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