Text: H.R.5086 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (07/10/2002)


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[Congressional Bills 107th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 5086 Introduced in House (IH)]







107th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 5086

 To establish Institutes to conduct research on the prevention of, and 
 restoration from, wildfires in forest and woodland ecosystems of the 
                             interior West.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             July 10, 2002

  Mr. Hayworth (for himself, Mr. Udall of Colorado, Mr. McInnis, Mr. 
 Stump, Mr. Schaffer, Mr. Kolbe, Mr. Tancredo, and Mrs. Wilson of New 
   Mexico) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
      Committee on Resources, and in addition to the Committee on 
Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, 
 in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the 
                jurisdiction of the committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To establish Institutes to conduct research on the prevention of, and 
 restoration from, wildfires in forest and woodland ecosystems of the 
                             interior West.

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

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Wildfire Prevention Act of 2002''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds that--
            (1) there is an increasing threat of wildfire to millions 
        of acres of forest land and rangeland throughout the United 
        States;
            (2) forest land and rangeland are degraded as a direct 
        consequence of land management practices (including practices 
        to control and prevent wildfires and the failure to harvest 
        subdominant trees from overstocked stands) that disrupt the 
        occurrence of frequent low-intensity fires that have 
        periodically removed flammable undergrowth;
            (3) at least 39,000,000 acres of land of the National 
        Forest System in the interior West are at high risk of 
        wildfire;
            (4) an average of 95 percent of the expenditures by the 
        Forest Service for wildfire suppression during fiscal years 
        1990 through 1994 were made to suppress wildfires in the 
        interior West;
            (5) the number, size, and severity of wildfires in the 
        interior West are increasing;
            (6) of the timberland in National Forests in the States of 
        Arizona and New Mexico, 59 percent of such land in Arizona, and 
        56 percent of such land in New Mexico, has an average diameter 
        of 9 to 12 inches diameter at breast height;
            (7) the population of the interior West grew twice as fast 
        as the national average during the 1990s;
            (8) efforts to prioritize forests and communities for 
        wildfire risk reduction have been inconsistent and insufficient 
        and have resulted in funding to areas that are not prone to 
        severe wildfires;
            (9) catastrophic wildfires--
                    (A) endanger homes and communities;
                    (B) damage and destroy watersheds and soils; and
                    (C) pose a serious threat to the habitat of 
                threatened and endangered species;
            (10) a 1994 assessment of forest health in the interior 
        West estimated that only a 15- to 30-year window of opportunity 
        exists for effective management intervention before damage from 
        uncontrollable wildfire becomes widespread, with 8 years having 
        already elapsed since the assessment;
            (11) following a catastrophic wildfire, certain forests in 
        the interior West do not return to their former grandeur;
            (12) healthy forest and woodland ecosystems--
                    (A) reduce the risk of wildfire to forests and 
                communities;
                    (B) improve wildlife habitat and biodiversity;
                    (C) increase tree, grass, forb, and shrub 
                productivity;
                    (D) enhance watershed values;
                    (E) improve the environment; and
                    (F) provide a basis in some areas for economically 
                and environmentally sustainable uses;
            (13) sustaining the long-term ecological and economic 
        health of interior West forests and woodland, and their 
        dependent human communities, requires preventing severe 
        wildfires before the wildfires occur and permitting natural, 
        low-intensity ground fires;
            (14) more natural fire regimes cannot be accomplished 
        without the reduction of excess fuels and thinning of 
        subdorminant trees (which fuels and trees may be of commercial 
        value);
            (15) ecologically-based forest and woodland ecosystem 
        restoration on a landscape scale will--
                    (A) improve long-term community protection;
                    (B) minimize the need for wildfire suppression;
                    (C) improve resource values;
                    (D) reduce rehabilitation costs;
                    (E) reduce loss of critical habitat; and
                    (F) protect forests for future generations;
            (16) although the National Fire Plan, and the report 
        entitled ``Protecting People and Sustaining Resources in Fire-
        Adapted Ecosystems--A Cohesive Strategy'' (65 Fed. Reg. 67480), 
        advocate a shift in wildfire policy from suppression to 
        prevention (including restoration and hazardous fuels 
        reduction), Federal land managers are not dedicating sufficient 
        attention and financial resources to restoration activities 
        that simultaneously restore forest health and reduce the risk 
        of severe wildfire;
            (17) although landscape scale restoration is needed to 
        effectively reverse degradation, scientific understanding of 
        landscape scale treatments is limited;
            (18) the Federal wildfire research program is funded at 
        approximately \1/3\ of the amount that is required to address 
        emerging wildfire problems, resulting in the lack of a cohesive 
        strategy to address the threat of catastrophic wildfires; and
            (19) rigorous, understandable, and applied scientific 
        information is needed for--
                    (A) the design, implementation, and adaptation of 
                landscape scale restoration treatments and improvement 
                of wildfire management technology;
                    (B) the environmental review process; and
                    (C) affected entities that collaborate in the 
                development and implementation of wildfire treatment.

SEC. 3. PURPOSES.

    The purposes of this Act are--
            (1) to enhance the capacity to develop, transfer, apply, 
        and monitor practical science-based forest restoration 
        treatments that will reduce the risk of severe wildfires, and 
        improve forest and woodland health, in the interior West;
            (2) to develop the practical scientific knowledge required 
        to implement forest and woodland restoration on a landscape 
        scale;
            (3) to develop the interdisciplinary knowledge required to 
        understand the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of 
        wildfire control on ecosystems and landscapes;
            (4) to require Federal agencies--
                    (A) to use ecological restoration treatments to 
                reverse declining forest health and reduce the risk of 
                severe wildfires across the forest landscape;
                    (B) to ensure that sufficient funds are dedicated 
                to wildfire prevention activities, including 
                restoration treatments; and
                    (C) to monitor and use wildfire treatments based on 
                the use of adaptive ecosystem management;
            (5) to develop, transfer, and assist land managers in 
        treating acres with restoration-based treatments and use new 
        management technologies (including the transfer of 
        understandable information, assistance with environmental 
        review, and field and classroom training and collaboration) to 
        accomplish the goals identified in--
                    (A) the National Fire Plan;
                    (B) the report entitled ``Protecting People and 
                Sustaining Resources in Fire-Adapted Ecosystems--A 
                Cohesive Strategy'' (65 Fed. Reg. 67480); and
                    (C) the report entitled ``10-Year Comprehensive 
                Strategy: A Collaborative Approach for Reducing 
                Wildland Fire Risks to Communities and the 
                Environment'' of the Western Governors' Association; 
                and
            (6) to provide technical assistance to collaborative 
        efforts by affected entities to develop, implement, and monitor 
        adaptive ecosystem management restoration treatments that are 
        ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially 
        responsible.

SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Adaptive ecosystem management.--The term ``adaptive 
        ecosystem management'' means a natural resource management 
        process under which planning, implementation, monitoring, 
        research, evaluation, and incorporation of new knowledge are 
        combined into a management approach that is--
                    (A) based on scientific findings and the needs of 
                society; and
                    (B) used to modify future management methods and 
                policy.
            (2) Affected entities.--The term ``affected entities'' 
        includes--
                    (A) land managers;
                    (B) stakeholders;
                    (C) concerned citizens; and
                    (D) the States of the interior West, including 
                political subdivisions of the States.
            (3) Institute.--The term ``Institute'' means an Institute 
        established under section 5(a).
            (4) Interior west.--The term ``interior West'' means the 
        States of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and 
        Utah.
            (5) Land manager.--
                    (A) In general.--The term ``land manager'' means a 
                person or entity that practices or guides natural 
                resource management.
                    (B) Inclusions.--The term ``land manager'' includes 
                a Federal, State, local, or tribal land management 
                agency.
            (6) Restoration.--The term ``restoration'' means a process 
        undertaken to return an ecosystem or habitat toward--
                    (A) the original condition of the ecosystem or 
                habitat; or
                    (B) a condition that supports a related species, 
                natural function, or ecological process (including a 
                low intensity fire).
            (7) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service.
            (8) Secretaries.--The term ``Secretaries'' means--
                    (A) the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through 
                the Chief of the Forest Service; and
                    (B) the Secretary of the Interior.
            (9) Stakeholder.--The term ``stakeholder'' means any person 
        interested in or affected by management of forest or woodland 
        ecosystems.
            (10) States.--The term ``States'' means--
                    (A) the State of Arizona;
                    (B) the State of New Mexico; and
                    (C) the State of Colorado.

SEC. 5. ESTABLISHMENT OF INSTITUTES.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary 
of the Interior, shall--
            (1) not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of 
        this Act, establish 3 Institutes to promote the use of adaptive 
        ecosystem management to reduce the risk of wildfires, and 
        improve the health of forest and woodland ecosystems, in the 
        interior West; and
            (2) provide assistance to the Institutes to promote the use 
        of adaptive ecosystem management in accordance with paragraph 
        (1).
    (b) Location.--
            (1) Existing institutes.--The Secretary may designate an 
        institute in existence on the date of enactment of this Act to 
        serve as an Institute established under this Act.
            (2) States.--Of the Institutes established under this Act, 
        the Secretary shall establish 1 Institute in each of the States 
        of Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.
    (c) Duties.--Each Institute shall--
            (1) plan, conduct, or promote research on the use of 
        adaptive ecosystem management to reduce the risk of wildfires, 
        and improve the health of forest and woodland ecosystems, in 
        the interior West, including--
                    (A) research that assists in providing information 
                on the use of adaptive ecosystem management practices 
                to affected entities; and
                    (B) research that will be useful in the development 
                and implementation of practical, science-based, 
                ecological restoration treatments for forest and 
                woodland ecosystems affected by wildfires; and
            (2) provide the results of research described in paragraph 
        (1) to affected entities.
    (d) Cooperation.--To increase and accelerate efforts to restore 
forest ecosystem health and abate unnatural and unwanted wildfires in 
the interior West, each Institute shall cooperate with--
            (1) researchers at colleges and universities in the States 
        that have a demonstrated capability to conduct research 
        described in subsection (c); and
            (2) other organizations and entities in the interior West 
        (such as the Western Governors' Association).
    (e) Annual Work Plans.--As a condition of the receipt of funds made 
available under this Act, for each fiscal year, each Institute shall 
submit to the Secretary, for review by the Secretary, in consultation 
with the Secretary of the Interior, an annual work plan that includes 
assurances, satisfactory to the Secretaries, that the proposed work of 
the Institute will serve the informational needs of affected entities.

SEC. 6. COOPERATION BETWEEN INSTITUTES AND FEDERAL AGENCIES.

    In carrying out this Act, the Secretary, in consultation with the 
Secretary of the Interior--
            (1) shall ensure that adequate financial and technical 
        assistance is provided to the Institutes to enable the 
        Institutes to carry out the purposes of the Institutes under 
        section 5, including prevention activities and ecological 
        restoration for wildfires and affected ecosystems;
            (2) shall use information and expertise provided by the 
        Institutes;
            (3) shall encourage Federal agencies to use, on a 
        cooperative basis, information and expertise provided by the 
        Institutes;
            (4) shall encourage cooperation and coordination between 
        Federal programs relating to--
                    (A) ecological restoration;
                    (B) wildfire risk reduction; and
                    (C) wildfire management technologies;
            (5) notwithstanding chapter 63 of title 31, United States 
        Code, may--
                    (A) enter into contracts, cooperative agreements, 
                interagency personal agreements to carry out this Act; 
                and
                    (B) carry out other transactions under this Act;
            (6) may accept funds from other Federal agencies to 
        supplement or fully fund grants made, and contracts entered 
        into, by the Secretaries;
            (7) may support a program of internships for qualified 
        individuals at the undergraduate and graduate levels to carry 
        out the educational and training objectives of this Act;
            (8) shall encourage professional education and public 
        information activities relating to the purposes of this Act; 
        and
            (9) may promulgate such regulations as the Secretaries 
        determine are necessary to carry out this Act.

SEC. 7. MONITORING AND EVALUATION.

    (a) In General.--Not later than 5 years after the date of enactment 
of this Act, and every 5 years thereafter, the Secretary, in 
consultation with the Secretary of Interior, shall complete and submit 
to the appropriate committees of Congress a detailed evaluation of the 
programs and activities of each Institute--
            (1) to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that the 
        research, communication tools, and information transfer 
        activities of each Institute meet the needs of affected 
        entities; and
            (2) to determine whether continued provision of Federal 
        assistance to each Institute is warranted.
    (b) Termination of Assistance.--If, as a result of an evaluation 
under subsection (a), the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary 
of the Interior, determines that an Institute does not qualify for 
further Federal assistance under this Act, the Institute shall receive 
no further Federal assistance under this Act until such time as the 
qualifications of the Institute are reestablished to the satisfaction 
of the Secretaries.

SEC. 8. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act 
$15,000,000 for each fiscal year.
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