Text: H.R.7315 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (12/13/2018)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
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[H.R. 7315 Introduced in House (IH)]

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115th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 7315

 To protect American communities from wildfire, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           December 13, 2018

 Mr. Westerman (for himself, Ms. Cheney, Mr. Gianforte, Mr. Gosar, and 
 Mr. LaMalfa) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
  Committee on Natural 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 protect American communities from wildfire, 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 ``Protecting American Communities from 
Wildfire Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
            (1) catastrophic wildfire represents a major threat to 
        American lives, properties, and livelihoods;
            (2) more and more Americans are living within the wildland-
        urban interface, and thus living closer to unmanaged, overgrown 
        Federal forests; and
            (3) a lack of large-scale forest management practices has 
        increased the risk of catastrophic wildfire within the 
        wildland-urban interface.
    (b) Purpose.--The purposes of this Act are as follows:
            (1) To provide the Forest Service with the clear authority 
        to protect lives, homes, and businesses within the wildland-
        urban interface by authorizing forest management projects in 
        the wildland-urban interface.
            (2) To provide State, local, and Tribal entities the 
        authority to collaboratively manage the forests within the 
        wildland-urban interface.
            (3) To provide additional resources for existing disaster 
        mitigation and educational programs for communities located in 
        the wildland-urban interface.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) At-risk community.--The term ``at-risk community'' has 
        the meaning given the term in section 101 of the Healthy 
        Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6511).
            (2) At-risk watershed.--The term ``at-risk watershed'' 
        means any watershed supplying an at-risk community.
            (3) Federal land.--
                    (A) In general.--The term ``Federal land'' means--
                            (i) public lands (as defined in section 103 
                        of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
                        of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1702));
                            (ii) land held in trust for Indian Tribes; 
                        or
                            (iii) National Forest System land.
                    (B) Exclusions.--The term ``Federal land'' does not 
                include--
                            (i) a component of the National Wilderness 
                        Preservation System;
                            (ii) Federal land on which the removal of 
                        vegetation is prohibited or restricted by Act 
                        of Congress or Presidential proclamation 
                        (including the applicable implementation plan); 
                        or
                            (iii) a wilderness study area.
            (4) Governors concerned.--The term ``Governors concerned'' 
        means the respective Governors who have entered into good 
        neighbor agreements (as defined in section 8206 of the 
        Agricultural Act of 2014 (16 U.S.C. 2113a)).
            (5) Secretary concerned.--The term ``Secretary concerned'' 
        means--
                    (A) the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to 
                public lands; and
                    (B) the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to 
                National Forest System lands.
            (6) Treatment programs.--The term ``treatment programs'' 
        means any removal or modification of flammable vegetation 
        including, but not limited to, prescribed fire, mechanical 
        thinning, timber sales, mastication, pruning, slash treatment, 
        or a combination of those methods.
            (7) Wildland-urban interface.--The term ``wildland-urban 
        interface'' has the meaning given the term in section 101 of 
        the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6511).

SEC. 4. CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION FOR ACCELERATED TREATMENT PROGRAMS FOR 
              THE WILDLAND-URBAN INTERFACE.

    (a) Categorical Exclusion Established.--Treatment programs 
described in subsection (b) are a category of actions designated as 
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) Treatment Program Described.--The treatment programs described 
in this subsection are forest management activities carried out by the 
Secretary concerned to--
            (1) reduce the risk of wildfire to at-risk communities and 
        at-risk watersheds by prescribing treatment programs in the 
        wildland-urban interface which remove overstocked timber; and
            (2) subject to subsection (c), remove or modify woody 
        vegetation and ground material to reduce canopy closure, ground 
        fuels, and ladder fuels to achieve a forest composition that 
        maximizes low-intensity fires and ease of suppression, 
        establish fire breaks, and access for fire suppression.
    (c) Limitation of Treatment Programs.--The Secretary concerned may 
only carry out vegetation treatments necessary to achieve conditions 
that support low-intensity fire and allow for direct suppression.
    (d) Judicial Review.--Treatment programs described in subsection 
(b) shall not be subject to judicial review.

SEC. 5. GOOD NEIGHBOR AGREEMENTS FOR AT-RISK AREAS.

    Section 8206(a)(3)(B) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (16 U.S.C. 
2113a(a)(3)(B)) is amended--
            (1) in clause (i)(II)(bb), by striking ``or'';
            (2) in clause (ii), by striking the period at the end and 
        inserting ``; or''; and
            (3) by inserting after clause (ii) the following new 
        clause:
                            ``(iii) activities to reduce hazardous 
                        fuels and risk for loss of human life and 
                        property within the wildland-urban interface 
                        (as defined in section 101 of the Healthy 
                        Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 
                        6511)).''.

SEC. 6. SUPPLEMENTAL STATE FIRE ASSISTANCE FUNDING.

    Section 10A of the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 (16 
U.S.C. 2106c) is amended--
            (1) in subsection (a), by striking ``may'' and inserting 
        ``shall'';
            (2) in subsection (b)--
                    (A) in paragraph (1)--
                            (i) in subparagraph (C), by striking 
                        ``and'' at the end;
                            (ii) in subparagraph (D), by striking 
                        ``wildfires.'' and inserting ``wildfires; 
                        and''; and
                            (iii) by adding at the end the following 
                        new subparagraph:
                    ``(E) to incentivize State, local, tribal, and 
                private landowners within the wildland-urban interface 
                to implement cooperative land management plans and 
                treatment programs which reduce the risk of 
                wildfire.''; and
                    (B) in paragraph (2)--
                            (i) by striking ``The Program'' and 
                        inserting the following:
                    ``(A) In general.--The program''; and
                            (ii) by striking ``State foresters or 
                        equivalent State officials'' and inserting 
                        ``appropriate stakeholders''; and
                            (iii) by adding at the end the following:
                    ``(B) Preferred consideration.--State, local, 
                tribal, and private landowners with preexisting, 
                collaborative wildland-urban interface fire mitigation 
                plan shall receive preferred consideration when 
                applying for competitive, cost-sharing grants.'';
                    (C) in paragraph (3)--
                            (i) in subparagraph (G), by striking 
                        ``and'' at the end;
                            (ii) in subparagraph (H), by striking 
                        ``projects.'' and inserting ``projects; and''; 
                        and
                            (iii) by adding at the end the following:
                    ``(J) community and landowner forest management 
                incentive programs.''; and
            (3) by amending subsection (d) to read as follows:
    ``(d) Authorization of Appropriations.--
            ``(1) In general.--There is authorized to be appropriated 
        to carry out this section--
                    ``(A) $100,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 
                through 2024; and
                    ``(B) such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 
                2025 and each fiscal year thereafter.
            ``(2) Reservation.--Of the funds appropriated under 
        paragraph (1), 25 percent shall be reserved to carry out 
        wildfire mitigation and fuels reduction within the wildland-
        urban interface (as defined in section 101 of the Healthy 
        Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6511)).''.

SEC. 7. SAVINGS PROVISION.

    Nothing in this Act shall provide the Secretary concerned or 
Governors concerned the authority to prescribe clear cutting as part of 
a treatment plan.
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