Text: H.R.3715 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (09/08/2017)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 3715 Introduced in House (IH)]

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115th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 3715

 To expedite salvage and reforestation projects in the Columbia Gorge 
  National Scenic Area and other National Scenic Areas in response to 
          certain catastrophic events, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           September 8, 2017

  Mr. Walden 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 expedite salvage and reforestation projects in the Columbia Gorge 
  National Scenic Area and other National Scenic Areas in response to 
          certain catastrophic events, 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.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Scenic Columbia Gorge Restoration 
Act of 2017''.

SEC. 2. EXPEDITED RECOVERY ACTIVITIES IN RESPONSE TO CATASTROPHIC 
              EVENTS IN NATIONAL SCENIC AREAS.

    (a) Definitions.--In this section:
            (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) Conclusion.--The term ``conclusion'', with respect to a 
        catastrophic event, includes containment of the catastrophic 
        event if occurring before the actual end of the catastrophic 
        event.
            (3) National scenic area.--The term ``National Scenic 
        Area'' means an area of the National Forest System federally 
        designated as a National Scenic Area in recognition of the 
        outstanding natural, scenic, and recreational values of the 
        area.
            (4) Response activity.--The term ``response activity'' 
        means any salvage operation or reforestation activity proposed 
        to be conducted within a National Scenic Area adversely 
        impacted by a catastrophic event to address conditions caused 
        or exacerbated by the catastrophic event.
            (5) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service.
    (b) Prompt Proposal of Response Activities.--Within 30 days after 
the conclusion of a catastrophic event within a National Scenic Area, 
the Secretary shall begin proposing response activities for lands 
within the National Scenic Area adversely impacted by the catastrophic 
event.
    (c) Public Input and Response Process.--Notwithstanding any other 
provision of law, the Secretary shall allow 30 days for public scoping 
and comment regarding a National Scenic Area response activity, 15 days 
for filing an objection to the response activity, 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 (d)(1) if 
applicable, the Secretary shall implement the response activity.
    (d) Environmental Review.--
            (1) Expedited environmental assessment.--Except as provided 
        in paragraph (2), 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 National Scenic Area 
        response activity shall be completed within 60 days after the 
        conclusion of the catastrophic event.
            (2) Categorical exclusion.--A categorical exclusion is 
        available for any National Scenic Area response activity that--
                    (A) does not exceed 10,000 acres within the 
                National Scenic Area; and
                    (B) includes lands that--
                            (i) are visible from key viewing areas, as 
                        described in the management plan for the 
                        National Scenic Area;
                            (ii) provide screening for human 
                        development;
                            (iii) are part of a municipal watershed; or
                            (iv) contain utility or power transmission 
                        right-of-ways.
    (e) Consultation Under the Endangered Species Act.--
            (1) No consultation if response activity not likely to 
        adversely affect a listed species or designated critical 
        habitat.--Consultation under section 7 of the Endangered 
        Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536) shall not be required if 
        the Secretary determines that a response activity is not likely 
        to adversely affect a listed species or designated critical 
        habitat.
            (2) Expedited consultation.--
                    (A) In general.--With respect to a response 
                activity that is not covered by paragraph (1), 
                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.
                    (B) Effect of no conclusion.--In the case of a 
                consultation described in subparagraph (A) that is not 
                concluded within the 90-day period specified in such 
                subparagraph, the response activity for which such 
                consultation was initiated--
                            (i) shall be deemed to have not violated 
                        section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 
                        (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2)); and
                            (ii) may be carried out.
    (f) 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 response activity. Section 705 of title 5, United States Code, shall 
not apply to any challenge to the response activity.
    (g) Funding Source.--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 for response activities.
    (h) Reforestation Objective.--In the case of response activities 
conducted on National Scenic Area lands adversely impacted by a 
catastrophic event, the Secretary shall achieve reforestation of at 
least 75 percent of the impacted lands before the end of the two-year 
period following the conclusion of the catastrophic event.
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