LaMalfa Urges Strong Forest Management in
Final Farm Bill Conference Report
RELEASE - CALIFORNIA CONGRESSMAN DOUG LAMALFA 9/20/18
(Richvale, CA) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale)
issued the following statement after sending a letter to
Agriculture Committee Conferees requesting they include
strong forest management provisions in the final Conference
Report of the Farm Bill. The letter was sent along with
other members of the Congressional Western Caucus.
LaMalfa said: “Wildfire season is at its worst in
California. The Carr Fire quickly became one of the most
devastating fires in the history of the North State, and we
have decades of poorly managed federal forests to blame. We
shouldn’t view worsening wildfires as simply inevitable, and
instead focus on actionable solutions. As dead trees pile up
and fires become increasingly severe, responsibly thinning
our forests is now more important than ever. It’s imperative
that any final conference report on the Farm Bill contains
strong provisions to strengthen forest management practices.
The House has approved a selection of reasonable and
uncontroversial recommendations, and we expect the committee
to seriously consider these provisions in the final report.”
A signed copy of the letter is
letter recommended the following policy adjustments be
included in the forestry title of the final Farm Bill of
Allow existing and any new Healthy Forests
Restoration Act authorities to be used within Fire
Regimes IV and V. See Section 8321 of H.R. 2.
Facilitate the use of Good Neighbor Authority by
expanding it to counties and tribes and codifying
existing practices concerning the flow of contributions
and receipts associated with these projects. See Section
8331 of H.R. 2 and Section 8624 of H.R. 2 EAS.
Accelerate post-fire restoration and reforestation
projects through either a new categorical exclusion or,
at the very least, by applying Sections 104 and 106 of
HFRA to post-fire projects carried out under the Forest
Service’s existing Emergency Situation Determination
authority. See Sections 8312 and 8334 of H.R. 2.
Establish an Action, No-Action authority for
Environmental Impact Statements and Environmental
Assessments to reward, incentivize, and protect projects
that are developed through a collaborative process with
diverse stakeholders. See Section 8335 of H.R. 2.
Apply Section 106 of HFRA (“balance of harms” and other
policies related to injunctions) to all forest
management projects, and expressly clarify that courts
must find that plaintiffs are “likely to succeed on the
merits” before enjoining a forest management project.
See Section 8336 of H.R. 2.
Establish and expand categorical exclusions for projects
that restore watersheds, protect water quality, improve
forest health, allow for critical response, address
insect and diseases, and reduce the risk of wildfire.
See Section 8107 and Sections 8311-8321 of H.R. 2 as
well as Section 8611 of H.R. 2 EAS.
Streamline approval of, and afford tribes greater
authority in, implementing projects under the Tribal
Forest Protection Act. See Section 8401 and 8402 of H.R.
Establish pilot arbitration authority and include
litigation reform to more swiftly resolve disputes over
important forest management projects. See Sections 301,
311, 811 and 812 of H.R. 2936 and (g) of Section 8339 of
Update extraordinary circumstances regulations in order
to allow expedited response. See Section 8503 of H.R. 2.
Improve consultation under the Endangered Species Act.
See Section 8303 of H.R. 2.
Establish a voluntary pilot program that would allow a
participating utility to conduct limited, proactive
vegetation management work outside of its right-of-way
on federal lands. This mitigation work should be
conducted at the expense of the participating utility in
order to better protect critical energy infrastructure
from passing wildfires that start outside of the right
of way. See Section 8502 of H.R. 2.
Fully remove what the Obama Administration called the
potentially “crippling” impacts of the Cottonwood
decision by applying to the “new information” trigger
under the Endangered Species Act the same reforms
that recent appropriations legislation established for
the listing of species and designation of critical
habitat. See H.R. 6567.
Fully Empower states to have a greater role in cross
boundary management and codify the Landscape Scale
Restoration program. See S. 962 as well as Sections 8104
and 8509 of H.R. 2.
Exempt Alaska from the 2001 'Roadless
Rule' and thereby boost forestry in several
National Forest System units in which it has been
artificially suppressed. See Section 8337 of
Allow new opportunities to conduct hazardous fuel
removal on landscapes that cross federal, state, county
and private property. See Section 8332 of H.R. 2.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing
California’s First Congressional District, including Butte,
Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta,
Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.