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S. 4431 (116th): Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act of 2020

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Sep 29, 2020.

Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act of 2020

This bill addresses wildfire preparedness and response.

Among other things, the bill requires the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to select three forest landscapes on which to conduct projects to reduce the risk of wildfire, restore ecological health, or adapt to the increased risk of wildfire due to climate change.

USDA and the Department of the Interior shall expedite the placement of wildfire detection equipment in areas at risk of wildfire, expedite related permitting, expand the use of satellite data to assist wildfire response, and establish a center to train individuals in methods to mitigate wildfire risk.

The bill excludes certain forest management activities from environmental review requirements.

Interior may make a determination that an emergency situation exists regarding National Forest System land and authorize specified emergency actions. Such a determination and such actions are not subject to administrative review.

Interior shall provide grants, loans, and loan guarantees to support biomass conversion facilities.

The bill allows the export of unprocessed timber of dead and dying trees from federal land in California.

Interior shall establish a grant program to assist in the development and utilization of innovative activities relating to workforce development in the forest sector, raise public awareness about the forest sector, and connect individuals to careers in the forest sector.

The Department of Energy shall provide support to improve the energy resilience, power needs, and energy efficiency of critical facilities.