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S. 2698: Stop CATASTROPHES Act


The text of the bill below is as of Aug 10, 2021 (Introduced).


II

117th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 2698

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

August 10, 2021

introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works

A BILL

To establish a categorical exclusion to improve or restore National Forest System land or public land or reduce the risk of wildfire, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Stop Causing Alarming Tree, Air, and Soil Trauma Resulting from Obstructive Progressives’ and Hypocritical Environmentalists’ Schemes Act or the Stop CATASTROPHES Act.

2.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Forest management activity

The term forest management activity means a project or activity carried out by the Secretary concerned on National Forest System land or public land consistent with the forest plan covering the land.

(2)

Forest plan

The term forest plan means—

(A)

a land use plan prepared by the Bureau of Land Management for public land pursuant to section 202 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1712); and

(B)

a land and resource management plan prepared by the Forest Service for a unit of the National Forest System pursuant to section 6 of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1604).

(3)

Hazardous fuel management

The term hazardous fuel management means any vegetation management activity that reduces the risk of wildfire.

(4)

Late-season grazing

The term late-season grazing means a grazing activity that occurs—

(A)

after an invasive species and native perennial species have each completed the current-year annual growth cycle; and

(B)

until new plant growth begins to appear in the following year.

(5)

National forest system

The term National Forest System means the land described in section 11(a) of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1609(a)).

(6)

Noxious weed

The term noxious weed includes juniper trees, medusahead rye, conifer trees, piñon pine trees, cheatgrass, and other noxious or invasive weeds specified on a Federal or State noxious weed list.

(7)

Public land

The term public land

(A)

has the meaning given the term public lands in section 103 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1702); and

(B)

includes Coos Bay Wagon Road Grant land and Oregon and California Railroad Grant land.

(8)

Secretary concerned

The term Secretary concerned means—

(A)

the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to National Forest System land; and

(B)

the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to public land.

(9)

Targeted livestock grazing

The term targeted livestock grazing means grazing used for purposes of hazardous fuel management.

3.

Categorical exclusion to improve or restore national forest system lands or public land or reduce the risk of wildfire

(a)

Categorical exclusion established

Forest management activities described in subsection (b) are designated as a category of actions 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)

Forest management activities designated for categorical exclusion

(1)

In general

The category of forest management activities designated under this section for a categorical exclusion are forest management activities described in paragraph (2)—

(A)

carried out by the Secretary concerned on National Forest System land or public land; and

(B)

the primary purpose of which is—

(i)

to improve or restore the National Forest System land or public land; or

(ii)

to reduce the risk of wildfire on the National Forest System land or public land.

(2)

Activities authorized

The following forest management activities may be carried out pursuant to the categorical exclusion established under subsection (a):

(A)

Removal of noxious weeds through—

(i)

late-season livestock grazing;

(ii)

targeted livestock grazing;

(iii)

prescribed burns; and

(iv)

mechanical treatments.

(B)

Performance of hazardous fuel management.

(C)

Creation of fuel and fire breaks.

(D)

Modification of existing fences to distribute livestock and improve wildlife habitat.

(E)

Installation of erosion control devices.

(F)

Construction of new permanent infrastructure and maintenance of existing permanent infrastructure, including stock ponds, water catchments, and water spring boxes used to benefit livestock and improve wildlife habitat.

(G)

Performance of soil treatments, native and nonnative seeding, and planting and transplanting of sagebrush, grass, forb, shrub, and other species of grass.

(H)

Use of herbicides, if the Secretary concerned determines that the activity is otherwise conducted consistent with any forest plan applicable to the area covered by the activity.

(c)

Availability of categorical exclusion

On and after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary concerned may use the categorical exclusion established under subsection (a) in accordance with this section.

(d)

Acreage limitations

A forest management activity covered by the categorical exclusion established under subsection (a) may not exceed 10,000 acres.

(e)

Exclusions

The categorical exclusion established under subsection (a) shall not apply to a forest management activity described in subsection (b)(2) that is carried out on National Forest System land or public land—

(1)

that is a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System;

(2)

that is located within a national or State-specific inventoried roadless area established by the Secretary of Agriculture through regulation, unless—

(A)

the forest management activity to be carried out under on the National Forest System land or public land is consistent with the forest plan applicable to the area; or

(B)

the Secretary concerned determines that the forest management activity is allowed under the applicable roadless rule; or

(3)

on which timber harvesting for any purpose is prohibited by Federal law.