Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF (450KB)   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
116th Congress     }                                {     Rept. 116-606
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session        }                                {           Part 1

======================================================================



 
            AERIAL INCURSION REPERCUSSION SAFETY ACT OF 2020

                                _______
                                

December 2, 2020.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              state of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Grijalva, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 5040]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 5040) to direct the Director of the Bureau of 
Land Management to study the effects of drone incursions on 
wildfire suppression, and for other purposes, having considered 
the same, reports favorably thereon with an amendment and 
recommends that the bill as amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Aerial Incursion Repercussion Safety 
Act of 2020'' or the ``AIR Safety Act of 2020''.

SEC. 2. STUDY ON EFFECTS OF DRONE INCURSIONS ON WILDFIRE SUPPRESSION.

  (a) Study Required.--The Director of the Bureau of Land Management, 
in consultation with the Chief of the Forest Service and the National 
Association of State Foresters, shall conduct a study on the effects of 
drone incursions on the suppression of wildfires with respect to lands 
managed by the Department of the Interior or the Department of 
Agriculture.
  (b) Study Contents.--In conducting the study required under 
subsection (a), the Director shall--
          (1) determine, for each of the five most recently completed 
        calendar years, the number of occurrences in which a drone 
        incursion interfered with wildfire suppression and the effect 
        of each such occurrence on--
                  (A) the length of time required to achieve complete 
                suppression;
                  (B) the effectiveness of aerial firefighting 
                responses; and
                  (C) the amounts expended by the Federal Government; 
                and
          (2) evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of various 
        actions to prevent drone incursions, including--
                  (A) the use of reasonable force to disable, damage, 
                or destroy a drone;
                  (B) the seizure of a drone, including seizure with a 
                net device; and
                  (C) the dissemination of education materials relating 
                to the effects of drone incursions on wildfire 
                suppression.
  (c) Report.--Not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment 
of this Act, the Director shall submit to the Committee on Natural 
Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy 
and Natural Resources of the Senate a report on the findings of the 
study required under subsection (a) and any recommendations of the 
Director relating to such findings.
  (d) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Drone.--The term ``drone'' means an unmanned aircraft 
        system owned by a private individual or entity.
          (2) Drone incursion.--The term ``drone incursion'' means the 
        operation of a drone within any airspace for which the 
        Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration has issued 
        a temporary flight restriction because of a wildfire.
          (3) Wildfire suppression.--The term ``wildfire suppression'' 
        has the meaning given such term in section 46320(d) of title 
        49, United States Code.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 5040 is to direct the Director of the 
Bureau of Land Management to study the effects of drone 
incursions on wildfire suppression, and for other purposes.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    When people fly drones near wildfires, federal land 
management agencies engaging in wildland fire suppression 
activities often ground their aircraft to avoid potential 
midair collisions. These airborne response delays pose threats 
to firefighters on the ground and to nearby communities, and 
they may undermine suppression efforts and allow wildfires to 
grow larger. Although the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 
often implements Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) around 
wildfires to protect aircraft involved in suppression 
operations, and although it is a federal crime to interfere 
with wildfire suppression efforts on public lands irrespective 
of a TFR, interferences from private drones have rapidly 
increased in recent years. According to the FAA, there are more 
than 100 documented cases of unauthorized drone incursions near 
wildfires.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\FAA, Drones & Wildfires Digital Toolkit: Drones and Wildfires 
are a Toxic Mix (2019), https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/
FAA_drones_wildfires_toolkit.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 5040 requires the Bureau of Land Management, in 
consultation with the U.S. Forest Service and the National 
Association of State Foresters, to conduct a study on the 
impacts and costs of unauthorized drone incursions on wildland 
fire suppression with respect to lands managed by the 
Department of the Interior or the Department of Agriculture. 
The bill raises awareness on the impacts of drone incursions on 
wildland fire suppression while examining ways to avoid future 
incursions.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 5040 was introduced on November 12, 2019, by 
Representative John Curtis (R-UT). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the 
Committee on Agriculture. Within the Natural Resources 
Committee, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on 
National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. On June 18, 2020, 
the Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On July 29, 2020, 
the Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The 
Subcommittee was discharged by unanimous consent. Rep. Curtis 
offered an amendment designated Curtis #1. The amendment was 
agreed to by unanimous consent. No additional amendments were 
offered, and the bill, as amended, was adopted and ordered 
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by unanimous 
consent.

                                HEARINGS

    For the purposes of section 103(i) of H. Res. 6 of the 
116th Congress--the following hearing was used to develop or 
consider H.R. 5040: legislative hearing by the Subcommittee on 
National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands held on June 18, 
2020.

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

      COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII AND CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT

    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, October 30, 2020.
Hon. Raul M. Grijalva,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 5040, the AIR 
Safety Act of 2020.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Janani 
Shankaran.
            Sincerely,
                                         Phillip L. Swagel,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

    	[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
    

    H.R. 5040 would direct the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 
to study how drone incursions affect the suppression of 
wildfires on federal land. The agency would be required to 
submit that study and any recommendations to the Congress.
    Based on the costs of similar tasks, CBO estimates that any 
costs incurred by BLM to implement H.R. 5040 would be 
insignificant over the 2021-2025 period; any spending would be 
subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Janani 
Shankaran. The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Director of Budget Analysis.
    2. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goals and 
objectives of this bill are to direct the Director of the 
Bureau of Land Management to study the effects of drone 
incursions on wildfire suppression.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                 UNFUNDED MANDATES REFORM ACT STATEMENT

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                           EXISTING PROGRAMS

    This bill does not establish or reauthorize a program of 
the federal government known to be duplicative of another 
program.

                  APPLICABILITY TO LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

               PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL, OR TRIBAL LAW

    Any preemptive effect of this bill over state, local, or 
tribal law is intended to be consistent with the bill's 
purposes and text and the Supremacy Clause of Article VI of the 
U.S. Constitution.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes to existing 
law.


		[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]



        SUPPLEMENTAL, MINORITY, ADDITIONAL, OR DISSENTING VIEWS

    None.

                                  [all]