H.R.5319 - Healthy Forests and Wildfire Risk Reduction Act of 2002107th Congress (2001-2002)
Summary: H.R.5319 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)
Healthy Forests and Wildfire Risk Reduction Act of 2002 - (Sec.5) States that this Act shall apply only with respect to a hazardous fuels reduction project undertaken by the Secretary of Agriculture or the Secretary of the Interior on National Forest System or Bureau of Land Management lands, respectively, if such Federal lands: (1) are located in the wildland-urban interface; (2) are located in risk proximity to a municipal water supply system; (3) are other at-risk Federal lands; or (4) contain threatened and endangered species habitat. Limits fiscal year acreage to two million acres.
Reported to House amended, Part I (10/31/2002)
Excludes: (1) National Wilderness Preservation System lands; (2) Federal lands where vegetation removal is prohibited; and (3) Wilderness Study Areas.
(Sec. 6) Reserves at least 70 percent of hazardous fuels reduction program funds for each of FY 2003 through 2005 for projects on Federal lands in the wilderness-urban interface. Gives priority to projects that would provide the greatest protection to human lives and property.
(Sec. 7) Permits the Secretary concerned to implement a fuel reduction program without the full environmental review of alternatives required under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, unless the project entails construction of a new permanent system road. Provides for public notice and hearings.
(Sec. 8) Sets forth a Forest Service administrative appeals process under which: (1) appellants would have ten days to give notice of their intent to appeal, and 15 days to file an appeal; (2) the Forest Service would have 25 days to decide on the merits of the appeal; and (3) appeals review officers would have the discretionary authority to sign a new decision document at the end of the appeals process which would be considered the final agency decision.
(Sec.9) Provides judicial review only in the Federal district court with jurisdiction over the proposed project's location. Requires: (1) plaintiffs to file causes of action within 15 days of publication of notice of final agency action, after which the Secretary concerned shall stay the project until completion of judicial review; and (2) Federal district courts to decide the merits of an action within 60 days, with extensions under specified circumstances.
(Sec. 10) Requires General Accounting Office audits of this Act's implementation.
(Sec. 11) Authorizes through September 30, 2005: (1) the Secretary of Agriculture to enter into not more than 15 stewardship and end result contracts for hazardous fuels reduction projects; and (2) the Secretary of the Interior to enter into not more than 26 such projects, other than revested Oregon and California Railroad and reconveyed Coos Bay Wagon Road grant lands.
(Sec. 12) States that the processes established by this Act shall be available through September 30, 2005.
(Sec. 13) States that this Act shall not be construed to affect: (1) litigation involving the Roadless Area Conservation Rule; or (2) the authority of the Secretaries to implement hazardous fuel reduction projects under other available authorities on any Federal lands.
(Sec. 14) States that the Secretary concerned shall complete hazardous fuels reduction projects on Federal lands consistent with the implementation plan for the ``Collaborative 10-year Strategy for Reducing Wildland Fire Risks to Communities and the Environment,'' (dated May 2002).
(Sec. 15) Directs the Secretaries to jointly establish an independent monitoring panel.
(Sec. 16) Authorizes related appropriations for: (1) National Forest System lands; and (2) Bureau of Land Management lands.