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S. 1453 (rfh) To facilitate famine relief efforts and a comprehensive solution to the war in Sudan. [Referred in House] ...


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108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1453

  To expedite procedures for hazardous fuels reduction activities and 
   restoration in wildland fire prone national forests and for other 
                               purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                July 24 (legislative day, July 21), 2003

 Mr. Leahy (for himself and Mrs. Boxer) introduced the following bill; 
  which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, 
                        Nutrition, and Forestry

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
  To expedite procedures for hazardous fuels reduction activities and 
   restoration in wildland fire prone national forests and for other 
                               purposes.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Forestry and 
Community Assistance Act of 2003''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Purposes.
                   TITLE I--HAZARDOUS FUEL REDUCTION

Sec. 101. Definitions.
Sec. 102. Hazardous fuels reduction projects authorized.
Sec. 103. Collaboration and public input process.
Sec. 104. Expedited planning and implementation process.
Sec. 105. Ongoing projects and existing authorities.
Sec. 106. Preference to communities with fire prevention ordinances.
Sec. 107. Firefighter safety and training.
Sec. 108. Prohibition on the competitive sourcing initiative.
Sec. 109. Sunset provision.
Sec. 110. Authorization of appropriations.
                        TITLE II--FOREST HEALTH

Sec. 201. Purpose.
Sec. 202. Involvement by other agencies and organizations.
Sec. 203. Authorization of appropriations.
                TITLE III--WATERSHED FORESTRY ASSISTANCE

Sec. 301. Findings and purpose.
Sec. 302. Establishment of watershed forestry assistance program.
Sec. 303. Watershed forestry assistance program.
Sec. 304. Authorization of appropriations.
Sec. 305. Forest and rangeland demonstration projects at the watershed 
                            scale.
               TITLE IV--HEALTHY FORESTS RESERVE PROGRAM

Sec. 401. Establishment of healthy forests reserve program.
Sec. 402. Eligibility and enrollment of lands in program.
Sec. 403. Restoration plans.
Sec. 404. Involvement by other agencies and organizations.
Sec. 405. Financial assistance.
Sec. 406. Technical assistance.
Sec. 407. Authorization of appropriations.
           TITLE V--RURAL FOREST COMMUNITY INITIATIVE PROGRAM

Sec. 501. Purpose.
Sec. 502. Rural community forestry enterprise program.
Sec. 503. Authorization of appropriations.

SEC. 2. PURPOSES.

    (a) To allow for the implementation of hazardous fuels reduction 
projects with priority given to lands that are located within one-half 
mile of at-risk communities.
    (b) To address long-term forest health issues as it relates to 
insect and disease infestations.
    (c) To establish a watershed forestry assistance program that would 
provide States, through State foresters, technical, financial, and 
related assistance to expand forest stewardship capacities and 
activities and prevent water quality degradation, and address watershed 
issues, on non-Federal forest land.
    (d) To establish the healthy forests reserve program for the 
purpose of conserving, restoring, and enhancing forest ecosystems to 
promote the recovery of threatened and endangered species as well as 
improve biodiversity and enhance carbon sequestration.
    (e) To assist in the economic revitalization of the rural forest 
resource dependent communities through incentives to promote investment 
in private enterprise, including small forest products businesses and 
community development, by the Department of Agriculture, the Department 
of the Interior, the Small Business Administration, and land grant 
colleges.

          TITLE I--HAZARDOUS FUELS REDUCTION ON FEDERAL LANDS

SEC. 101. DEFINITIONS.

    (a) Land Type and Fire Regime Definitions From Forest Service Rocky 
Mountain Research Station.--In this Act:
            (1) Condition class 3.--The term ``condition class 3'' 
        refers to land on which--
                    (A) fire regimes have been significantly altered 
                from their historical fire return intervals;
                    (B) there exists a high risk of losing key 
                ecosystem components; and
                    (C) has missed several fire cycles.
            (2) Fire regime i.--The term ``fire regime I'' refers to 
        lands--
                    (A) on which historically there are low severity 
                fires with a frequency of 0-35 years; and
                    (B) are located primarily in low elevation forests 
                of pine, oak, and pinyon-juniper.
            (3) Fire regime ii.--The term ``fire regime II'' refers to 
        lands--
                    (A) on which historically there are stand 
                replacement severity fires with a frequency of 0-35 
                years; and
                    (B) are located primarily in low- to mid-elevation 
                forests, rangelands, grasslands, or shrublands.
            (4) Fire regime iii.--The term ``fire regime III'' refers 
        to lands--
                    (A) on which historically there are mixed severity 
                fires with a frequency of 35-100 years; and
                    (B) are located primarily in forests of dry mixed 
                conifer and dry Douglas Fir.
    (b) Other Definitions.--In this Act--
            (1) Administrative unit.--The term ``administrative unit'', 
        with respect to Federal lands, means a unit of the National 
        Forest System or a land management district of the Bureau of 
        Land Management.
            (2) At-risk community.--The term ``at-risk community'' 
        means a geographic area designated by the Secretary concerned 
        as any area--
                    (A) defined as an interface community on page 753 
                of volume 66 of the Federal Register, as published on 
                January 4, 2001, or consisting of a collection of homes 
                and other structures with basic infrastructure and 
                services, such as utilities, collectively maintained 
                transportation routes, and emergency services;
                    (B) on which conditions are conducive to large-
                scale fire disturbance events; and
                    (C) for which a significant risk exists of a 
                resulting spread of the fire disturbance event, after 
                ignition, which would threaten human life and property.
            (3) Best value contracting.--The term ``best value 
        contracting'' means the contracting process described in 
        section 15.101 of title 48, Code of Federal Regulations, which 
        allows the inclusion of non-cost factors in the contract 
        process.
            (4) Comprehensive strategy.--The term ``Comprehensive 
        Strategy'' means the Comprehensive Strategy for a Collaborative 
        Approach for Reducing Wildland Fire Risks to Communities and 
        the Environment, dated May 2002, which was developed pursuant 
        to the conference report to accompany the Department of the 
        Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2001 (H. 
        Rept. 106-646).
            (5) Federal lands.--Except as provided in section 101(c), 
        the term ``Federal lands'' means--
                    (A) National Forest System lands; and
                    (B) public lands administered by the Secretary of 
                the Interior acting through the Bureau of Land 
                Management.
            (6) Goods for service contracting.--The term ``goods for 
        service contracting'' means the contracting process described 
        in section 347 of the Department of the Interior and Related 
        Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999 (as contained in section 
        101(e) of division A of Public Law 105-277; 16 U.S.C. 2104 
        note).
            (7) Hazardous fuels reduction project.--The term 
        ``hazardous fuels reduction project'' means a project--
                    (A) undertaken for the purpose of reducing the 
                amount of hazardous fuels resulting from alteration of 
                a natural fire regime as a result of fire suppression 
                or other activities; and
                    (B) accomplished through the use of prescribed 
                burning or mechanical treatment, or combination 
                thereof.
            (8) Inventoried roadless area.--The term ``inventoried 
        roadless area'' means one of the areas identified in the set of 
        inventoried roadless areas maps contained in the Forest Service 
        Roadless Areas Conservation, Final Environmental Impact 
        Statement, Volume 2, dated November 2000.
            (9) Local preference contracting.--The term ``local 
        preference contracting'' means the contracting process 
        described in section 333 of the Department of the Interior and 
        Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2003 (division F of Public 
        Law 108-7; 117 Stat. 277), that gives preference to local 
        businesses.
            (10) Municipal water supply system.--The term ``municipal 
        water supply system'' means reservoirs, canals, ditches, 
        flumes, laterals, pipes, pipelines, or other surface facilities 
and systems constructed or installed for the impoundment, storage, 
transportation, or distribution of drinking water for a community.
            (11) Secretary concerned.--The term ``Secretary concerned'' 
        means--
                    (A) the Secretary of Agriculture (or the designee 
                of the Secretary) with respect to National Forest 
                System lands; and
                    (B) the Secretary of the Interior (or the designee 
                of the Secretary) with respect to public lands 
                administered by the Secretary through the Bureau of 
                Land Management.
    (c) Excluded Federal Lands.--This Act, including the expedited 
process described in section 5, does not apply to any Federal lands--
            (1) included as a component of the National Wilderness 
        Preservation System;
            (2) where logging is prohibited or restricted by Act of 
        Congress, presidential proclamation, or agency determination;
            (3) included in a wilderness study area; or
            (4) included in an inventoried roadless area.

SEC. 102. HAZARDOUS FUELS REDUCTION PROJECTS AUTHORIZED.

    (a) Consistency With Implementation Plan.--The processes authorized 
or required by this Act shall be consistent with the implementation 
plan for the Comprehensive Strategy to reduce hazardous fuels on 
Federal lands.
    (b) Priority Hazardous Fuels Reduction Projects.--
            (1) Projects on certain lands.--In implementing hazardous 
        fuels reduction projects under this Act, the Secretary 
        concerned shall give priority to projects on the following 
        Federal lands and other lands:
                    (A) Lands that are located within one-half mile of 
                an at-risk community where fire regime I, fire regime 
                II, or fire regime III exists and that are in condition 
                class 3.
                    (B) Lands where fire regime I, fire regime II, or 
                fire regime III exists and that are in condition class 
                3 and that are located in such proximity to a municipal 
                water supply system that a hazardous fuels reduction 
                project should be carried out in order to reduce the 
                risk of harm to such system or the quality of a 
                municipal water supply resulting from an unusually 
                severe wildfire.
            (2) Limitation on other projects pending completion of 
        priority projects.--With respect to projects on Federal lands 
        in a State, the Secretary concerned shall complete all projects 
        on Federal lands identified in paragraph (1) in that State 
        before carrying out projects in areas outside of those Federal 
        lands in that State.
    (c) Compliance With Land Management Plans.--A hazardous fuels 
reduction project planned and conducted under this Act must be 
consistent with the land and resource management plan, land use plan, 
and other agency plans and regulations applicable to the Federal lands 
covered by the project.
    (d) Project Contracting.--To conduct a hazardous fuels reduction 
project under this Act, the Secretary concerned shall use local 
preference contracting and best value contracting. Payments under a 
contract entered into to implement a project under this Act shall only 
be made on a fee-for-service basis. The Secretary concerned shall not 
use goods-for-service contracting to implement a project under this 
Act.
    (e) Old Growth and Other Limitations.--In conducting a hazardous 
fuels reduction project under this Act, the Secretary concerned--
            (1) shall not construct new permanent or temporary roads;
            (2) shall fully maintain the structure, function, processes 
        and composition of structurally complex older forests (old 
        growth) according to each ecosystem type;
            (3) shall focus on thinning from below when using 
        mechanical treatment;
            (4) shall ensure that condition classes are assessed and 
        mapped at watershed and site-specific scales; and
            (5) shall apply the risk assessment methodology and project 
        selection process of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.
    (f) Acreage Limitation.--Not more than 20,000,000 acres of Federal 
land may be treated using the authorities provided by this Act.
    (g) Funding Priority.--Of funds expended for hazardous fuels 
reduction projects under this Act, at least 85 percent shall be 
expended on projects on lands described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of 
section 102(b)(1). Upon forming cooperative agreements with the 
appropriate parties, the Secretary concerned may use these funds for 
treatment of non-Federal lands. Funds for treatment of non-Federal 
lands shall be expended in the form of block grants to States and local 
communities to plan and carry out hazardous fuels reduction projects 
and other wildland fire protection efforts on non-Federal lands in 
accordance with the Comprehensive Strategy.
    (h) Monitoring.--
            (1) Monitoring required.--The Secretary concerned shall 
        establish a balanced multiparty monitoring process in order for 
        Congress to assess a representative sampling of the hazardous 
        fuels reduction projects implemented under this Act.
            (2) Report required.--Not later than one-year after the 
        expiration of this Act, as provided in section 109, the 
        Secretary concerned shall submit to Congress a report 

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