Text: H.R.4398 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (12/16/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 4398


To address public safety risks in western States by facilitating insect and disease infestation treatment of National Forest System land and certain adjacent land, to make permanent the good-neighbor authority for Colorado and stewardship contracting authorities available to the Forest Service, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

December 16, 2009

Mr. Salazar (for himself, Ms. DeGette, Ms. Markey of Colorado, Mr. Polis of Colorado, Mr. Perlmutter, Mr. Lamborn, Mr. Coffman of Colorado, Mr. Minnick, Mr. Luján, Mrs. Kirkpatrick of Arizona, and Ms. Berkley) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, and in addition to the Committee on Natural Resources, 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 address public safety risks in western States by facilitating insect and disease infestation treatment of National Forest System land and certain adjacent land, to make permanent the good-neighbor authority for Colorado and stewardship contracting authorities available to the Forest Service, and for other purposes.

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 “National Forest Insect and Disease Emergency Act of 2009”.

(b) Table of contents.—The table of contents for this Act is as follows:


Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Purposes.

Sec. 3. Definitions.

Sec. 4. Designation of insect and disease emergency areas.

Sec. 5. Response to emergency designation.

Sec. 6. Good neighbor relationship with the State of Colorado.

Sec. 7. Stewardship contracting.

Sec. 8. Protection of private property rights.

SEC. 2. Purposes.

(a) Purposes.—The purposes of this Act are—

(1) to ensure that adequate emphasis is placed on the mitigation of hazards posed by large-scale infestations of bark beetles and other insects through the establishment of insect and disease emergency areas;

(2) to ensure that increased resources are available within each designated insect and disease emergency area—

(A) to mitigate hazards associated with falling trees and increased fire hazards; and

(B) to restore National Forest System land within the designated insect and disease emergency area; and

(3) to make permanent good-neighbor authority for the State of Colorado and stewardship contracting authorities available to the Secretary of Agriculture.

SEC. 3. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) AFFECTED STATE.—The term “affected State” means the States of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

(2) INSECT AND DISEASE EMERGENCY AREA.—The term “insect and disease emergency area” means an area of National Forest System land (other than land excluded by section 4(d)) that—

(A) is identified as an insect and disease emergency area on the map entitled “Insect Emergency Areas” and dated [___]; or

(B) is designated as an insect and disease emergency area by the Secretary in the manner provided in section 4(b).

(3) INSECT AND DISEASE INFESTATION EMERGENCY.—The term “insect and disease infestation emergency” means an insect or disease infestation that the Secretary determines has resulted in—

(A) a current or future increased risk of catastrophic wildland fire; or

(B) an increased threat posed by hazardous trees to utility corridors, communication sites, or other infrastructure.

(4) NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM.—The term “National Forest System” has the meaning given the term in section 11(a) of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1609(a)).

(5) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Agriculture.

SEC. 4. Designation of insect and disease emergency areas.

(a) Designation by map.—

(1) DESIGNATION.—There is designated as an insect and disease emergency area each area of National Forest System land identified as such an area on the map entitled “Insect Emergency Areas” and dated ___.

(2) MAP; LEGAL DESCRIPTIONS.—As soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall file the map referred to in paragraph (1) and a legal description for each insect and disease emergency area designated by such paragraph with—

(A) the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate; and

(B) the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives.

(3) FORCE OF LAW.—The map and legal descriptions filed under paragraph (2) shall have the same force and effect as if included in this Act, except that the Secretary may correct typographical errors in the map and the legal descriptions.

(4) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY.—The map and legal descriptions filed under paragraph (2) shall be on file and available for public inspection in the appropriate offices of the Forest Service.

(b) Designation by secretary.—

(1) DESIGNATION.—The Secretary may designate an area of National Forest System land as an additional insect and disease emergency area if the National Forest System land—

(A) is located in an affected State;

(B) is subject to an insect and disease infestation emergency, as determined by the Secretary.

(2) INITIATION.—The designation of an insect and disease emergency area under this subsection may be made by the Secretary—

(A) on the initiative of the Secretary; or

(B) in response to a request by the Governor of an affected State.

(3) DEADLINE.—If the Governor of an affected State requests the Secretary to designate National Forest System land in the State as an additional insect and disease emergency area, the Secretary shall accept or deny the request before the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date on which the Secretary receives the request. If the Secretary does not accept or deny the request before the end of such period, the request shall be deemed to be denied. If the request is denied, the Secretary shall submit to the Governor who submitted the request and the congressional committees specified in subsection (a)(2) an explanation of the reasons for the denial.

(4) LIMITATION ON DELEGATION.—The Secretary may delegate the authority to make a designation under this subsection only to the Regional Forester responsible for the National Forest System land that would be covered by the designation.

(5) PROCEDURE.—If the Secretary designates an additional insect and disease emergency area under this subsection, the Secretary shall—

(A) publish a notice of the designation of the insect and disease emergency area (including a map of the insect and disease emergency area) in the Federal Register; and

(B) notify the Governor of the affected State in which the land is located and the congressional committees specified in subsection (a)(2).

(c) Relation to other laws.—

(1) NEPA.—The designation of an insect and disease emergency area under this section does not constitute a major Federal action under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). Subsequent major Federal actions taken as a result of the designation are subject to such Act.

(2) FOREST SERVICE DECISIONMAKING.—The designation of an insect and disease emergency area under this section shall not be subject to—

(A) section 322 of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 1993 (Public Law 102–381; 16 U.S.C. 1612 note); or

(B) any related law or regulation.

(d) Certain lands excluded.—An insect and disease emergency area may not include—

(1) land designated as wilderness;

(2) land recommended for wilderness designation in a forest land and resource management plan; and

(3) land on which the removal of vegetation is prohibited or restricted by Act of Congress or Presidential proclamation (including the applicable implementation plan).

(e) Duration of designation.—

(1) DESIGNATION BY MAP.—An insect and disease emergency area designated on the map referred to in subsection (a)(1) shall continue as an insect and disease emergency area until—

(A) the end of the 10-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act; or

(B) such earlier date as may be designated by the Secretary if the Secretary determines that the area of National Forest System land is no longer subject to an insect and disease infestation emergency.

(2) DESIGNATION BY SECRETARY.—An insect and disease emergency area designated by the Secretary under subsection (b) shall continue as an insect and disease emergency area until—

(A) the end of the 10-year period beginning on the date of the designation; or

(B) such earlier date as may be designated by the Secretary if the Secretary determines that the area of National Forest System land is no longer subject to an insect and disease infestation emergency.

(3) REDESIGNATION.—The expiration of the 10-year period specified in paragraph (1)(A) or (2)(A) does not prohibit the Secretary from redesignating an area of National Forest System land as an insect and disease emergency area under subsection (b) if the Secretary determines that the area of National Forest System land continues to be subject to an insect and disease infestation emergency.

SEC. 5. Response to emergency designation.

(a) Priority treatments.—In carrying out the management of an insect and disease emergency area, the Secretary shall give priority consideration—

(1) to the removal of hazardous fuels and hazardous trees posing a risk to—

(A) human communities;

(B) utility corridors;

(C) communication sites;

(D) roads;

(E) recreation sites;

(F) water structures; and

(G) other infrastructure;

(2) to the restoration of the health of land surrounding any of the areas or sites specified in paragraph (1); and

(3) to the provision of assistance to State and local governments, Indian tribes, and private landowners for the removal of hazardous fuels and hazardous trees on, and the restoration of the health of, each parcel of land located in the insect and disease emergency area—

(A) that is under the jurisdiction of the State or local government or Indian tribe; or

(B) the title of which is held by a private landowner.

(b) Biomass use.—In giving priority to initiatives described in subsection (a), the Secretary shall give priority consideration to the making of payments under section 9011(d) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (7 U.S.C. 8111(d)), as amended by section 9001(a) of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–246; 122 Stat. 2064), to an individual or entity described in paragraph (1)(B) of such section that collects or harvests renewable biomass from a parcel of National Forest System land located in an insect and disease emergency area.

(c) Emergency forest restoration.—In implementing the emergency forest restoration program under section 407 of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2206), the Secretary may make payments to an owner of a parcel of nonindustrial private forest land that is located in an insect and disease emergency area to carry out emergency measures in response to an insect and disease infestation emergency under this Act.

(d) Treatment as renewable biomass.—Any biomass removed from a parcel of land located in an insect and disease emergency area shall be considered to be renewable biomass for purposes of the renewable fuel standard under section 211(o) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7545(o)).

(e) Healthy forest restoration.—

(1) AUTHORITY OF SECRETARY.—The Secretary may apply each requirement described in sections 104 and 105 of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6514, 6515) to projects that are carried out to remove hazardous fuels and hazardous trees on, and to restore the health of, National Forest System land that is located in an insect and disease emergency area.

(2) JUDICIAL REVIEW.—Section 106 of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6516) shall apply to each project described in paragraph (1).

SEC. 6. Good neighbor relationship with the State of Colorado.

(a) State forest services.—

(1) AUTHORITY OF SECRETARY.—The Secretary may offer to enter into any contract (including a sole source contract) or other agreement (including an agreement for the mutual benefit of the Secretary and each other party to the contract or agreement), as appropriate, with the State of Colorado (in this section referred to as the “State”) to perform watershed restoration and protection services on National Forest System land located in the State if the State is carrying out similar and complementary watershed restoration and protection services on a parcel of State or private land that is located adjacent to the National Forest System land.

(2) AUTHORIZED SERVICES.—Watershed restoration and protection services described in paragraph (1) include—

(A) the treatment of insect-infested trees;

(B) the reduction of hazardous fuels; and

(C) any other activity that is carried out to restore or improve watersheds or fish and wildlife habitat across ownership boundaries.

(b) Administrative provisions.—

(1) NATIONAL FOREST MANAGEMENT ACT OF 1976.—Subsections (d) and (g) of section 14 of the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 472a) shall not apply to services performed under a contract or other agreement under subsection (a)(1).

(2) ASSUMPTION OF LIABILITY.—In accordance with each applicable law (including regulations), in preparing and carrying out a contract entered into under subsection (a)(1), the State that is a party to the contract shall be liable for each action and omission of the employees of the State.

(3) SUBCONTRACTS.—A State, in accordance with the applicable contract procedures of the State, may enter into subcontracts to provide restoration services authorized under a contract or other agreement entered into under subsection (a)(1).

(4) DISPUTE RESOLUTION.—Any dispute under a contract or other agreement under subsection (a)(1) shall be resolved in accordance with, as applicable—

(A) the dispute clause of the contract or other agreement;

(B) the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (41 U.S.C. 601 et seq.); or

(C) section 1491 of title 28, United States Code.

(c) Retention of responsibilities under national environmental policy act of 1969.—With respect to any watershed restoration and protection service on National Forest System land that is proposed to be carried out by the State under subsection (a), any decision required to be made under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) may not be delegated to any officer or employee of the State.

(d) Applicability.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Subject to paragraph (2), the authority provided by this section applies only to National Forest System land located in Colorado.

(2) SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.—With respect to public land located in Colorado that is administered by the Secretary of the Interior (acting through the Bureau of Land Management), the Secretary of the Interior may carry out activities under this section on the public land.

SEC. 7. Stewardship contracting.

(a) Permanent authority.—Section 347(a) of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999 (16 U.S.C. 2104 note; as contained in section 101(e) of division A of Public Law 105–277) is amended by striking “Until September 30, 2013, the” and inserting “The”.

(b) Treatment of cancellation costs.—Section 347 of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999 (16 U.S.C. 2104 note; as contained in section 101(e) of division A of Public Law 105–277) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(h) Treatment of cancellation costs.—

“(1) LIMITATION ON OBLIGATION.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including section 304B of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 254c), the Forest Service may not obligate funds to cover the cost of canceling a Forest Service multiyear stewardship contract under subsection (a) until the date on which the multiyear stewardship contract is cancelled.

“(2) COSTS OF CANCELLATION OR TERMINATION.—The costs of any cancellation or termination of a multiyear stewardship contract described in paragraph (1) may be paid from any appropriations available to the Forest Service. In the event such appropriations are exhausted—

“(A) the exhaustion of such appropriations shall not be considered to be a violation of section 1341 of title 31, United States Code; and

“(B) the Secretary of Agriculture shall seek a supplemental appropriation.”.

SEC. 8. Protection of private property rights.

Nothing in this Act diminishes the rights of any owner of private property.