(a) In general
Hazardous fuels reduction projects, as defined in section 6511(2) of this title may be—
(2) considered an action categorically excluded from the requirements of Public Law 91–190 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); and
(3) exempt from the special administrative review process under section 6515 of this title.
(b) Collaborative restoration project
(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 and disease, and reduce the risk or extent of, or increase the resilience to, wildfires;
(B) considers the best available scientific information to maintain or restore the ecological integrity, including maintaining or restoring structure, function, composition, and connectivity; and
(C) is developed and implemented through a collaborative process that—
(i) includes multiple interested persons representing diverse interests; and
(I) is transparent and nonexclusive; or
(II) meets the requirements for a resource advisory committee under subsections (c) through (f) of section 7125 of this title.
A project under this subsection may carry out part of a proposal that complies with the eligibility requirements of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program under section 7303(b) of this title.
(1) Project size
A project under this section may not exceed 3000 acres.
A project under this section shall be—
(A) Prioritized within the wildland-urban interface;
(B) If located outside the wildland-urban interface, limited to areas within Condition Classes 2 or 3 in Fire Regime Groups I, II, or III that contain very high wildfire hazard potential; and
(C) Limited to areas designated under section 6591a(b) of this title as of March 23, 2018.
(A) Permanent roads
(i) Prohibition on establishment
A project 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.
(B) Temporary roads
The Secretary shall 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.
(4) Extraordinary circumstances
The Secretary shall apply the extraordinary circumstances procedures under section 220.6 of title 36, code of Federal regulations (or successor regulations), when using the categorical exclusion under this section.
This section does not apply to—
(1) a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System;
(2) any Federal land on which, by Act of Congress or Presidential proclamation, the removal of vegetation is restricted or prohibited;
(3) a congressionally designated wilderness study area; or
(4) an area in which activities under subsection (a) would be inconsistent with the applicable land and resource management plan.
(e) Forest management plans
All projects and activities carried out under this section shall be consistent with the land and resource management plan established under section 1604 of this title for the unit of the National Forest System containing 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.
(1) In general
The Secretary shall prepare an annual 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.
Not later than 1 year after March 23, 2018, and each year thereafter, the Secretary shall submit the reports required under paragraph (1) to—
(A) the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry 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.
References in Text
Section 6511(2) of this title, referred to in subsec. (a), was in the original "the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6511(2))" and was translated as referring to section 101(2) of that Act, which is classified to section 6511(2) of this title and defines "authorized hazardous fuel reduction project".
Public Law 91–190, referred to in subsec. (a)(2), is Pub. L. 91–190, Jan. 1, 1970, 83 Stat. 852, known as the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, which is classified generally to chapter 55 (§4321 et seq.) of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 4321 of Title 42 and Tables.
March 23, 2018, referred to in subsec. (c)(2)(C), was in the original "the date of enactment of this Act" and was translated as meaning the date of enactment of Pub. L. 115–141, which enacted this section, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.1 So in original. Probably should be "Code of Federal Regulations".