Senator Wyden along with a cohort of western Democrats and Republicans (a bipartisan effort) gutted the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to expedite logging and forest biomass extraction while simultaneously providing $200 million per year until 2024 to fund this corporate timber welfare program via the 2014 Farm Bill!
(While cutting $800 million a year from the Food Stamp program!)
Senator Wyden and other politicians are using the Orwellian "Healthy Forest Restoration Act" - for which Senator Wyden was pivotal in creating and enacting in a bipartisan effort with the Bush Administration in 2003 - to achieve big timber hegemony over our National Forests.
This legislative rider (Section 8204) was added to the Farm Bill less than a day before it was sent to the U.S. Senate. 4 Days later, in the first week of February 2014 it was passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Obama.
It allows the Forest Service to claim a "Categorical Exclusion" status for logging and forest biomass extraction projects under 3,000 acres. Usually an Environmental Analysis is required for such large projects. Categorical Exclusions are generally used for recreational sites (campgrounds), trail bridge replacements, new trails, and adding facilities to an existing site.
We are calling on all Environmental Non Governmental Organizations (ENGO) to hold Senator Wyden and other Democrats accountable for this complete betrayal of the American people's trust and destroying a legacy of the nation's strongest environmental laws.
For the more inquisitive muck rakers out there, below is Section 8204 through 8205 of the 2014 Farm Bill codifying this betrayal.
SEC. 8204. INSECT AND DISEASE INFESTATION.
Title VI of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6591 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘‘SEC. 602. DESIGNATION OF TREATMENT AREAS.
‘‘(a) DEFINITION OF DECLINING FOREST HEALTH.—In this sec- tion, the term ‘declining forest health’ means a forest that is experi- encing—
‘‘(1) substantially increased tree mortality due to insect or disease infestation; or
‘‘(2) dieback due to infestation or defoliation by insects or disease.
‘‘(b) DESIGNATION OF TREATMENT AREAS.—
of enactment of the Agricultural Act of 2014, the Secretary shall, if requested by the Governor of the State, designate as part of an insect and disease treatment program 1 or more landscape-scale areas, such as subwatersheds (sixth-level hydrologic units, according to the System of Hydrologic Unit Codes of the United States Geological Survey), in at least 1 national forest in each State that is experiencing an insect or disease epidemic.
‘‘(2) ADDITIONAL AREAS.—After the end of the 60-day period described in paragraph (1), the Secretary may designate addi- tional landscape-scale areas under this section as needed to address insect or disease threats.
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‘‘(c) REQUIREMENTS.—To be designated a landscape-scale area under subsection (b), the area shall be—
‘‘(1) experiencing declining forest health, based on annual forest health surveys conducted by the Secretary;
‘‘(2) at risk of experiencing substantially increased tree mortality over the next 15 years due to insect or disease infesta- tion, based on the most recent National Insect and Disease Risk Map published by the Forest Service; or
‘‘(3) in an area in which the risk of hazard trees poses an imminent risk to public infrastructure, health, or safety. ‘‘(d) TREATMENT OF AREAS.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary may carry out priority projects on Federal land in the areas designated under sub- section (b) to reduce the risk or extent of, or increase the resilience to, insect or disease infestation in the areas.
‘‘(2) AUTHORITY.—Any project under paragraph (1) for which a public notice to initiate scoping is issued on or before September 30, 2018, may be carried out in accordance with subsections (b), (c), and (d) of section 102, and sections 104, 105, and 106.
‘‘(3) EFFECT.—Projects carried out under this subsection shall be considered authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects for purposes of the authorities described in paragraph (2).
described in subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall issue 2 reports on actions taken to carry out this subsection, including—
‘‘(i) an evaluation of the progress towards project goals; and
‘‘(ii) recommendations for modifications to the
projects and management treatments.
‘‘(i) not earlier than September 30, 2018, issue the initial report under subparagraph (A); and
‘‘(ii) not earlier than September 30, 2024, issue the second report under that subparagraph.
‘‘(e) TREE RETENTION.—The Secretary shall carry out projects under subsection (d) in a manner that maximizes the retention of old-growth and large trees, as appropriate for the forest type, to the extent that the trees promote stands that are resilient to insects and disease.
‘‘(f) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $200,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2024.
‘‘SEC. 603. ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW.
‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subsection (d), a project described in subsection (b) that is conducted in accordance with section 602(d) may be—
‘‘(1) considered an action categorically excluded from the requirements of Public Law 91–190 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.);
under section 105.
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‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—A project referred to in subsection (a) is a project to carry out forest restoration treatments that— ‘‘(A) maximizes the retention of old-growth and large trees, as appropriate for the forest type, to the extent that the trees promote stands that are resilient to insects
to maintain or restore the ecological integrity, including maintaining or restoring structure, function, composition, and connectivity; and
‘‘(C) is developed and implemented through a collabo- rative process that—
‘‘(i) includes multiple interested persons rep- resenting diverse interests; and
‘‘(ii)(I) is transparent and nonexclusive; or
‘‘(II) meets the requirements for a resource advisory committee under subsections (c) through (f) of section 205 of the Secure Rural Schools and Commu- nity Self-Determination Act of 2000 (16 U.S.C. 7125).
‘‘(2) INCLUSION.—A project under this subsection may carry
out part of a proposal that complies with the eligibility require-
ments of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Pro-
gram under section 4003(b) of the Omnibus Public Land
Management Act of 2009 (16 U.S.C. 7303(b)).
‘‘(1) PROJECT SIZE.—A project under this section may not exceed 3000 acres.
‘‘(2) LOCATION.—A project under this section shall be lim- ited to areas—
‘‘(A) in the wildland-urban interface; or
‘‘(B) Condition Classes 2 or 3 in Fire Regime Groups
I, II, or III, outside the wildland-urban interface.
‘‘(A) PERMANENT ROADS.—
under this section shall not include the establishment of permanent roads.
‘‘(ii) EXISTING ROADS.—The Secretary may carry
out necessary maintenance and repairs on existing
permanent roads for the purposes of this section.
decommission any temporary road constructed under a project under this section not later than 3 years after the date on which the project is completed.
‘‘(d) EXCLUSIONS.—This section does not apply to—
Presidential proclamation, the removal of vegetation is restricted or prohibited;
‘‘(3) a congressionally designated wilderness study area;
be inconsistent with the applicable land and resource manage-
carried out under this section shall be consistent with the land
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and resource management plan established under section 6 of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1604) for the unit of the National Forest System con- taining the projects and activities.
‘‘(f) PUBLIC NOTICE AND SCOPING.—The Secretary shall conduct public notice and scoping for any project or action proposed in accordance with this section.
report on the use of categorical exclusions under this section that includes a description of all acres (or other appropriate unit) treated through projects carried out under this section.
‘‘(2) SUBMISSION.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, and each year thereafter, the Secretary shall submit the reports required under paragraph (1) to—
‘‘(A) the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and For- estry of the Senate;
‘‘(B) the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate;
‘‘(C) the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives;
‘‘(D) the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives; and
‘‘(E) the Government Accountability Office.’’.
SEC. 8205. STEWARDSHIP END RESULT CONTRACTING PROJECTS.
(a) IN GENERAL.—Title VI of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6591) (as amended by section 8204) is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘‘SEC. 604. STEWARDSHIP END RESULT CONTRACTING PROJECTS.
‘‘(a) DEFINITIONS.—In this section:
of the Bureau of Land Management.
‘‘(b) PROJECTS.—The Chief and the Director, via agreement or contract as appropriate, may enter into stewardship contracting projects with private persons or other public or private entities to perform services to achieve land management goals for the national forests and the public lands that meet local and rural community needs.
‘‘(c) LAND MANAGEMENT GOALS.—The land management goals of a project under subsection (b) may include any of the following: ‘‘(1) Road and trail maintenance or obliteration to restore
or maintain water quality.
or other resource values.
structure, condition, and health of stands or to improve wildlife habitat.
‘‘(4) Removing vegetation or other activities to promote healthy forest stands, reduce fire hazards, or achieve other land management objectives.
‘‘(5) Watershed restoration and maintenance.
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‘‘(7) Control of noxious and exotic weeds and reestablishing
native plant species.
‘‘(1) PROCUREMENT PROCEDURE.—A source for performance of an agreement or contract under subsection (b) shall be selected on a best-value basis, including consideration of source under other public and private agreements or contracts.
‘‘(2) CONTRACT FOR SALE OF PROPERTY.—A contract entered into under this section may, at the discretion of the Secretary of Agriculture, be considered a contract for the sale of property under such terms as the Secretary may prescribe without regard to any other provision of law.
(B), the Chief and the Director may enter into a contract under subsection (b) in accordance with section 3903 of title 41, United States Code.
‘‘(B) MAXIMUM.—The period of the contract under sub-
section (b) may exceed 5 years but may not exceed 10
‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—The Chief and the Director may apply the value of timber or other forest products removed as an offset against the cost of services received under the agreement or contract described in subsection (b).
‘‘(B) METHODS OF APPRAISAL.—The value of timber or other forest products used as an offset under subparagraph
of appraisal commensurate with the quantity of prod- ucts to be removed; and
appropriate to the contracts; and
sections (d) and (g) of section 14 of the National Forest Manage- ment Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 472a), the Chief may enter into an agreement or contract under subsection (b).
‘‘(6) CONTRACTING OFFICER.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary or the Secretary of the Interior may determine the appropriate contracting officer to enter into and administer an agreement or contract under subsection (b).
‘‘(7) FIRE LIABILITY PROVISIONS.—Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Chief and the Director shall issue for use in all contracts and agreements under this section fire liability provisions that are in substan- tially the same form as the fire liability provisions contained in—
‘‘(A) integrated resource timber contracts, as described in the Forest Service contract numbered 2400–13, part H, section H.4; and
‘‘(B) timber sale contracts conducted pursuant to sec- tion 14 of the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 472a).
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monies from an agreement or contract under subsection (b) if the collection is a secondary objective of negotiating the contract that will best achieve the purposes of this section.
‘‘(2) USE.—Monies from an agreement or contract under subsection (b)—
‘‘(A) may be retained by the Chief and the Director;
appropriation at the project site from which the monies
are collected or at another project site.
‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provi- sion of law, the value of services received by the Chief or the Director under a stewardship contract project con- ducted under this section, and any payments made or resources provided by the contractor, Chief, or Director shall not be considered monies received from the National Forest System or the public lands.
‘‘(B) KNUTSON-VANDERBERG ACT.—The Act of June 9, 1930 (commonly known as the ‘Knutson-Vanderberg Act’) (16 U.S.C. 576 et seq.) shall not apply to any agreement or contract under subsection (b).
‘‘(f) COSTS OF REMOVAL.—Notwithstanding the fact that a con- tractor did not harvest the timber, the Chief may collect deposits from a contractor covering the costs of removal of timber or other forest products under—
‘‘(1) the Act of August 11, 1916 (16 U.S.C. 490); and
‘‘(2) the Act of June 30, 1914 (16 U.S.C. 498). ‘‘(g) PERFORMANCE AND PAYMENT GUARANTEES.—
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—The Chief and the Director may require performance and payment bonds under sections 28.103–2 and 28.103–3 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, in an amount that the contracting officer considers sufficient to protect the investment in receipts by the Federal Government generated by the contractor from the estimated value of the forest products to be removed under a contract under subsection (b).
‘‘(2) EXCESS OFFSET VALUE.—If the offset value of the forest products exceeds the value of the resource improvement treat- ments, the Chief and the Director may—
‘‘(A) collect any residual receipts under the Act of June 9, 1930 (commonly known as the ‘Knutson-Vanderberg Act’) (16 U.S.C. 576 et seq.); and
‘‘(B) apply the excess to other authorized stewardship projects.
‘‘(h) MONITORING AND EVALUATION.—
lish a multiparty monitoring and evaluation process that accesses the stewardship contracting projects conducted under this section.
‘‘(2) PARTICIPANTS.—Other than the Chief and Director, participants in the process described in paragraph (1) may include—
‘‘(A) any cooperating governmental agencies, including tribal governments; and
‘‘(B) any other interested groups or individuals.
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‘‘(i) REPORTING.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enact- ment of this section, and annually thereafter, the Chief and the Director shall report to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate and the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives on—
‘‘(1) the status of development, execution, and administra- tion of agreements or contracts under subsection (b);
‘‘(2) the specific accomplishments that have resulted; and
‘‘(3) the role of local communities in the development of
agreements or contract plans.’’.
of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999 (16 U.S.C. 2104 note; Public Law 105–277) is repealed.
SEC. 8206. GOOD NEIGHBOR AUTHORITY.
(a) DEFINITIONS.—In this section:
‘‘authorized restoration services’’ means similar and com- plementary forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration serv- ices carried out—
(A) on Federal land and non-Federal land; and
(B) by either the Secretary or a Governor pursuant
to a good neighbor agreement.
(A) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘‘Federal land’’ means land
Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976
(43 U.S.C. 1702)).
tion is prohibited or restricted by Act of Congress or Presidential proclamation (including the applicable implementation plan); or
(iii) a wilderness study area.
watershed restoration services’’ means—
forest, rangeland, and watershed health, including fish
and wildlife habitat.
watershed restoration services’’ does not include—
of public buildings or works.
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(4) GOOD NEIGHBOR AGREEMENT.—The term ‘‘good neighbor agreement’’ means a cooperative agreement or contract (including a sole source contract) entered into between the Secretary and a Governor to carry out authorized restoration services under this section.
(5) GOVERNOR.—The term ‘‘Governor’’ means the Governor or any other appropriate executive official of an affected State or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
(6) ROAD.—The term ‘‘road’’ has the meaning given the term in section 212.1 of title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act).
(7) SECRETARY.—The term ‘‘Secretary’’ means—
National Forest System land; and
of Land Management land.
(1) GOOD NEIGHBOR AGREEMENTS.—
neighbor agreement with a Governor to carry out author- ized restoration services in accordance with this section. (B) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY.—The Secretary shall make
each good neighbor agreement available to the public. (2) TIMBER SALES.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—Subsections (d) and (g) of section 14 of the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 472a(d) and (g)) shall not apply to services per- formed under a cooperative agreement or contract entered into under subsection (a).
(B) APPROVAL OF SILVICULTURE PRESCRIPTIONS AND
MARKING GUIDES.—The Secretary shall provide or approve
all silviculture prescriptions and marking guides to be
applied on Federal land in all timber sale projects con-
ducted under this section.
required to be made under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) with respect to any author- ized restoration services to be provided under this section on Federal land shall not be delegated to a Governor.