENT AS SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING.

       (a) In General.--Section 102 of the Secure Rural Schools 
     and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 7112) 
     is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
       ``(f) Treatment as Supplemental Funding.--None of the funds 
     made available to a beneficiary county or other political 
     subdivision of a State under this Act shall be used in lieu 
     of or to otherwise offset State funding sources for local 
     schools, facilities, or educational purposes.''.
       (b) Continuation of Direct Payments.--Payments to States 
     made under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-
     Determination Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 7101 et seq.) and 25-
     percent payments made to States and Territories under the 
     Acts of May 23, 1908, and March 1, 1911 (16 U.S.C. 500), 
     shall continue to be made as direct payments.

              TITLE V--STEWARDSHIP END RESULT CONTRACTING

     SEC. 501. CANCELLATION CEILINGS FOR STEWARDSHIP END RESULT 
                   CONTRACTING PROJECTS.

       (a) Cancellation Ceilings.--Section 604 of the Healthy 
     Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6591c) is 
     amended--
       (1) by redesignating subsections (h) and (i) as subsections 
     (i) and (j), respectively; and
       (2) by inserting after subsection (g) the following new 
     subsection (h):
       ``(h) Cancellation Ceilings.--
       ``(1) In general.--Notwithstanding section 3903(b)(1) of 
     title 41, United States Code, the Chief and the Director may 
     obligate funds in stages that are economically or 
     programmatically viable to cover any potential cancellation 
     or termination costs for an agreement or contract under 
     subsection (b) in stages that are economically or 
     programmatically viable.
       ``(2) Advance notice to congress of cancellation ceiling in 
     excess of $25 million.--Not later than 30 days before 
     entering into a multiyear agreement or contract under 
     subsection (b) that includes a cancellation ceiling in excess 
     of $25 million, but does not include proposed funding for the 
     costs of cancelling the agreement or contract up to such 
     cancellation ceiling, the Chief or the Director, as the case 
     may be, shall submit to the Committee on Energy and Natural 
     Resources and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and 
     Forestry of the Senate and the Committee on Natural Resources 
     and the Committee on Agriculture of the House of 
     Representatives a written notice that includes--
       ``(A) the cancellation ceiling amounts proposed for each 
     program year in the agreement or contract;
       ``(B) the reasons why such cancellation ceiling amounts 
     were selected;
       ``(C) the extent to which the costs of contract 
     cancellation are not included in the budget for the agreement 
     or contract; and
       ``(D) an assessment of the financial risk of not including 
     budgeting for the costs of agreement or contract 
     cancellation.
       ``(3) Transmittal of notice to omb.--Not later than 14 days 
     after the date on which written notice is provided under 
     paragraph (2) with respect to an agreement or contract under 
     subsection (b), the Chief or the Director, as the case may 
     be, shall transmit a copy of the notice to the Director of 
     the Office of Management and Budget.''.
       (b) Relation to Other Laws.--Section 604(d)(5) of the 
     Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 
     6591c(d)(5)) is amended--
       (1) by striking ``, the Chief may'' and inserting ``and 
     section 2(a)(1) of the Act of July 31, 1947 (commonly known 
     as the Materials Act of 1947; 30 U.S.C. 602(a)(1)), the Chief 
     and the Director may''; and
       (2) by striking the last sentence.

     SEC. 502. EXCESS OFFSET VALUE.

       Section 604(g)(2) of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 
     2003 (16 U.S.C. 6591c(g)(2)) is amended by striking 
     subparagraphs (A) and (B) and inserting the following new 
     subparagraphs:
       ``(A) use the excess to satisfy any outstanding liabilities 
     for cancelled agreements or contracts; or
       ``(B) if there are no outstanding liabilities under 
     subparagraph (A), apply the excess to other authorized 
     stewardship projects.''.

     SEC. 503. PAYMENT OF PORTION OF STEWARDSHIP PROJECT REVENUES 
                   TO COUNTY IN WHICH STEWARDSHIP PROJECT OCCURS.

       Section 604(e) of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 
     2003 (16 U.S.C. 6591c(e)) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (2)(B), by inserting ``subject to 
     paragraph (3)(A),'' before ``shall''; and
       (2) in paragraph (3)(A), by striking ``services received by 
     the Chief or the Director'' and all that follows through the 
     period at the end and inserting the following: ``services and 
     in-kind resources received by the Chief or the Director under 
     a stewardship contract project conducted under this section 
     shall not be considered monies received from the National 
     Forest System or the public lands, but any payments made by 
     the contractor to the Chief or Director under the project 
     shall be considered monies received from the National Forest 
     System or the public lands.''.

     SEC. 504. SUBMISSION OF EXISTING ANNUAL REPORT.

       Subsection (j) of section 604 of the Healthy Forests 
     Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6591c), as redesignated by 
     section 501(a)(1), is amended by striking ``report to the 
     Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the 
     Senate and the Committee on Agriculture of the House of 
     Representatives'' and inserting ``submit to the congressional 
     committees specified in subsection (h)(2) a report''.

     SEC. 505. FIRE LIABILITY PROVISION.

       Section 604(d) of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 
     2003 (16 U.S.C. 6591c(d)) is amended by adding at the end the 
     following new paragraph:
       ``(8) Modification.--Upon the request of the contractor, a 
     contract or agreement under this section awarded before 
     February 7, 2014, shall be modified by the Chief or Director 
     to include the fire liability provisions described in 
     paragraph (7).''.

     SEC. 506. EXTENSION OF STEWARDSHIP CONTRACTING MAXIMUM TERM 
                   LIMITS.

       (a) Health Forests Restoration Act.--Section 604(d)(3)(B) 
     of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 
     6591c(d)(3)(B)) is amended by striking ``10 years'' and 
     inserting ``20 years''.
       (b) National Forest Management Act.--Section 14(c) of the 
     National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 472a(c)) is 
     amended by striking ``ten years'' and inserting ``20 years''.

 TITLE VI--ADDITIONAL FUNDING SOURCES FOR FOREST MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES

     SEC. 601. DEFINITIONS.

       In this title:
       (1) Eligible entity.--The term ``eligible entity'' means--
       (A) a State or political subdivision of a State containing 
     National Forest System lands or public lands;
       (B) a publicly chartered utility serving one or more States 
     or a political subdivision thereof;
       (C) a rural electric company; and
       (D) any other entity determined by the Secretary concerned 
     to be appropriate for participation in the Fund.
       (2) Fund.--The term ``Fund'' means the State-Supported 
     Forest Management Fund established by section 603.

     SEC. 602. AVAILABILITY OF STEWARDSHIP PROJECT REVENUES AND 
                   COLLABORATIVE FOREST LANDSCAPE RESTORATION FUND 
                   TO COVER FOREST MANAGEMENT ACTIVITY PLANNING 
                   COSTS.

       (a) Availability of Stewardship Project Revenues.--Section 
     604(e)(2)(B) of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 
     (16 U.S.C. 6591c(e)(2)(B)), as amended by section 503, is 
     further amended by striking ``appropriation at the project 
     site from which the monies are collected or at another 
     project site.'' and inserting the following: 
     ``appropriation--
       ``(i) at the project site from which the monies are 
     collected or at another project site; and
       ``(ii) to cover not more than 25 percent of the cost of 
     planning additional stewardship contracting projects.''.
       (b) Availability of Collaborative Forest Landscape 
     Restoration Fund.--Section 4003(f)(1) of the Omnibus Public 
     Land Management Act of 2009 (16 U.S.C. 7303(f)(1)) is amended 
     by striking ``carrying out and'' and inserting ``planning, 
     carrying out, and''.

     SEC. 603. STATE-SUPPORTED PLANNING OF FOREST MANAGEMENT 
                   ACTIVITIES.

       (a) State-Supported Forest Management Fund.--There is 
     established in the Treasury of the United States a fund, to 
     be known as the ``State-Supported Forest Management Fund'', 
     to cover the cost of planning (especially related to 
     compliance with section 102 of the National Environmental 
     Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332)), carrying out, and 
     monitoring certain forest management activities on National 
     Forest System lands or public lands.
       (b) Contents.--The State-Supported Forest Management Fund 
     shall consist of such amounts as may be--
       (1) contributed by an eligible entity for deposit in the 
     Fund;
       (2) appropriated to the Fund; or
       (3) generated by forest management activities carried out 
     using amounts in the Fund.

[[Page H8346]]

       (c) Geographical and Use Limitations.--In making a 
     contribution under subsection (b)(1), an eligible entity 
     may--
       (1) specify the National Forest System lands or public 
     lands for which the contribution may be expended; and
       (2) limit the types of forest management activities for 
     which the contribution may be expended.
       (d) Authorized Forest Management Activities.--In such 
     amounts as may be provided in advance in appropriation Acts, 
     the Secretary concerned may use the Fund to plan, carry out, 
     and monitor a forest management activity that--
       (1) is developed through a collaborative process;
       (2) is proposed by a resource advisory committee;
       (3) is covered by a community wildfire protection plan.
       (e) Implementation Methods.--A forest management activity 
     carried out using amounts in the Fund may be carried out 
     using a contract or agreement under section 604 of the 
     Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6591c), 
     the good neighbor authority provided by section 8206 of the 
     Agricultural Act of 2014 (16 U.S.C. 2113a), a contract under 
     section 14 of the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 
     U.S.C. 472a), or other authority available to the Secretary 
     concerned, but revenues generated by the forest management 
     activity shall be used to reimburse the Fund for planning 
     costs covered using amounts in the Fund.
       (f) Relation to Other Laws.--
       (1) Revenue sharing.--Subject to subsection (e), revenues 
     generated by a forest management activity carried out using 
     amounts from the Fund shall be considered monies received 
     from the National Forest System.
       (2) Knutson-vanderberg act.--The Act of June 9, 1930 
     (commonly known as the Knutson-Vanderberg Act; 16 U.S.C. 576 
     et seq.), shall apply to any forest management activity 
     carried out using amounts in the Fund.
       (g) Termination of Fund.--
       (1) Termination.--The Fund shall terminate 10 years after 
     the date of the enactment of this Act.
       (2) Effect of termination.--Upon the termination of the 
     Fund pursuant to paragraph (1) or pursuant to any other 
     provision of law, unobligated contributions remaining in the 
     Fund shall be returned to the eligible entity that made the 
     contribution.

        TITLE VII--TRIBAL FORESTRY PARTICIPATION AND PROTECTION

     SEC. 701. PROTECTION OF TRIBAL FOREST ASSETS THROUGH USE OF 
                   STEWARDSHIP END RESULT CONTRACTING AND OTHER 
                   AUTHORITIES.

       (a) Prompt Consideration of Tribal Requests.--Section 2(b) 
     of the Tribal Forest Protection Act of 2004 (25 U.S.C. 
     3115a(b)) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (1), by striking ``Not later than 120 days 
     after the date on which an Indian tribe submits to the 
     Secretary'' and inserting ``In response to the submission by 
     an Indian Tribe of''; and
       (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
       ``(4) Time periods for consideration.--
       ``(A) Initial response.--Not later than 120 days after the 
     date on which the Secretary receives a Tribal request under 
     paragraph (1), the Secretary shall provide an initial 
     response to the Indian Tribe regarding--
       ``(i) whether the request may meet the selection criteria 
     described in subsection (c); and
       ``(ii) the likelihood of the Secretary entering into an 
     agreement or contract with the Indian Tribe under paragraph 
     (2) for activities described in paragraph (3).
       ``(B) Notice of denial.--Notice under subsection (d) of the 
     denial of a Tribal request under paragraph (1) shall be 
     provided not later than 1 year after the date on which the 
     Secretary received the request.
       ``(C) Completion.--Not later than 2 years after the date on 
     which the Secretary receives a Tribal request under paragraph 
     (1), other than a Tribal request denied under subsection (d), 
     the Secretary shall--
       ``(i) complete all environmental reviews necessary in 
     connection with the agreement or contract and proposed 
     activities under the agreement or contract; and
       ``(ii) enter into the agreement or contract with the Indian 
     tribe under paragraph (2).''.
       (b) Conforming and Technical Amendments.--Section 2 of the 
     Tribal Forest Protection Act of 2004 (25 U.S.C. 3115a) is 
     amended--
       (1) in subsections (b)(1) and (f)(1), by striking ``section 
     347 of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies 
     Appropriations Act, 1999 (16 U.S.C. 2104 note; Public Law 
     105-277) (as amended by section 323 of the Department of the 
     Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2003 (117 
     Stat. 275))'' and inserting ``section 604 of the Healthy 
     Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6591c)''; and
       (2) in subsection (d), by striking ``subsection (b)(1), the 
     Secretary may'' and inserting ``paragraphs (1) and (4)(B) of 
     subsection (b), the Secretary shall''.

     SEC. 702. MANAGEMENT OF INDIAN FOREST LAND AUTHORIZED TO 
                   INCLUDE RELATED NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM LANDS 
                   AND PUBLIC LANDS.

       Section 305 of the National Indian Forest Resources 
     Management Act (25 U.S.C. 3104) is amended by adding at the 
     end the following new subsection:
       ``(c) Inclusion of Certain National Forest System Land and 
     Public Land.--
       ``(1) Authority.--At the request of an Indian Tribe, the 
     Secretary concerned may agree to treat Federal forest land as 
     Indian forest land for purposes of planning and conducting 
     forest land management activities under this section if the 
     Federal forest land is located within, or mostly within, a 
     geographic area that presents a feature or involves 
     circumstances principally relevant to that Indian Tribe, such 
     as Federal forest land ceded to the United States by treaty, 
     Federal forest land within the boundaries of a current or 
     former reservation, or Federal forest land adjudicated to be 
     Tribal homelands.
       ``(2) Requirements.--As part of the agreement to treat 
     Federal forest land as Indian forest land under paragraph 
     (1), the Secretary concerned and the Indian Tribe making the 
     request shall--
       ``(A) provide for continued public access applicable to the 
     Federal forest land prior to the agreement, except that the 
     Secretary concerned may limit or prohibit such access as 
     needed;
       ``(B) continue sharing revenue generated by the Federal 
     forest land with State and local governments either--
       ``(i) on the terms applicable to the Federal forest land 
     prior to the agreement, including, where applicable, 25-
     percent payments or 50-percent payments; or
       ``(ii) at the option of the Indian Tribe, on terms agreed 
     upon by the Indian Tribe, the Secretary concerned, and State 
     and county governments participating in a revenue sharing 
     agreement for the Federal forest land;
       ``(C) comply with applicable prohibitions on the export of 
     unprocessed logs harvested from the Federal forest land;
       ``(D) recognize all right-of-way agreements in place on 
     Federal forest land prior to commencement of Tribal 
     management activities;
       ``(E) ensure that all commercial timber removed from the 
     Federal forest land is sold on a competitive bid basis; and
       ``(F) cooperate with the appropriate State fish and 
     wildlife agency to achieve mutual agreement on the management 
     of fish and wildlife.
       ``(3) Limitation.--Treating Federal forest land as Indian 
     forest land for purposes of planning and conducting 
     management activities pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not be 
     construed to designate the Federal forest land as Indian 
     forest lands for any other purpose.
       ``(4) Definitions.--In this subsection:
       ``(A) Federal forest land.--The term `Federal forest land' 
     means--
       ``(i) National Forest System lands; and
       ``(ii) public lands (as defined in section 103(e) of the 
     Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 
     1702(e))), including Coos Bay Wagon Road Grant lands 
     reconveyed to the United States pursuant to the first section 
     of the Act of February 26, 1919 (40 Stat. 1179), and Oregon 
     and California Railroad Grant lands.
       ``(B) Secretary concerned.--The term `Secretary concerned' 
     means--
       ``(i) the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to the 
     Federal forest land referred to in subparagraph (A)(i); and
       ``(ii) the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to the 
     Federal forest land referred to in subparagraph (A)(ii).''.

     SEC. 703. TRIBAL FOREST MANAGEMENT DEMONSTRATION PROJECT.

       The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of 
     Agriculture may carry out demonstration projects by which 
     federally recognized Indian Tribes or Tribal organizations 
     may contract to perform administrative, management, and other 
     functions of programs of the Tribal Forest Protection Act of 
     2004 (25 U.S.C. 3115a et seq.) through contracts entered into 
     under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance 
     Act (25 U.S.C. 5304 et seq.).

     SEC. 704. RULE OF APPLICATION.

       Nothing in this title, or the amendments made by this 
     title, shall be construed as interfering with, diminishing, 
     or conflicting with the authority, jurisdiction, or 
     responsibility of any State to exercise primary management, 
     control, or regulation of fish and wildlife on land or water 
     within the State (including on public land) under State law.

            TITLE VIII-- EXPEDITING INTERAGENCY CONSULTATION

     Subtitle A--Forest Plans Not Considered Major Federal Actions

     SEC. 801. FOREST PLANS NOT CONSIDERED MAJOR FEDERAL ACTIONS.

       The development, maintenance, amendment, and revision of a 
     forest plan shall not be considered a major Federal action 
     for purposes of section 102 of the National Environmental 
     Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332).

                    Subtitle B--Agency Consultation

     SEC. 811. CONSULTATION UNDER FOREST AND RANGELAND RENEWABLE 
                   RESOURCES PLANNING ACT OF 1974.

       (a) In General.--Section 6(d) of the Forest and Rangeland 
     Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1604(d)) 
     is amended--
       (1) by striking ``(d) The Secretary'' and inserting the 
     following:
       ``(d) Public Participation and Consultation.--
       ``(1) In general.--The Secretary''; and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(2) No additional consultation required after approval of 
     land management plans.--
       ``(A) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
     law, the Secretary shall not be required to engage in 
     consultation under this subsection or any other provision of 
     law (including section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (16 
     U.S.C. 1536) and section 402.16 of title 50, Code of Federal 
     Regulations (or a successor regulation)) with respect to--
       ``(i) if a land management plan approved by the Secretary--

       ``(I) the listing of a species as threatened or endangered, 
     or a designation of critical habitat pursuant to the 
     Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.);
       ``(II) whether the amount or extent of taking specified in 
     the incidental take statement is exceeded;

[[Page H8347]]

       ``(III) whether new information reveals effects of the 
     action that may affect listed species or critical habitat in 
     a manner or to an extent not previously considered; or
       ``(IV) whether the identified action is subsequently 
     modified in a manner that causes an effect to the listed 
     species or critical habitat that was not considered in the 
     biological opinion; or

       ``(ii) any provision of a land management plan adopted as 
     described in clause (i).
       ``(B) Effect of paragraph.--Nothing in this paragraph 
     affects any applicable requirement of the Secretary to 
     consult with the head of any other Federal department or 
     agency--
       ``(i) regarding any project, including a project carried 
     out, or proposed to be carried out, in an area designated as 
     critical habitat pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (16 
     U.S.C. 1531 et seq.); or
       ``(ii) with respect to the development of an amendment to a 
     land management plan that would result in a significant 
     change in the land management plan.
       ``(3) Land management plan considered a non-discretionary 
     action.--For purposes of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 
     (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), a forest management activity 
     carried out by the Secretary concerned pursuant to this Act 
     shall be considered a non-discretionary action.''.
       (b) Definition of Secretary; Conforming Amendments.--
       (1) Definition of secretary.--Section 3(a) of the Forest 
     and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 
     U.S.C. 1601(a)) is amended, in the first sentence of the 
     matter preceding paragraph (1), by inserting ``(referred to 
     in this Act as the `Secretary')'' after ``Secretary of 
     Agriculture''.
       (2) Conforming amendments.--The Forest and Rangeland 
     Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1600 et 
     seq.) is amended, in sections 4 through 9, 12, 13, and 15, by 
     striking ``Secretary of Agriculture'' each place it appears 
     and inserting ``Secretary''.

     SEC. 812. CONSULTATION UNDER FEDERAL LAND POLICY AND 
                   MANAGEMENT ACT OF 1976.

       Section 202(f) of the Federal Land Policy and Management 
     Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1712(f)) is amended--
       (1) by striking ``(f) The Secretary'' and inserting the 
     following:
       ``(f) Public Involvement.--
       ``(1) In general.--The Secretary''; and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(2) No additional consultation required after approval of 
     land use plans.--
       ``(A) In general.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
     law, the Secretary shall not be required to engage in 
     consultation under this subsection or any other provision of 
     law (including section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (16 
     U.S.C. 1536) and section 402.16 of title 50, Code of Federal 
     Regulations (or a successor regulation)), with respect to--
       ``(i) the listing of a species as threatened or endangered, 
     or a designation of critical habitat, pursuant to the 
     Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), if a land 
     use plan has been adopted by the Secretary as of the date of 
     listing or designation; or
       ``(ii) any provision of a land use plan adopted as 
     described in clause (i).
       ``(B) Effect of paragraph.--
       ``(i) Definition of significant change.--In this 
     subparagraph, the term `significant change' means a 
     significant change within the meaning of section 219.13(b)(3) 
     of title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on the 
     date of enactment of this subparagraph), except that--

       ``(I) any reference contained in that section to a land 
     management plan shall be deemed to be a reference to a land 
     use plan;
       ``(II) any reference contained in that section to the 
     Forest Service shall be deemed to be a reference to the 
     Bureau of Land Management; and
       ``(III) any reference contained in that section to the 
     National Forest Management Act of 1976 (Public Law 94-588; 90 
     Stat. 2949) shall be deemed to be a reference to this Act.

       ``(ii) Effect.--Nothing in this paragraph affects any 
     applicable requirement of the Secretary to consult with the 
     head of any other Federal department or agency--

       ``(I) regarding a project carried out, or proposed to be 
     carried out, with respect to a species listed as threatened 
     or endangered, or in an area designated as critical habitat, 
     pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
     seq.); or
       ``(II) with respect to the development of a new land use 
     plan or the revision of or other significant change to an 
     existing land use plan.

       ``(3) Land use plan considered non-discretionary action.--
     For purposes of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 
     1531 et seq.), a forest management activity carried out by 
     the Secretary concerned pursuant to this Act shall be 
     considered a non-discretionary action.''.

                        TITLE IX--MISCELLANEOUS

                Subtitle A--Forest Management Provisions

     SEC. 901. CLARIFICATION OF EXISTING CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION 
                   AUTHORITY RELATED TO INSECT AND DISEASE 
                   INFESTATION.

       Section 603(c)(2)(B) of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act 
     of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6591b(c)(2)(B)) is amended by striking 
     ``Fire Regime Groups I, II, or III'' and inserting ``Fire 
     Regime I, Fire Regime II, Fire Regime III, Fire Regime IV, or 
     Fire Regime V''.

     SEC. 902. REVISION OF ALTERNATE CONSULTATION AGREEMENT 
                   REGULATIONS.

       Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of 
     this section, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary 
     of Commerce shall revise section 402.13 of title 50, Code of 
     Federal Regulations, to--
       (1) authorize Federal agencies to enter into alternative 
     consultation agreements under which the Federal agency may 
     determine if an action such agency authorizes is likely to 
     adversely affect listed species or critical habitat; and
       (2) if an agency determines such action will not likely 
     adversely affect listed species or critical habitat pursuant 
     to paragraph (1), not require such agency to complete a 
     formal consultation, informal consultation, or written 
     concurrence of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the 
     National Marine Fisheries Service with respect to such 
     action.

     SEC. 903. REVISION OF EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES 
                   REGULATIONS.

       (a) Determinations of Extraordinary Circumstances.--In 
     determining whether extraordinary circumstances related to a 
     proposed action preclude use of a categorical exclusion, the 
     Forest Service shall not be required to--
       (1) consider whether a proposed action is within a 
     potential wilderness area;
       (2) consider whether a proposed action affects a Forest 
     Service sensitive species;
       (3) conduct an analysis under section 220.4(f) of title 36, 
     Code of Federal Regulations, of the proposed action's 
     cumulative impact (as the term is defined in section 1508.7 
     of title 40, Code of Federal Regulations);
       (4) consider a determination under section 7 of the 
     Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536) that a 
     proposed action may affect, but is not likely to adversely 
     affect, threatened, endangered, or candidate species, or 
     designated critical habitats; or
       (5) consider a determination under section 7 of the 
     Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536) that a 
     proposed action may affect, and is likely to adversely affect 
     threatened, endangered, candidate species, or designated 
     critical habitat if the agency is in compliance with the 
     applicable provisions of the biological opinion.
       (b) Proposed Rulemaking.--Not later than 60 days after the 
     date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture 
     shall publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to revise 
     section 220.6(b) of title 36, Code of Federal Regulations to 
     conform such section with subsection (a).
       (c) Additional Revision.--As part of the proposed 
     rulemaking described in subsection (b), the Secretary of 
     Agriculture shall revise section 220.5(a)(2) of title 36, 
     Code of Federal Regulations, to provide that the Forest 
     Service shall not be required to consider proposals that 
     would substantially alter a potential wilderness area as a 
     class of actions normally requiring environmental impact 
     statements.
       (d) Additional Actions.--Not later than 120 days after the 
     date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture 
     shall issue final regulations to carry out the revisions 
     described in subsections (b) and (c).

     SEC. 904. CONDITIONS ON FOREST SERVICE ROAD DECOMMISSIONING.

       (a) Consultation With Affected County.--Whenever any Forest 
     Service defined maintenance level one- or two-system road 
     within a designated high-fire prone area of a unit of the 
     National Forest System is considered for decommissioning, the 
     Forest Supervisor of that unit of the National Forest System 
     shall--
       (1) consult with the government of the county containing 
     the road regarding the merits and possible consequences of 
     decommissioning the road; and
       (2) solicit possible alternatives to decommissioning the 
     road.
       (b) Period Prior to Decommission.--A Forest Service road 
     described in subsection (a) may not be decommissioned without 
     the advance approval of the Regional Forester.

     SEC. 905. PROHIBITION ON APPLICATION OF EASTSIDE SCREENS 
                   REQUIREMENTS ON NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM LANDS.

       (a) Repeal of Eastside Screens Requirements.--
     Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of 
     Agriculture shall immediately withdraw the Interim Management 
     Direction Establishing Riparian, Ecosystem, and Wildlife 
     Standards for Timber Sales (commonly known as the Eastside 
     Screens requirements), including all preceding or associated 
     versions of these amendments.
       (b) Effect of Repeal.--On and after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture may not 
     apply to National Forest System lands any of the amendments 
     repealed under subsection (a).

     SEC. 906. USE OF SITE-SPECIFIC FOREST PLAN AMENDMENTS FOR 
                   CERTAIN PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES.

       If the Secretary concerned determines that, in order to 
     conduct a project or carry out an activity implementing a 
     forest plan, an amendment to the forest plan is required, the 
     Secretary concerned shall execute such amendment as a 
     nonsignificant plan amendment through the record of decision 
     or decision notice for the project or activity.

     SEC. 907. KNUTSON-VANDENBERG ACT MODIFICATIONS.

       (a) Deposits of Funds From National Forest Timber 
     Purchasers Required.--Section 3(a) of the Act of June 9, 1930 
     (commonly known as the Knutson-Vandenberg Act; 16 U.S.C. 
     576b(a)), is amended by striking ``The Secretary'' and all 
     that follows through ``any purchaser'' and inserting the 
     following: ``The Secretary of Agriculture shall require each 
     purchaser''.
       (b) Conditions on Use of Deposits.--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'' and inserting the 
     following:
       ``(b) Amounts deposited under subsection (a)'';
       (2) by redesignating subsection (c) as subsection (d); and
       (3) by inserting before subsection (d), as so redesignated, 
     the following new subsection (c):
       ``(c)(1) Amounts in the special fund established pursuant 
     to this section--
       ``(A) shall be used exclusively to implement activities 
     authorized by subsection (a); and

[[Page H8348]]

       ``(B) may be used anywhere within the Forest Service Region 
     from which the original deposits were collected.
       ``(2) The Secretary of Agriculture may not deduct overhead 
     costs from the funds collected under subsection (a), except 
     as needed to fund personnel of the responsible Ranger 
     District for the planning and implementation of the 
     activities authorized by subsection (a).''.

     SEC. 908. APPLICATION OF NORTHWEST FOREST PLAN SURVEY AND 
                   MANAGE MITIGATION MEASURE STANDARD AND 
                   GUIDELINES.

       The Northwest Forest Plan Survey and Manage Mitigation 
     Measure Standard and Guidelines shall not apply to any 
     National Forest System lands or public lands.

     SEC. 909. RECONSTRUCTION AND REPAIR INCLUDED IN GOOD NEIGHBOR 
                   AGREEMENTS.

       Section 8206(a)(3) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (16 
     U.S.C. 2113a(a)(3)) is amended--
       (1) in subparagraph (A)--
       (A) in clause (ii), by striking ``and'';
       (B) by redesignating clause (iii) as clause (iv); and
       (C) by inserting after clause (ii) the following new 
     clause:
       ``(iii) construction, reconstruction, repair or restoration 
     of roads as necessary to achieve project objectives; and''; 
     and
       (2) by amending subparagraph (B) to read as follows:
       ``(B) Exclusions.--The term `forest, rangeland, and 
     watershed restoration services' does not include 
     construction, alteration, repair or replacement of public 
     buildings or works.''.

     SEC. 910. LOGGING AND MECHANIZED OPERATIONS.

       The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 201 et 
     seq.) is amended--
       (1) in section 3 (29 U.S.C. 203)--
       (A) in subsection (l), by striking ``well-being.'' and 
     inserting ``well-being, and that employment of employees ages 
     sixteen or seventeen years in a logging or mechanized 
     operation in an occupation that the Secretary of Labor finds 
     and declares to be particularly hazardous for the employment 
     of individuals of such ages shall not be deemed to constitute 
     oppressive child labor if such employee is employed by his 
     parent or by a person standing in the place of his parent in 
     a logging or mechanized operation owned or operated by such 
     parent or person.''; and
       (B) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(z)(1) `Logging'--
       ``(A) means--
       ``(i) the felling, skidding, yarding, loading and 
     processing of timber by equipment other than manually 
     operated chainsaws and cable skidders;
       ``(ii) the felling of timber in mechanized operations;
       ``(iii) the bucking or converting of timber into logs, 
     poles, ties, bolts, pulpwood, chemical wood, excelsior wood, 
     cordwood, fence posts, or similar products;
       ``(iv) the collecting, skidding, yarding, loading, 
     transporting and unloading of such products in connection 
     with logging;
       ``(v) the constructing, repairing and maintaining of roads 
     or camps used in connection with logging; the constructing, 
     repairing, and maintenance of machinery or equipment used in 
     logging; and
       ``(vi) other work performed in connection with logging; and
       ``(B) does not include the manual use of chain saws to fell 
     and process timber and the use of cable skidders to bring the 
     timber to the landing.
       ``(2) `Mechanized operation'--
       ``(A) means the felling, skidding, yarding, loading and 
     processing of timber by equipment other than manually 
     operated chainsaws and cable skidders; and
       ``(B) includes whole tree processors, cut-to-length 
     processors, stroke boom delimbers, wheeled and track feller-
     bunchers, pull thru delimbers, wheeled and track forwarders, 
     chippers, grinders, mechanical debarkers, wheeled and track 
     grapple skidders, yarders, bulldozers, excavators, and log 
     loaders.''; and
       (2) in section 13(c) (29 U.S.C. 211(c)), by adding at the 
     end the following:
       ``(8) The provisions of section 12 relating to child labor 
     shall apply to an employee who is 16 or 17 years old employed 
     in a logging or mechanized operation in an occupation that 
     the Secretary of Labor finds and declares to be particularly 
     hazardous for the employment of children ages 16 or 17, 
     except where such employee is employed by his parent or by a 
     person standing in the place of his parent in a logging or 
     mechanized operation owned or operated by such parent or 
     person.''.

  Subtitle B--Oregon and California Railroad Grant Lands and Coos Bay 
                         Wagon Road Grant Lands

     SEC. 911. AMENDMENTS TO THE ACT OF AUGUST 28, 1937.

       The first section of the Act of August 28, 1937 (50 Stat. 
     874; 43 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.), is amended--
       (1) by striking ``principal of sustained yield'' and 
     inserting ``principle of sustained yield'';
       (2) by striking ``facilties'' and inserting ``facilities''; 
     and
       (3) by striking ``That timber from said lands in an 
     amount'' and inserting ``That timber from said lands in the 
     amount that is the greater of:''.

     SEC. 912. OREGON AND CALIFORNIA RAILROAD GRANT LANDS AND COOS 
                   BAY WAGON ROAD GRANT LANDS PERMANENT RIGHTS OF 
                   ACCESS.

       (a) Creation of Permanent Rights of Access Required.--
     Notwithstanding any other provision of law, on the date of 
     the enactment of this section, reciprocal road right-of-way 
     permits, grants, and agreements issued to a private landowner 
     by the Secretary of the Interior pursuant to subpart 2812 of 
     part 2810 of title 43, Code of Federal Regulations, or its 
     predecessor regulation shall become permanent rights of 
     access that are recordable and that shall run with the land.
       (b) Records Updated.--Not later than 60 days after the date 
     of the enactment of this Act, the reciprocal road right-of-
     way permits, grants, and agreements described in subsection 
     (a) shall be amended to reflect the permanent rights of 
     access required under subsection (a) and recorded by the 
     Secretary of the Interior in each county where the lands are 
     located. No other amendments shall be made to such right-of-
     way permits, grants, and agreements.

     SEC. 913. MANAGEMENT OF BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT LANDS IN 
                   WESTERN OREGON.

       (a) In General.--All of the public land managed by the 
     Bureau of Land Management in the Northwest District, Roseburg 
     District, Coos Bay District, Medford District, and the 
     Klamath Resource Area of the Lakeview District in the State 
     of Oregon shall hereafter be managed pursuant to title I of 
     the of the Act of August 28, 1937 (43 U.S.C. 1181a through 
     1181e). Except as provided in subsection (b), all of the 
     revenue produced from such land shall be deposited in the 
     Treasury of the United States in the Oregon and California 
     land-grant fund and be subject to the provisions of title II 
     of the Act of August 28, 1937 (43 U.S.C. 1181f).
       (b) Certain Lands Excluded.--Subsection (a) does not apply 
     to any revenue that is required to be deposited in the Coos 
     Bay Wagon Road grant fund pursuant to sections 1 through 4 of 
     the Act of May 24, 1939 (43 U.S.C. 1181f et seq.).

                     Subtitle C--Timber Innovation

     SEC. 921. DEFINITIONS.

       In this subtitle:
       (1) Innovative wood product.--The term ``innovative wood 
     product'' means a type of building component or system that 
     uses large panelized wood construction, including mass 
     timber.
       (2) Mass timber.--The term ``mass timber'' includes--
       (A) cross-laminated timber;
       (B) nail laminated timber;
       (C) glue laminated timber;
       (D) laminated strand lumber; and
       (E) laminated veneer lumber.
       (3) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
     of Agriculture, acting through the Research and Development 
     deputy area and the State and Private Forestry deputy area of 
     the Forest Service.
       (4) Tall wood building.--The term ``tall wood building'' 
     means a building designed to be--
       (A) constructed with mass timber; and
       (B) more than 85 feet in height.

     SEC. 922. CLARIFICATION OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM 
                   FOR WOOD BUILDING CONSTRUCTION.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary shall conduct performance-
     driven research and development, education, and technical 
     assistance for the purpose of facilitating the use of 
     innovative wood products in wood building construction in the 
     United States.
       (b) Activities.--In carrying out subsection (a), the 
     Secretary shall--
       (1) after receipt of input and guidance from, and 
     collaboration with, the wood products industry, conservation 
     organizations, and institutions of higher education, conduct 
     research and development, education, and technical assistance 
     at the Forest Products Laboratory or through the State and 
     Private Forestry deputy area that meets measurable 
     performance goals for the achievement of the priorities 
     described in subsection (c); and
       (2) after coordination and collaboration with the wood 
     products industry and conservation organizations, make 
     competitive grants to institutions of higher education to 
     conduct research and development, education, and technical 
     assistance that meets measurable performance goals for the 
     achievement of the priorities described in subsection (c).
       (c) Priorities.--The research and development, education, 
     and technical assistance conducted under subsection (a) shall 
     give priority to--
       (1) ways to improve the commercialization of innovative 
     wood products;
       (2) analyzing the safety of tall wood building materials;
       (3) calculations by the Forest Products Laboratory of the 
     life cycle environmental footprint, from extraction of raw 
     materials through the manufacturing process, of tall wood 
     building construction;
       (4) analyzing methods to reduce the life cycle 
     environmental footprint of tall wood building construction;
       (5) analyzing the potential implications of the use of 
     innovative wood products in building construction on 
     wildlife; and
       (6) one or more other research areas identified by the 
     Secretary, in consultation with conservation organizations, 
     institutions of higher education, and the wood products 
     industry.
       (d) Timeframe.--To the maximum extent practicable, the 
     measurable performance goals for the research and 
     development, education, and technical assistance conducted 
     under subsection (a) shall be achievable within a 5-year 
     timeframe.

          TITLE X--MAJOR DISASTER FOR WILDFIRE ON FEDERAL LAND

     SEC. 1001. WILDFIRE ON FEDERAL LANDS.

       Section 102(2) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief 
     and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122(2)) is amended--
       (1) by striking ``(2)'' and all that follows through 
     ``means'' and inserting the following:
       ``(2) Major disaster.--
       ``(A) Major disaster.--The term `major disaster' means''; 
     and

[[Page H8349]]

       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(B) Major disaster for wildfire on federal lands.--The 
     term `major disaster for wildfire on Federal lands' means any 
     wildfire or wildfires, which in the determination of the 
     President under section 802 warrants assistance under section 
     803 to supplement the efforts and resources of the Department 
     of the Interior or the Department of Agriculture--
       ``(i) on Federal lands; or
       ``(ii) on non-Federal lands pursuant to a fire protection 
     agreement or cooperative agreement.''.

     SEC. 1002. DECLARATION OF A MAJOR DISASTER FOR WILDFIRE ON 
                   FEDERAL LANDS.

       The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency 
     Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5170 et seq.) is amended by adding 
     at the end the following:

       ``TITLE VIII--MAJOR DISASTER FOR WILDFIRE ON FEDERAL LAND

     ``SEC. 801. DEFINITIONS.

       ``As used in this title--
       ``(1) Federal land.--The term `Federal land' means--
       ``(A) any land under the jurisdiction of the Department of 
     the Interior; and
       ``(B) any land under the jurisdiction of the United States 
     Forest Service.
       ``(2) Federal land management agencies.--The term `Federal 
     land management agencies' means--
       ``(A) the Bureau of Land Management;
       ``(B) the National Park Service;
       ``(C) the Bureau of Indian Affairs;
       ``(D) the United States Fish and Wildlife Service; and
       ``(E) the United States Forest Service.
       ``(3) Wildfire suppression operations.--The term `wildfire 
     suppression operations' means the emergency and unpredictable 
     aspects of wildland firefighting, including support, 
     response, emergency stabilization activities, and other 
     emergency management activities of wildland firefighting on 
     Federal lands (or on non-Federal lands pursuant to a fire 
     protection agreement or cooperative agreement) by the Federal 
     land management agencies covered by the wildfire suppression 
     subactivity of the Wildland Fire Management account or the 
     FLAME Wildfire Suppression Reserve Fund account of the 
     Federal land management agencies.

     ``SEC. 802. PROCEDURE FOR DECLARATION OF A MAJOR DISASTER FOR 
                   WILDFIRE ON FEDERAL LANDS.

       ``(a) In General.--The Secretary of the Interior or the 
     Secretary of Agriculture may submit a request to the 
     President consistent with the requirements of this title for 
     a declaration by the President that a major disaster for 
     wildfire on Federal lands exists.
       ``(b) Requirements.--A request for a declaration by the 
     President that a major disaster for wildfire on Federal lands 
     exists shall--
       ``(1) be made in writing by the respective Secretary;
       ``(2) certify that the amount appropriated in the current 
     fiscal year for wildfire suppression operations of the 
     Federal land management agencies under the jurisdiction of 
     the respective Secretary, net of any concurrently enacted 
     rescissions of wildfire suppression funds, increases the 
     total unobligated balance of amounts available for wildfire 
     suppression by an amount equal to or greater than the average 
     total costs incurred by the Federal land management agencies 
     per year for wildfire suppression operations, including the 
     suppression costs in excess of appropriated amounts, over the 
     previous ten fiscal years;
       ``(3) certify that the amount available for wildfire 
     suppression operations of the Federal land management 
     agencies under the jurisdiction of the respective Secretary 
     will be obligated not later than 30 days after such Secretary 
     notifies the President that wildfire suppression funds will 
     be exhausted to fund ongoing and anticipated wildfire 
     suppression operations related to the wildfire on which the 
     request for the declaration of a major disaster for wildfire 
     on Federal lands pursuant to this title is based; and
       ``(4) specify the amount required in the current fiscal 
     year to fund wildfire suppression operations related to the 
     wildfire on which the request for the declaration of a major 
     disaster for wildfire on Federal lands pursuant to this title 
     is based.
       ``(c) Declaration.--Based on the request of the respective 
     Secretary under this title, the President may declare that a 
     major disaster for wildfire on Federal lands exists.

     ``SEC. 803. WILDFIRE ON FEDERAL LANDS ASSISTANCE.

       ``(a) In General.--In a major disaster for wildfire on 
     Federal lands, the President may transfer funds, only from 
     the account established pursuant to subsection (b), to the 
     Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture to 
     conduct wildfire suppression operations on Federal lands (and 
     non-Federal lands pursuant to a fire protection agreement or 
     cooperative agreement).
       ``(b) Wildfire Suppression Operations Account.--The 
     President shall establish a specific account for the 
     assistance available pursuant to a declaration under section 
     802. Such account may only be used to fund assistance 
     pursuant to this title.
       ``(c) Limitation.--
       ``(1) Limitation of transfer.--The assistance available 
     pursuant to a declaration under section 802 is limited to the 
     transfer of the amount requested pursuant to section 
     802(b)(4). The assistance available for transfer shall not 
     exceed the amount contained in the wildfire suppression 
     operations account established pursuant to subsection (b).
       ``(2) Transfer of funds.--Funds under this section shall be 
     transferred from the wildfire suppression operations account 
     to the wildfire suppression subactivity of the Wildland Fire 
     Management Account.
       ``(d) Prohibition of Other Transfers.--Except as provided 
     in this section, no funds may be transferred to or from the 
     account established pursuant to subsection (b) to or from any 
     other fund or account.
       ``(e) Reimbursement for Wildfire Suppression Operations on 
     Non-Federal Land.--If amounts transferred under subsection 
     (c) are used to conduct wildfire suppression operations on 
     non-Federal land, the respective Secretary shall--
       ``(1) secure reimbursement for the cost of such wildfire 
     suppression operations conducted on the non-Federal land; and
       ``(2) transfer the amounts received as reimbursement to the 
     wildfire suppression operations account established pursuant 
     to subsection (b).
       ``(f) Annual Accounting and Reporting Requirements.--Not 
     later than 90 days after the end of each fiscal year for 
     which assistance is received pursuant to this section, the 
     respective Secretary shall submit to the Committees on 
     Agriculture, Appropriations, the Budget, Natural Resources, 
     and Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of 
     Representatives and the Committees on Agriculture, Nutrition, 
     and Forestry, Appropriations, the Budget, Energy and Natural 
     Resources, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and 
     Indian Affairs of the Senate, and make available to the 
     public, a report that includes the following:
       ``(1) The risk-based factors that influenced management 
     decisions regarding wildfire suppression operations of the 
     Federal land management agencies under the jurisdiction of 
     the Secretary concerned.
       ``(2) Specific discussion of a statistically significant 
     sample of large fires, in which each fire is analyzed for 
     cost drivers, effectiveness of risk management techniques, 
     resulting positive or negative impacts of fire on the 
     landscape, impact of investments in preparedness, suggested 
     corrective actions, and such other factors as the respective 
     Secretary considers appropriate.
       ``(3) Total expenditures for wildfire suppression 
     operations of the Federal land management agencies under the 
     jurisdiction of the respective Secretary, broken out by fire 
     sizes, cost, regional location, and such other factors as the 
     such Secretary considers appropriate.
       ``(4) Lessons learned.
       ``(5) Such other matters as the respective Secretary 
     considers appropriate.
       ``(g) Savings Provision.--Nothing in this title shall limit 
     the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, 
     Indian Tribe, or a State from receiving assistance through a 
     declaration made by the President under this Act when the 
     criteria for such declaration have been met.''.

     SEC. 1003. PROHIBITION ON TRANSFERS.

       No funds may be transferred to or from the Federal land 
     management agencies' wildfire suppression operations accounts 
     referred to in section 801(3) of the Robert T. Stafford 
     Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to or from any 
     account or subactivity of the Federal land management 
     agencies, as defined in section 801(2) of such Act, that is 
     not used to cover the cost of wildfire suppression 
     operations.

           TITLE XI--DISASTER RELIEF AND WILDFIRE ADJUSTMENT

     SEC. 1101. INCREASE IN MAXIMUM ADJUSTMENT TO ACCOMMODATE 
                   WILDFIRE FUNDING.

       Section 251(b)(2)(D) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency 
     Deficit Control of 1985 is amended--
       (1) in clause (i), by striking subclause (I) and inserting 
     the following:

       ``(I) the average over the previous 10 years (excluding the 
     highest and lowest years) of the sum of--

       ``(aa) funding provided for disaster relief (as that term 
     is defined on the date immediately before the date of 
     enactment of the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017);
       ``(bb) non-emergency funding provided for wildfire 
     suppression and other wildfire related activities under the 
     `Wildland Fire Management' and `FLAME Wildfire Suppression 
     Reserve Fund' accounts of the Department of Agriculture and 
     the Department of the Interior; and
       ``(cc) 10 percent of the funding for disaster relief 
     designated as an emergency under subparagraph (A)(i); and'';
       (2) in clause (ii), by striking ``the Budget Control Act of 
     2011'' and inserting ``the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 
     2017''; and
       (3) by striking clause (iii) and inserting the following:
       ``(iii) For the purposes of this subparagraph, the term 
     `disaster relief' means--

       ``(I) activities carried out pursuant to a determination 
     under section 102(2) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster 
     Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122(2)); or
       ``(II) amounts made available, pursuant to a declaration 
     under section 802 of such Act that a major disaster for 
     wildfire on Federal lands exists, to the wildfire suppression 
     operations account established under section 803 of such 
     Act.''.

  The Acting CHAIR. No amendment to that amendment in the nature of a 
substitute shall be in order except those printed in House Report 115-
378. Each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in 
the report, by a Member designated in the report, shall be considered 
as read, shall be 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 
division of the question.

[[Page H8350]]

  



                Amendment No. 1 Offered by Mr. Schrader

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 1 
printed in House Report 115-378.
  Mr. SCHRADER. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 13, line 6, insert ``or'' after the semicolon.
       Page 13, strike line 7 (and redesignate the subsequent 
     paragraph accordingly).
       Page 13, line 9, strike ``through (6)'' and insert 
     ``through (5)''.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 595, the gentleman 
from Oregon (Mr. Schrader) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Oregon.
  Mr. SCHRADER. Mr. Chair, I yield myself as much time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Chair, I would like to thank my colleagues, Representatives 
DeFazio and Panetta, for offering this amendment with me today. I think 
it is one of the important changes we can make that will help improve 
the Resilient Federal Forests Act.
  Collaborative forest management activities and categorical exclusions 
are an important tool in forest management and are designed to help the 
Forest Service and BLM speed the ability of those agencies to get into 
areas more quickly to improve forest health.
  I believe the use of categorical exclusion should be reserved for 
reducing hazardous fuel loads, addressing disease and insect 
infestation, protecting water resources or increasing water yield, and 
maintaining or enhancing critical habitat. That makes sense. All these 
activities are very appropriate as designated activities for 
categorical exclusions.
  Listing timber production as a designated activity, I believe, does 
not work in this context. Timber is a byproduct of all those 
activities. Therefore, it is unnecessary to actually include it as a 
specific designated activity.
  Our amendment simply strikes timber production from the list of 
designated activities for categorical exclusion under section 111. It 
is a pretty clear-cut issue, in my book.
  Mr. Chair, I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense 
amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chair, I claim the time in opposition to the 
amendment, although I am not totally opposed to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Without objection, the gentleman is recognized for 
5 minutes.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chair, I appreciate the amendment that has 
been presented by the gentleman from Oregon. I think it is a well-
thought-out amendment.
  I also appreciate the comments he made, as he is trying to get us 
past the rhetoric and the dogma, and to try and come up with a truly 
bipartisan effort to solve the problems that the Forest Service has 
clearly delineated, giving them the tools that they want to try and 
solve these problems in the future.
  I think the gentleman is also correct when he said that if you go 
through the list of those that are going to use categorical exclusion, 
you can't actually do those functions without producing timber. So, at 
worst, the language that was put in here is redundant. We are still 
after the same goal. We are still after the same game. That is why I 
actually will accept the amendment offered by the gentleman from Oregon 
and urge its adoption.
  Mr. Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SCHRADER. Mr. Chair, I would like to thank the chairman and Mr. 
Westerman for the bill and being congenial and good folks to work with 
for a bipartisan piece of legislation we desperately need.
  Mr. Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Schrader).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                 Amendment No. 2 Offered by Mr. Khanna

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 2 
printed in House Report 115-378.
  Mr. KHANNA. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 27, beginning line 19, strike subtitle B.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 595, the gentleman 
from California (Mr. Khanna) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.
  Mr. KHANNA. Mr. Chairman, my amendment strikes section 311 from the 
bill. This section would create a forced arbitration program for 
forestry management. This section of the bill, in my view, usurps 
judicial oversight. While many agencies conduct quasi-judicial 
proceedings, there are still agency actions that are appealable to the 
courts.
  Judicial oversight and separation of powers is a core principle of 
our democracy. The arbitration would be binding, effectively making the 
Secretary of Agriculture the final judge and depriving the courts of 
their oversight role.
  While the bill terms this as discretionary arbitration, the 
discretion ultimately lies only with the Secretary of Agriculture. The 
public has no discretion over whether to submit to binding arbitration 
or not.
  The public's right to challenge an action or inaction in court is an 
important check on the executive branch. Shielding an agency from 
review by independent Federal courts could harm access to justice.
  The Secretary of Agriculture can designate any objection for binding 
arbitration up to ten times per year in each of the nine Forest Service 
regions and each of the 14 State regions.

                              {time}  1630

  This allows the Secretary of Agriculture to effectively dismiss about 
230 cases every year. According to the Department of Justice, in 2016, 
the total amount of civil matters and cases brought against the United 
States with an environmental or land cause of action was only 350. This 
overly broad power would allow the agency to dismiss some of the most 
problematic cases every year.
  The process also likely violates the nondelegation doctrine. That 
doctrine prohibits the exercise of constitutional authority given to 
any branch of government by another branch or nongovernmental private 
party.
  Under the arbitration program set up by this bill, a private party 
objecting to a management proposal and forced into arbitration would be 
required to write their own proposal. The appointed arbitrator could 
then select that private party proposal as the final plan to be carried 
out by the agency. The arbitrator is not permitted to modify the 
proposal, and the decision would be binding.
  I understand the need to streamline the process, but I think the 
forced arbitration really deprives people of their access to the 
courts, and that is why, Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to support 
the amendment.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chair, I claim time in opposition.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chair, I have to strenuously oppose this 
particular amendment because it strikes one of the core provisions of 
this bill.
  From 1989 to 2008, there were 1,125 lawsuits filed against the Forest 
Service, and hundreds have been filed since that time. Half of the 
active management lawsuits of the Federal Forest Service account are 
spent, and 40 percent of all Forest Service lawsuits are brought on 
this specific point.
  In addition to that, the Forest Service, in an effort to try and 
mitigate against that, simply tries to delay the processes, which 
creates a culture of analysis paralysis going through there, and at the 
end they get sued anyway.
  This provision is one of few creative efforts we have had that does 
not impact people's access to justice, but having a binding arbitration 
pilot program allows us to try and give you the merits of a lawsuit and 
move forward quickly. This is creative. This is what they need.
  If we need to end endless litigation, frivolous lawsuits that impede 
the

[[Page H8351]]

work of our land managers and cost taxpayers millions of dollars, this 
is the kind of thing that we need to start doing. The Forest Service 
recognizes they need this. It is about time we recognize they need 
this, too.
  Mr. Chairman, keep this creative approach in the bill.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. KHANNA. Mr. Chairman, I think the point is not that we need to 
streamline decisions, or if we have to streamline courts to get rid of 
frivolous lawsuits, that would be fine, but the problem is the power 
that is being vested in the Secretary of Agriculture where, if the 
Secretary of Agriculture shares a view that is not sympathetic to 
environmental concerns, they can basically dismiss the lawsuits of 
numerous environmental plaintiffs.
  I think this is really about the separation of powers. If there is 
reform needed in the judiciary, those reforms should be in our courts, 
but they shouldn't appropriate the power to the Secretary of 
Agriculture who may have his own or her own views and not give a fair 
hearing to the environmental groups.
  Mr. Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chair, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Arkansas (Mr. Westerman), the author of this bill.
  Mr. WESTERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I think what we have to realize is that 
what is happening now is not working. Forest management plans are not 
being implemented. Region 1, alone, of the Forest Service spent $1.23 
million on the Equal Access to Justice Act, paying plaintiffs to sue 
the Forest Service. That is just since January of 2016.
  This is an attempt for the pilot program to do arbitration modeled 
after baseball arbitration that keeps the ball moving forward. This 
results in some kind of action taking place. It is not the Secretary of 
Agriculture making the decision; it is one of a team of arbitrators who 
are professionals who come together to work for solutions. That is what 
we need in our forests, and that is why we don't need to include this 
amendment in the bill.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chair, once again, I would ask our Members to 
reject this particular amendment. It is a core provision, one of the 
few creative efforts, and only a pilot project to try and find a 
solution. It has received bipartisan support. It has received support 
from a broad coalition of outside groups. Admittedly, some of those who 
actively litigate and raise money and profit by it don't like this 
provision, but most of the other people recognize this is something the 
Forest Service can use on day one. They need this tool.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Khanna).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. KHANNA. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from California 
will be postponed.


               Amendment No. 3 Offered by Mr. O'Halleran

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 3 
printed in House Report 115-378.
  Mr. O'HALLERAN. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 59, beginning line 3, strike subtitle A (and 
     redesignate the subsequent subtitle and sections 
     accordingly).
       Page 66, beginning line 19, strike section 903.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 595, the gentleman 
from Arizona (Mr. O'Halleran) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Arizona.
  Mr. O'HALLERAN. Mr. Chairman, local communities that have the most at 
stake when it comes to the forest in their backyards deserve their 
voices to be heard. As someone who lives in a national forest and has 
worked to review and provide feedback on proposed forest plans, I can 
assure you that these documents that guide the direction of individual 
national forests for years are, in fact, a major Federal action.
  My firsthand experience is why I propose that we strike the language 
of section 801 of the bill before us. Section 801 proposes that forest 
plans not be considered major Federal actions under the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969. If this were to become law, local 
input would be reduced. We should be looking for ways to increase local 
buy-in, not undermine it.
  In addition, section 903 proposes to modify the determination of 
extraordinary circumstances so wilderness protections and the 
protections of the Endangered Species Act do not have to be considered. 
This is a dangerous provision and allows our bedrock environmental laws 
to be ignored.
  My commonsense amendment would simply remove these concerning 
sections that allow bureaucrats to make major decisions without 
considering all the facts. Mr. Chairman, I encourage all my colleagues 
to support my amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chairman, I claim time in opposition to the 
amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chairman, this is another one of the 
amendments that basically guts the whole purpose of this entire bill.
  There is nobody who is cut out of the process. None of the public is 
cut out of the process. What is cut out is redundant, duplicative NEPA 
analysis, all of which can result in litigation. It simply says you do 
the process the first time. You don't have to redo it again and again 
and again and admit the Forest Service to litigation again and again. 
In fact, they admit 71 percent of all their lawsuits mention these 
types of provisions in there.
  As we said before, these provisions were not coming out of thin air. 
They are coming from what the Forest Service tells us they need to do 
their job, the tools they need so they can take the resources they have 
and do it once the first time and get it over with and do it right and 
not have to spend it on frivolous litigation.
  NEPA is not taken away. The analysis is not taken away. The public is 
not taken out of the system. All you are simply doing is saying you 
don't have to do it repetitively, in other words, don't have to do it 
redundantly. This is one to streamline it. This is what they need 
desperately.
  Mr. Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. O'HALLERAN. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the fact that there are 
many items within the bill that do allow for the issues to be 
addressed. But taking this part of the bill and understanding that, 
when our national forest plans are put forward, we are part of it--I 
live in the national forest. I have watched three fires outside my 
front window. I have lived through watching, time and time again, the 
ramifications of not addressing these issues appropriately.
  I was co-chair of the Arizona Forest Health Oversight Committee for 
3\1/2\ years and have been addressing forestry issues for 20 years. Mr. 
Chair, I just simply believe that, when it comes to wilderness areas 
and other areas of major concern, we should not disregard it.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chairman, I will say once again, the tools 
the Forest Service needs to do their job are harmed if these sections 
do not remain in the bill. It is not talking about public input. It is 
talking about redundant, unnecessary public review that goes through 
there that creates unnecessary and redundant litigation. There is a 
NEPA process that needs to go forward. You just don't have to do it 
four and five and six times just because. We have an analysis 
paralysis.
  I remind you once again, we have 50 to 70 million acres that are in a 
desperate, dire situation, ready to explode in catastrophic wildfire. 
The Forest Service can only get to 3 million acres a year, and part of 
it is the problems they have that we are trying to remove with these 
specific provisions. They need these tools. If we don't give them these 
tools, we exacerbate our wildfire problems. We don't need to do that. 
We shouldn't do that.

[[Page H8352]]

  Mr. Chairman, we need to defeat this amendment. It is essential to 
defeat this amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Arizona (Mr. O'Halleran).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. O'HALLERAN. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Arizona will 
be postponed.


                Amendment No. 4 Offered by Mr. Cardenas

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 4 
printed in House Report 115-378.
  Mr. CARDENAS. Mr. Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of subtitle A of title IX, add the following new 
     section:

     SEC. 9__. STUDY ON USE OF UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES TO SUPPORT 
                   WILDLAND FIRE RESPONSE AND MANAGEMENT.

       (a) Study Required.--The Secretary of Agriculture shall 
     conduct a study to evaluate--
       (1) the feasibility, safety, and cost effectiveness of 
     using unmanned aerial vehicles for the purposes of supporting 
     wildland fire response and suppression and forest restoration 
     and management; and
       (2) the effect that increased use of unmanned aerial 
     vehicles for such purposes will have on employment.
       (b) Consultation.--In conducting the study, the Secretary 
     of Agriculture shall consult with the heads of other Federal 
     agencies involved in wildfire suppression and aviation, 
     including the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of 
     Homeland Security, the Secretary of Defense, and the 
     Secretary of Transportation.
       (c) Reporting Requirement.--Not later than two years after 
     the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of 
     Agriculture shall submit to Congress a report containing the 
     results of the study.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 595, the gentleman 
from California (Mr. Cardenas) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.
  Mr. CARDENAS. Mr. Chair, this year, wildfires have devastated the 
American West. It has been particularly tragic in my home State of 
California. Entire neighborhoods are gone, and families have been left 
with nothing.
  While we know that proper forest management requires burning, we need 
to be able to contain wildfires that threaten communities.
  This month, wildfires killed 42 people, burned over 245,000 acres, 
and destroyed an estimated 8,900 structures, most of them people's 
family homes, according to Cal Fire.
  The fires aren't just dangerous themselves, they produce thick smoke, 
toxic ash, and debris that pose long-lasting risks to our health and to 
the environment.
  These wildfires continue to grow in frequency and ferocity. We must 
ensure that we are using all of the available tools to prevent and 
contain these fires. That is why I ask that this amendment, which 
promotes innovation in wildfire management, be adopted.
  The amendment would require the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a 
study evaluating the feasibility, safety, and cost effectiveness of 
using unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise known as drones, for the 
purposes of fighting wildfires. It will also study the use of drones 
for forest restoration and management, which could be effective for 
replanting remote areas of forest.
  The Secretary of Agriculture would have to work with several other 
agencies that also deal with wildfire suppression and aviation. This 
amendment would require consultation with the Department of 
Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure safety 
for our aircraft and the pilots flying in the same airspace.
  It would also assess the impact of using drones on employment in the 
U.S. Innovation will take us into the future.

                              {time}  1645

  But we need to know, eyes wide open, how this affects the employment 
landscape of our communities. And that is why these studies are also 
important.
  The Department is required to report to Congress within 2 years of 
enactment. If implemented, I look forward to seeing the results of this 
study. I believe it will help add another tool to the toolkit in 
protecting American lives, homes, property, businesses, wildlife, and 
forests from devastating fires.
  Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to adopt amendment No. 4, and I 
reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. WESTERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to claim the 
time in opposition to the amendment, although I am not opposed.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman 
from Arkansas?
  There was no objection.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Arkansas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. WESTERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment. As 
the gentleman explained, this amendment does direct the Secretary of 
Agriculture to study the use of unmanned vehicles, or drones, in the 
responsible forest management wildland firefighting and fire 
suppression.
  Unmanned aerial vehicles are an emerging technology that should be 
harnessed to benefit our Nation's forests. As a matter of fact, these 
unmanned vehicles are being used extensively by the private sector to 
look at their forests, to manage them, to equip them with remote-
sensing equipment so that they can cover large areas at a large time 
and gather much more accurate data than you could actually do on the 
ground.
  By ensuring that our land management practices utilize the cutting 
edge of available technology, we can ensure the prolonged health of our 
managed forests, and we can actually use this as a tool to cut down on 
the number of forest fires, and a better way to respond to those fires.
  I hope the gentleman will support the full bill after we add this 
amendment to it so that he can actually see the implementation of his 
amendment in practice.
  Mr. Chairman, again, I support this amendment, and I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. CARDENAS. Mr. Chairman, I like the kind words that my colleagues 
have said about this amendment, and I hope that it goes forward.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. WESTERMAN. Mr. Chairman, again, this amendment is good for the 
bill. I am glad that we can work in a bipartisan way to include it in 
the bill.
  Mr. Chairman, I urge support, and I yield back the balance of my 
time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Cardenas).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                 Amendment No. 5 Offered by Mr. DeFazio

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 5 
printed in House Report 115-378.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 77, beginning line 4, strike subsection (b) and insert 
     the following new subsection:
       (b) Certain Exclusions.--
       (1) Certain lands excluded.--Subsection (a) does not apply 
     to--
       (A) the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area established 
     under section 119 of Public Law 96-199 (43 U.S.C. 1783);
       (B) lands managed under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (16 
     U.S.C. 1271 et seq.);
       (C) lands managed under the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 
     et seq.); and
       (D) lands managed under the National Trails System Act (16 
     U.S.C. 1241 et seq.).
       (2) Certain revenue excluded.--Subsection (a) does not 
     apply to any revenue that is required to be deposited in the 
     Coos Bay Wagon Road grant fund pursuant to sections 1 through 
     4 of the Act of May 24, 1939 (43 U.S.C. 2621-2624.).

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 595, the gentleman 
from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Oregon.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, this is a bipartisan amendment introduced 
by myself, Greg Walden, and Kurt Schrader.
  Section 913 of the bill requires all public lands managed by the BLM 
and

[[Page H8353]]

five western Oregon districts to be managed under the O&C California 
Lands Act of 1937. These are statutorily unique lands. They are all 
contained in the State of Oregon. There are 2.6 million acres in 18 
Oregon western counties.
  The O&C Act directs the BLM to manage those lands for multiple uses, 
including sustainable timber harvest, reforestation, protection of 
watersheds. As Federal lands, counties with O&C acres are unable to 
collect taxes. The Federal Government realized that put a tremendous 
burden on the counties, and the revenues are shared 50 percent with the 
counties and 50 percent with the Federal Government. These are critical 
revenues for my counties, and we have been trying to enhance management 
on those lands to help both with employment and with those revenues.
  Without this provision, the bill would seem to open up wilderness, 
wild and scenic rivers, the national trail system, and other 
statutorily protected areas. It will also protect the Yaquina Head 
Outstanding Natural Area on Oregon's coast.
  So I would ask--I believe that was an oversight in the drafting of 
the bill since similar protections are provided on Forest Service lands 
for statutorily reserved areas, and I would urge Members to support 
this amendment.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. WESTERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to claim the 
time in opposition to the amendment, although, again, I am not opposed 
to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman 
from Arkansas?
  There was no objection.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Arkansas is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. WESTERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment, and 
I appreciate the gentleman from Oregon catching this and pointing it 
out. It has never been the intent of this bill to affect wilderness 
areas, wild and scenic rivers. I believe we do have protections in 
place in the bill, but this reemphasizes that.
  I appreciate the gentleman's willingness to work as we worked through 
the process on this bill. We had some good discussions on ideas, we 
were able to agree on some of those, and some of them we didn't agree 
on. But this is definitely one that we agree on needs to be in there.
  Although H.R. 2936 includes the important sideboards that ensure 
appropriate land management practices are implemented on federally 
protected and sensitive lands, this is just putting some suspenders on 
with the belt.
  This amendment, offered by my colleague from Oregon, builds upon the 
sideboards already included in the bill, and it ensures that special 
landscapes within Oregon's O&C lands are treated similarly to other 
lands that are contemplated in the bill.
  Mr. Chairman, I support this amendment, and I reserve the balance of 
my time.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for his support, and 
I do thank him for the conversation we had about a number of concerns 
that I had with the bill, and this addresses one, and the Schrader 
amendment addressed another.
  There are still other concerns. I am hopeful, we have twice passed 
management bills out of the House, and I did support last Congress' 
version introduced by the gentleman, 1 of 19 Democrats, I believe at 
that time, and I am hopeful that, in discussions with the Senate, we 
move back in the direction of the bill that we passed in the House 2 
years ago.
  However, the Senate totally stiffed us on that legislation, and I 
fear that moving the bill to a number of the provisions in this bill, 
which go further than in the last bill, will make it less likely that 
the Senate will negotiate. But, I mean, who knows what works with the 
Senate. So I wish the gentleman well in those discussions.
  Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for his support, and I yield back 
the balance of my time.
  Mr. WESTERMAN. Mr. Chairman, again, I support this amendment. I, 
again, want to say how much I appreciate the gentleman's work and his 
passion for the forest, not only in his home State of Oregon, but 
across our country.
  I also want to add that, as Americans, we are very passionate about 
our wilderness areas, about our wild and scenic rivers. I have some of 
those in my State. And the last thing we want to do is do anything to 
jeopardize those.
  I believe, overall, the bill is going to be great for our forests, 
but I am glad the gentleman added this amendment. He has still got time 
to change his mind and support the full bill, which will be great for 
Oregon and great for other States in the West.
  Mr. Chairman, I encourage a ``yes'' vote, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio).
  The amendment was agreed to.


                 Amendment No. 6 Offered by Mr. LaMalfa

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 6 
printed in House Report 115-378.
  Mr. LaMALFA. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment made in order by the 
rule.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 80, after line 9, insert the following new subtitle:

              Subtitle D--Wildland Firefighter Recognition

     SEC. 931. DEFINITIONS.

       In this subtitle:
       (1) Director.--The term ``Director'' means the Director of 
     the Office of Personnel Management.
       (2) Employee.--The term ``employee'' has the meaning given 
     the term in section 2105 of title 5, United States Code.
       (3) Federal land management agency.--the term ``Federal 
     land management agency'' means--
       (A) within the Department of the Interior--
       (i) the Bureau of Land Management;
       (ii) the Bureau of Indian Affairs;
       (iii) the National Park Service; and
       (iv) the United States Fish and Wildlife Service; and
       (B) within the Department of Agriculture, the Forest 
     Service.
       (4) Wildland fire.--The term ``wildland fire'' means any 
     non-structure fire that occurs in vegetation or natural 
     fuels, including prescribed fire and wildfire.
       (5) Wildand firefighter.--The term ``wildland firefighter'' 
     means--
       (A) an employee of a Federal land management agency, the 
     duties of whose position are primarily to perform work 
     directly related to the prevention, control, suppression, 
     management of wildland fires, or support of wildland fire 
     activities; and
       (B) an employee of a Federal land management agency who is 
     transferred to a supervisory or administrative position from 
     a position described in subparagraph (A).

     SEC. 2. CLASSIFICATION OF WILDLAND FIREFIGHTERS.

       (a) In General.--
       (1) Development of occupational series required.--Not later 
     than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the 
     Director, in cooperation with the Federal land management 
     agencies, shall carry out a distinct wildland firefighter 
     occupational series that more accurately reflects the variety 
     of duties performed by wildland firefighters.
       (2) Designation.--The official title assigned to any 
     occupational series established under paragraph (1) shall 
     include the designation of ``Wildland Firefighter''.
       (3) Positions described.--Paragraph (1) shall apply with 
     respect to any class or other category of positions that 
     consists primarily or exclusively of forestry technician 
     positions, range technician positions, or any other positions 
     the duties and responsibilities of which include--
       (A) significant prevention, preparedness, control, 
     suppression, or management activities for wildland fires; or
       (B) activities necessary to meet any other emergency 
     incident to which assigned.
       (4) Consultation.--It is the sense of Congress that the 
     Director should consult with employee associations and any 
     other groups that represent wildland firefighters in carrying 
     out this subsection.
       (5) Implementation.--Not later than 2 years after the date 
     of enactment of this Act--
       (A) the Director shall complete the development of the 
     wildland firefighter occupational series required under 
     paragraph (1); and
       (B) the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of 
     Agriculture shall use the wildland firefighter occupational 
     series developed under paragraph (1) in the advertising and 
     hiring of a wildland firefighter.
       (b) Hazardous Duty Differential Not Affected.--Section 
     5545(d)(1) of title 5, United States Code, is amended by 
     striking ``except in such circumstances as the Office may by 
     regulation prescribe; and'' and inserting the following: 
     ``except--
       ``(A) with respect to an employee in an occupational series 
     covering positions for which the primary duties involve the 
     prevention, control, suppression, or management of

[[Page H8354]]

     wildland fires, as determined by the Office; and
       ``(B) in such other circumstances as the Office may by 
     regulation prescribe; and''.
       (c) Current Employees.--Any individual employed as a 
     wildland firefighter on the date on which the occupational 
     series established pursuant to subsection (a) takes effect 
     may elect to--
       (1) remain in the occupational series in which the 
     individual is working; or
       (2) be included in the wildland firefighter occupational 
     series established pursuant to subsection (a).

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 595, the gentleman 
from California (Mr. LaMalfa) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.
  Mr. LaMALFA. Mr. Chairman, believe it or not, according to Federal 
agencies, the wildland firefighter does not exist. That is correct. 
There are men and women around this Nation who work daily to protect 
our communities from the fires that devastate especially the Western 
United States, but they are not allowed to call themselves 
firefighters.
  Instead of ``firefighter,'' the Forest Service, BLM, and other 
agencies use bureaucratic terms like ``forestry technician,'' which 
fails to recognize the dangers they face and the sacrifices they make 
to protect others.
  My amendment, which I am pleased to offer with my colleague, 
Representative Mark DeSaulnier from California, represents a bill we 
have both sponsored, H.R. 3907, as well; which seeks simply to 
designate these brave men and women the title they have earned by 
directing the Office of Personnel Management to create employee classes 
designated as ``wildland firefighters.''
  Mr. Chairman, 15 ``technicians'' have passed away this last year 
fighting wildfires. Several of them are from California. It is 
unconscionable that, while they perished fighting fires, the agencies 
that employ them refuse to call them firefighters. We should take 
action to rectify that failure, and I urge Members to consider our 
bill, H.R. 3907, to do so.
  However, Mr. Chairman, I know that there is additional work to be 
done with the very bureaucracies which refuse to use the term 
``firefighter'' with last-minute concerns and clarifications needed so 
that the firefighters indeed don't lose benefits, and I note that we 
will be back.
  Mr. Chair, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw my amendment from 
further consideration at this time.
  The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman 
from California?
  There was no objection.
  The Acting CHAIR. The amendment is withdrawn.


                 Amendment No. 7 Offered by Mr. Pearce

  The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 7 
printed in House Report 115-378.
  Mr. PEARCE. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
  The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Page 75, after line 5, insert the following new section:

     SEC. 910A. PILOT PROJECT FOR FOREST HEALTH, WATERSHED 
                   IMPROVEMENT, AND HABITAT RESTORATION IN NEW 
                   MEXICO.

       (a) Pilot Project Established.--The Secretary of 
     Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service, 
     shall conduct a pilot project within the Lincoln National 
     Forest, Cibola National Forest, and Gila National Forest in 
     the State of New Mexico to analyze and demonstrate the 
     effectiveness of various tools and techniques to address the 
     following natural resource concerns:
       (1) Thinning for forest health.
       (2) Watershed improvement.
       (3) Habitat restoration.
       (b) Authorized Activities.--The Secretary of Agriculture in 
     carrying out the pilot project established under subsection 
     (a) may conduct applied silvicultural investigations and 
     treatments, including--
       (1) silvicultural investigations conducted for the purposes 
     of information gathering and research relating to the natural 
     resource concerns described in subsection (a); and
       (2) mechanical thinning.
       (c) Objections to Silvicultural Investigation or 
     Treatment.-- The Secretary may not carry out a silvicultural 
     investigation or treatment under this section if a county in 
     which such investigation or treatment would be conducted 
     objects to such investigation or treatment.
       (d) Environmental Assessment Under the National 
     Environmental Policy Act.--Forest management activities 
     carried out by the Secretary of Agriculture under this 
     section are a category of actions hereby designated as being 
     categorically excluded from the preparation of an 
     environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement 
     under section 102 of the National Environmental Policy Act of 
     1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332).
       (e) Consultation Under the Endangered Species Act.--Forest 
     management activities carried out by the Secretary of 
     Agriculture under this section shall be subject to section 
     123, including subsection (b) of such section.
       (f) Public Participation.--The Secretary shall encourage 
     meaningful public participation during preparation of a 
     silvicultural investigation or treatment under this section.
       (g) Arbitration Pilot Program Resolution.--
       (1) In general.--An objection or protest to a forest 
     management activity carried out pursuant to this section 
     shall be addressed through the arbitration program 
     established under section 311.
       (2) Limitation on number of arbitrations.--An arbitration 
     described in paragraph (1) shall not be counted towards the 
     limitation on number of arbitrations under section 311(a)(3).
       (h) Termination.--The authority to carry out this section 
     shall terminate on the date that is 7 years after the date of 
     the enactment of this section.

  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 595, the gentleman 
from New Mexico (Mr. Pearce) and a Member opposed each will control 5 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New Mexico.
  Mr. PEARCE. Mr. Chairman, our national forests are overgrown, and the 
thinning projects which would restore them to health are delayed by 
lengthy and costly regulations and litigations. In New Mexico, it takes 
a look like this: the top picture is a picture of one of our national 
forests, and the bottom picture is a picture from an area that has been 
thinned.
  Now, take, for example, the Lincoln National Forest near Ruidoso, the 
Mescalero Forest is butted right up against it, so we are able to get a 
good comparison.
  Now, typically, the forests in the West look like this: widely spaced 
trees and mostly grass in between, so when the fires came, they were 
grass fires. The tree rings show us that every 8 years a fire occurred, 
and it would keep the small underbrush and the small diameter trees, 
the small, unhealthy ones, it would keep those burned out and our 
forests, again, looked like this.
  But because all of the thinning projects and all of the timber 
projects have been canceled for decades now, our forests, instead, look 
like this. When wildfires happen, they burn catastrophically and burn 
everything in their sight.
  So my amendment today simply allows the Forest Service to move 
forward on balanced thinning programs in large scale. Typically, they 
do all of the paperwork, all of the studies for small acreage, maybe 30 
acres or 50 acres. Since the forests are about a million acres, you 
would never get through and never get the forest restored to its 
health, and that is the problem.
  The Forest Service has been working with me on the language for this 
amendment and submitted almost exact language that we have put here on 
the floor today. They agree with us that they should restore the forest 
to its health, but the environmental groups and the outside litigation 
have stopped the programs completely.
  Now, in New Mexico, this means jobs, but it also means the health of 
our environment, and it means the destruction of endangered species, 
because when the fires burn through, we get the effect on the next 
page; again, this is that same Lincoln National Forest that we were 
looking at just a second ago. This is after the Little Bear fire, which 
burned 255 homes and almost 40,000 acres.
  We almost lost the entire town of Ruidoso. If the fire had just 
capped over the mountain, it would have burned straight down the side. 
The winds were exactly the direction which would have caused that.
  So the Forest Service is agreeing with us that we need to do some 
thinning, and we are not going to be able to do it without legislative 
language, so this amendment is being offered here today.

                              {time}  1700

  We used to have 123 mills working in New Mexico clearing timber, 
processing it. We have got vast national

[[Page H8355]]

forests, and all of those have been shut down. The spotted owl came 
along in 1993, and the findings from the Fish and Wildlife Service was 
that logging was the reason that the spotted owl was going extinct.
  Over 20 years later, Dan Ashe, the head of Fish and Wildlife Service, 
said: Oops, we made a mistake and we burned down the West, and we have 
ruined our forests over a mistake. There was actually another predator 
out there. We still have the problem to go in and clean up these 
forests before they burn and before they look like this.
  Another real problem that exists is when we burn our national 
forests, then the watersheds are going to be choked up with mud, with 
ash, and with everything else.
  This is Bonita Lake there in that same Lincoln National Forest near 
Ruidoso. It provides the drinking water for several major communities 
in the southern part of the State. That lake was about 75 feet deep, 
pristine water, had fish in there. It was a recreational area right in 
the middle of the national forest.
  The Forest Service was alarmed at how much damage was going to occur 
to this lake if they didn't log above it, so they put in a project. 
They were sued and work grounded to a halt. They did not get to thin 
that area above the lake. A fire occurred, this fire that you just saw 
in the previous slide. Now, that 75-feet-deep lake is filled with 50-
feet of mud and ash. It killed all of the fish. It is not suitable for 
drinking. The community does not have the money in order to drain that 
lake and to refill it.
  So that is what we find in the West because of these forest 
management processes. My amendment would simply allow the Forest 
Service to move forward on large-scale projects. They would still have 
to do all of the studies, everything. They would just be expedited.
  Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Arizona is recognized for 5 
minutes.
  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chairman, this amendment doubles down on the bad 
ideas that are in the underlying bill. The 150,000 acre categorical 
exclusion to remove timber from Gila, Lincoln, and Cibola National 
Forests has the potential to do more harm than good, and cuts the 
American public out of the decisionmaking process.
  The Forest Service doesn't need this waiver to harvest trees in New 
Mexico. Last year, the Cibola produced 12,000 metric board feet, and 
Lincoln and Gila each between 5,000 and 6,000 metric board feet. These 
are average production numbers across the region.
  So I am not sure what problem this amendment is trying to address or 
how exempting 150,000-acre projects from the environmental review helps 
the Forest Service meet their mandate of protecting habitat, 
watersheds, and providing recreational opportunities.
  This amendment also exempts the Forest Service from the consultation 
requirements and the Endangered Species Act. Logging projects 
untethered from the bedrock environmental protections could potentially 
impact several species which depend on these forests for habitat, 
including the Mexican spotted owl and the Gila trout.
  Active forest management is not a bad thing if it is done 
responsibly. If NEPA and the Endangered Species Act are followed, we 
get good projects, safe habitat restoration--not clear-cutting and loss 
of critical habitat. Unfortunately, this amendment undermines both of 
these fundamental laws and should be rejected.
  Mr. Chair, I urge a ``no'' vote on the amendment, and I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. PEARCE. Mr. Chairman, the problem we are trying to solve--the 
gentleman asked the question--is that we are burning our forests down. 
We are burning up the habitat. We are burning up the endangered 
species. This was 40,000 acres. We had another fire in the Second 
District of New Mexico that was over 300,000 acres and they burned 
without regard. They burned human life. They burned animal life. They 
burned habitat and they contaminate our waterways.
  Those are the problems that we are trying to solve. The Forest 
Service agrees with us that the restrictions are too great, and they 
have worked with us on the language, understanding that they must go 
through the studies, they must do the work that is required, but we can 
expedite those in order to do larger-scale thinning projects. 
Otherwise, we will never get the forests in the West cleared up.
  Mr. Chairman, this amendment is a good amendment. I urge its passage, 
and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chair, this amendment would not resolve the issue 
that my friend from New Mexico has just brought up. The Statement of 
Administrative Policy from the executive branch raises the concerns of 
H.R. 2936 and of the land management reforms, which are in the 
legislation.
  It says: ``The administration, however, has concerns about the 
legislation's revision to the Stafford Act, which would force 
competition for funding between wildfires on Federal land and other 
disasters already covered by the Stafford Act, including hurricanes.''
  It also says that the legislation doesn't really address the issue of 
fire borrowing, which is central to dealing effectively and proactively 
with wildfires, both prevention, and suppression, as the resource is 
needed.
  Mr. Chairman, I include in the Record the Statement of Administrative 
Policy by the Trump administration. I also include another Statement of 
Administrative Policy dated July 8, 2015, which is on the same 
legislation, but by then-President Obama, which mirrors and reflects 
the same concerns brought up by the executive branch of President 
Trump.

                   Statement of Administration Policy


h.r. 293--resilient federal forests act of 2017--rep. westerman, r-ar, 
                           and 18 cosponsors

       The Administration strongly believes that funding for 
     wildland fire management must be addressed in order to enable 
     the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior to 
     better manage the Nation's forests and other public lands. 
     The Administration's second disaster funding request, 
     submitted to Congress on October 4, 2017, underscored this 
     belief. The request also noted the Administration's belief 
     that land management reforms are critical to solving the 
     problem of ``fire borrowing''--taking funds from forest 
     management programs to cover fire costs that exceed 
     appropriations--in a comprehensive manner, rather than 
     through a funding-only approach.
       The Administration appreciates the intent of H.R. 2936, the 
     Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, and is supportive of 
     land management reforms like those outlined in the 
     legislation. The Administration, however, has concerns about 
     the legislation's revisions to the Stafford Act, which would 
     force competition for funding between wildfires on Federal 
     land and other disasters already covered by the Stafford Act, 
     including hurricanes.
     Wildland Fire Management Funding
       Last year, Federal wildfire suppression spending reached 
     $2.9 billion, an amount that signals clearly the need for 
     Congress to address the rising cost of fire suppression 
     operations. The dependence on ``fire borrowing'' to cover 
     funding shortfalls in times of severe wildfire impedes the 
     missions of our land management agencies, including by taking 
     critical funding from programs that help reduce the risk of 
     catastrophic fire, restore and maintain healthy functioning 
     ecosystems, and yield timber production.
       The Administration, however, has concerns with re-purposing 
     the Stafford Act to address wildfires. The purpose of the 
     Stafford Act is to assist State, local, tribal, and 
     territorial (SLTT) governments that become overwhelmed when 
     responding to and recovering from natural disasters affecting 
     their jurisdictions. H.R. 2936 would modify the Stafford Act 
     by creating a new type of disaster declaration to address the 
     cost of wildfire suppression on Federal land, thereby 
     changing long-standing principles governing Federal support 
     to SLTT governments. As we have seen in this year's historic 
     Atlantic hurricane season, the Federal Emergency Management 
     Agency (FEMA) must continue to be focused on its existing 
     mission, and the Stafford Act's Disaster Relief Fund must 
     remain dedicated solely to that mission.
       Instead of the approach outlined in H.R. 2936, the 
     Administration supports a separate, annual cap adjustment for 
     wildfire suppression operations, which will resolve concerns 
     about the sufficiency of funds for wildfire suppression and 
     avoid unnecessary competition for Stafford Act funds.
     Improving Forest Management
       The Administration appreciates H.R. 2936's recognition that 
     fixing the funding component of fire borrowing will not, on 
     its own, stop the worsening trend of catastrophic wildfires. 
     Meaningful forest management reforms to strengthen our 
     ability to restore the Nation's forests and improve their 
     resilience to destructive wildfires must be a part

[[Page H8356]]

     of any permanent solution. H.R. 2936's provisions that 
     expedite environmental approval for proactive forest 
     management, including hazardous fuel reduction and post-fire 
     timber salvage and reforestation actions, are important steps 
     forward. The Administration supports and will continue to 
     work with Congress on the details of the forest management 
     reform proposals.
       Although the Administration has concerns with H.R. 2936's 
     modifications to the Stafford Act, the Administration will 
     continue working with Congress to enact a sustainable 
     solution to ``fire borrowing'' that does not adversely affect 
     FEMA's critical disaster relief funding and that recognizes 
     the need for a comprehensive solution to the problem of 
     wildfires.
                                  ____


                   Statement of Administration Policy


h.r. 2647--resilient federal forests act of 2015--rep. westerman, r-ar, 
                           and 13 cosponsors

       The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 2647. The most 
     important step Congress can take to increase the pace and 
     scale of forest restoration and management of the national 
     forests and Department of the Interior (DOI) lands is to fix 
     fire suppression funding and provide additional capacity for 
     the Forest Service and DOI to manage the Nation's forests and 
     other public lands. H.R. 2647 falls short of fixing the fire 
     budget problem and contains other provisions that will 
     undermine collaborative forest restoration, environmental 
     safeguards, and public participation across the National 
     Forest System and public lands.
     Wildland Fire Management Funding
       The Administration appreciates that there is bipartisan 
     agreement that wildland fire management funding needs a 
     legislative fix. The reasons are clear: in fiscal year (FY) 
     1995, the Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture 
     (USDA) spent 16 percent of its budget on firefighting. Today 
     the agency spends more than half of its budget on fire 
     management activities. This fundamentally impedes its 
     missions, including taking critical funding from programs 
     that help reduce the risk of catastrophic fire, maintain 
     healthy functioning ecosystems, and yield timber production.
       The wildland fire funding fix in the President's FY 2016 
     Budget provides the necessary resources for the Forest 
     Service as well as DOI to address wildland fire suppression 
     and rehabilitation needs without resorting to detrimental 
     transfers from other critical forest landscape resilience 
     priorities. Under this fix, which includes a discretionary 
     budget cap adjustment, the Forest Service and DOI could tap 
     disaster funds once they spend 70 percent of their 10-year 
     average of suppression spending, which is the amount of 
     suppression funding requested within the discretionary budget 
     caps. Providing this certainty would preserve critical 
     resources for hazardous fuel reduction and other essential 
     landscape restoration projects, allowing for more acres to be 
     treated, and thereby reducing the risk of fire, and the 
     degree of fire destruction.
       The Administration's proposal would immediately increase 
     the Forest Service's capacity to plan and execute restoration 
     projects--including the FY 2016 Budget projection for timber 
     volume sold from 2.9 billion board feet in FY 2014 to 3.2 
     billion board feet.
       In contrast, the requirement in H.R. 2647 to fully fund the 
     ten-year average for wildland fire suppression would mean 
     that less funding is available each year in the agencies' 
     budgets for restoration and risk reduction programs as it is 
     diverted to the ever-increasing ten-year average.
       Additionally, the bill repurposes the Stafford Act. The 
     purpose of the Stafford Act is to provide Federal assistance 
     to State, local, and tribal governments to alleviate disaster 
     suffering and facilitate recovery. This bill would instead 
     establish a sub-account within the Department of Homeland 
     Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster 
     Relief Fund (DRF) to provide funding for USDA and DOI to 
     perform wildland fire suppression operations on Federal land 
     when suppression funding is exhausted and the President has 
     issued a disaster declaration for such fires. A proposed sub-
     account under the DRF should not be used to redirect DRF 
     resources in support of non-Stafford responsibilities or to 
     circumvent existing major disaster declarations processes.
     Undermining Fundamental Environmental Safeguards
       The Administration takes seriously the management of 
     Federal lands consistent with the principles of multiple-use 
     and sustained-yield that are fundamental to the National 
     Forest Management Act and the Federal Land Management and 
     Policy Act and in accordance with long-standing environmental 
     laws including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 
     the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, among 
     others. Application of these environmental laws ensures that 
     management activities recognize the economic benefits of 
     Federal lands and the wide range of goods and services that 
     these lands produce.
       At the President's direction, Federal agencies, like the 
     Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, are working 
     diligently to promote efficiencies in the permitting and land 
     management process. For example, the Forest Service has 
     established additional categorical exclusions for restoration 
     work, has expanded the use of focused environmental 
     assessments, is using adaptive management to allow decisions 
     to last longer, and is better training employees to take 
     advantage of new efficiencies. The Forest Service is also 
     developing new approaches in the wake of catastrophic fires, 
     such as the response to the Rim Fire, which burned 257,000 
     acres in the summer of 2013, in which the Stanislaus National 
     Forest finalized its NEPA work for restoration and salvage in 
     one year. The Forest Service is also developing projects 
     across larger areas, thereby utilizing efficiencies and 
     providing a longer term and more certain timber supply for 
     local mills. For example, the Black Hills National Forest is 
     implementing a landscape scale approach across 200,000 acres 
     for treating current and future pine beetle outbreaks.
       H.R. 2647 includes several provisions that will undermine 
     collaborative, landscape-scale forest restoration by 
     undermining public trust in forest management projects and by 
     limiting public participation in decision-making. The 
     Administration has substantial concerns with the design and 
     scale of the categorical exclusions, provisions related to 
     post-fire salvage and restoration (including unrealistic 
     timelines for environmental assessments), and unrealistic 
     targets for reforestation given current budgetary resources.
       The Administration has serious concerns with provisions in 
     the bill related to the Resources Advisory Committees (RACs). 
     The Administration opposes provisions that limit the 
     discretion of RACs by requiring 50 percent of Secure Rural 
     Schools Act Title II funding be spent on timber management 
     projects. H.R. 2647 also assumes RACs can fulfill the role of 
     local forest collaboratives in designing forest restoration 
     projects, though the RACs were not specially set up to do 
     this and in many cases may not have the breadth of 
     stakeholder interest and expertise to do so effectively. 
     Additionally, the Administration opposes restrictions in the 
     bill on the membership of RACs.
       Furthermore, the Administration opposes provisions in the 
     bill that require litigants to post a bond when challenging 
     forest restoration projects. As the Forest Service has 
     demonstrated, the best way to address concerns about 
     litigation is to develop restoration projects in partnership 
     with broad stakeholder interests through a transparent 
     process informed by the best available science. Lastly, the 
     bill should include stronger protections for ecologically 
     sensitive areas, tribal sacred sites, and other important 
     lands.
       For the reasons set forth above, the Administration 
     strongly opposes H.R. 2647. The Administration looks forward 
     to continued engagement with Congress to address forest 
     management issues, which must begin by providing the Forest 
     Service and DOI with a comprehensive fix to the fire budget 
     problem.

  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Rothfus). The question is on the amendment 
offered by the gentleman from New Mexico (Mr. Pearce).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Mexico 
will be postponed.
  Mr. WESTERMAN. 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. 
Williams) having assumed the chair, Mr. Rothfus, Acting Chair 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. 2936) to 
expedite under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and 
improve forest management activities on National Forest System lands, 
on public lands under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land 
Management, and on Tribal lands to return resilience to overgrown, 
fire-prone forested lands, and for other purposes, had come to no 
resolution thereon.

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