Text: H.R.399 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (01/23/2013)

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[Congressional Bills 113th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 399 Introduced in House (IH)]

  1st Session
                                H. R. 399

To direct the Secretary of the Army to undertake a comprehensive review 
 of the Corps of Engineers policy guidelines on vegetation management 
                  for levees, and for other purposes.



                            January 23, 2013

     Ms. Matsui (for herself, Mr. Garamendi, Mr. George Miller of 
    California, Mr. Gary G. Miller of California, Mr. Cardenas, Mr. 
 Thompson of California, Ms. Lofgren, Mr. Costa, Mrs. Napolitano, Mrs. 
 Capps, Ms. Eshoo, Mr. Honda, Ms. Linda T. Sanchez of California, Ms. 
 Loretta Sanchez of California, Mr. Farr, Ms. Lee of California, Mrs. 
Negrete McLeod, Ms. Roybal-Allard, Mrs. Davis of California, Ms. Bass, 
 Mr. Waxman, Ms. Hahn, Ms. Chu, Mr. Bera of California, Mr. McNerney, 
 and Mr. Calvert) introduced the following bill; which was referred to 
           the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure


                                 A BILL

To direct the Secretary of the Army to undertake a comprehensive review 
 of the Corps of Engineers policy guidelines on vegetation management 
                  for levees, and for other purposes.

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


    This Act may be cited as the ``Levee Vegetation Review Act of 


    (a) Review.--In order to determine whether current Federal policy 
relating to levee vegetation is appropriate for all regions of the 
United States, the Secretary of the Army shall undertake a 
comprehensive review of the Corps of Engineers policy guidelines on 
vegetation management for levees (in this section referred to as the 
``guidelines''). The Secretary shall commence the review not later than 
6 months after the date of enactment of this Act.
    (b) Factors.--
            (1) In general.--In conducting the review, the Secretary 
        shall examine the guidelines in view of--
                    (A) the varied interests and responsibilities in 
                managing flood risks, including the need to provide the 
                greatest levee safety benefit with limited resources;
                    (B) preserving, protecting, and enhancing natural 
                resources, including the potential benefit that 
                vegetation on levees can have in providing habitat for 
                species of concern;
                    (C) protecting the rights of Native Americans 
                pursuant to treaties and statutes; and
                    (D) such other factors as the Secretary considers 
            (2) Regional and watershed considerations.--In conducting 
        the review, the Secretary shall specifically consider factors 
        that promote and allow for consideration of potential variances 
        from national guidelines on a regional or watershed basis. Such 
        factors may include regional or watershed soil conditions, 
        hydrologic factors, vegetation patterns and characteristics, 
        environmental resources, levee performance history, 
        institutional considerations, and other relevant factors. The 
        scope of a variance approved by the Secretary may include an 
        exemption to national guidelines where appropriate.
    (c) Cooperation and Consultation; Recommendations.--
            (1) In general.--The review shall be undertaken in 
        cooperation with interested Federal agencies and in 
        consultation with interested representatives of State and local 
        governments, Native American Indian tribes, appropriate 
        nongovernmental organizations, and the public.
            (2) Recommendations.--Corps of Engineers Regional 
        Integration Teams, representing districts, divisions, and 
        headquarters, in consultation with State and Federal resources 
        agencies, and with participation by local agencies, shall 
        recommend to the Chief of Engineers vegetation management 
        policies for levees that conform with State and Federal laws 
        and other applicable requirements.
    (d) Peer Review.--
            (1) Views of national academy of engineering.--As part of 
        the review, the Secretary shall solicit and consider the views 
        of the National Academy of Engineering on the engineering, 
        environmental, and institutional considerations underlying the 
            (2) Availability of views.--The views of the National 
        Academy of Engineering obtained under paragraph (1) shall be--
                    (A) made available to the public; and
                    (B) included in supporting materials issued in 
                connection with the revised guidelines required under 
                subsection (e).
    (e) Revision of Guidelines.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than 2 years after the date of 
        enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall--
                    (A) revise the guidelines based on the results of 
                the review, including the results of the peer review 
                conducted under subsection (d); and
                    (B) submit to Congress a report that contains a 
                summary of the activities of the Secretary and a 
                description of the findings of the Secretary under this 
            (2) Content; incorporation into manual.--The revised 
        guidelines shall--
                    (A) provide a practical process for approving 
                regional or watershed variances from the national 
                guidelines, reflecting due consideration of measures to 
                maximize public safety benefits with limited resources, 
                regional climatic variations, environmental quality, 
                implementation challenges, and allocation of 
                responsibilities; and
                    (B) be incorporated into the manual proposed under 
                section 5(c) of the Act entitled ``An Act authorizing 
                the construction of certain public works on rivers and 
                harbors for flood control, and for other purposes'', 
                approved August 18, 1941 (33 U.S.C. 701n(c)).
    (f) Continuation of Work.--Concurrent with completion of the 
requirements of this section, the Secretary shall proceed without 
interruption or delay with those ongoing or programmed projects and 
studies, or elements of projects or studies, that are not directly 
related to vegetation variance policy.