Title: Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act
Vote Smart's Synopsis:
Vote to pass a bill that requires certain amounts of National Forests to be identified as commercial forest land and appropriates a portion of the revenue derived from the sale of national forest materials to the county in which the National Forest is located.
Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish Forest Reserve Revenue Areas within each unit of the National Forest System within 60 days of the enactment of this bill (Secs. 102 & 103).
Defines “Forest Reserve Revenue Area” as National Forest System land designated for sustainable forest management for the production of national forest materials and forest reserve revenues (Sec. 102).
Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to include in Forest Reserve Revenue Areas at least 50 percent of the National Forest System lands that are capable of producing greater than 20 cubic feet of timber per acre (Sec. 102).
Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to determine the annual volume requirement for a Forest Reserve Revenue Area within 30 days of its designation as such, and to immediately begin managing the area in a manner suitable to achieving the annual volume requirement (Secs. 103 & 104).
Defines “annual volume requirement” as a total harvest of forest materials that is at least 50% of the total possible sustainable harvest (Sec. 102).
Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to pay 25 percent of revenues derived from the sale of national forest materials in a Forest Reserve Revenue Area to state governments for the benefit of the counties in which the national forest is located (Sec. 105).
Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish community forest demonstration areas within a state at the request of an advisory committee appointed by the state’s governor, consisting of at least 200,000 acres and not more than 4 million acres of National Forest System land (Sec. 402).
Authorizes the advisory committee for a community forest demonstration area to retain revenue generated by the area to fund the management, administration, restoration, operation and maintenance, improvement, and repair of the area (Sec. 405).
Exempts the following categories of projects from provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 that require an environmental assessment or impact statement before implementation (Sec. 104):
Projects that are proposed in response to a catastrophic event;
Projects that cover an area of 10,000 acres or less; or
Projects that are hazardous fuel reduction or forest health projects involving the removal of insect-infested trees, dead or dying trees, trees presenting a threat to public safety, or other hazardous fuels within 500 feet of utility or telephone infrastructure, campgrounds, roadsides, heritage sites, recreational sites, schools, or other infrastructure.
Exempts forest health projects whose primary purpose is the salvage of dead, damaged, or down timber resulting from a wildfire occurring in 2013 from being subject to judicial review or any federal court injunction (Sec. 204).
Prohibits a U.S. Court from issuing a restraining order, preliminary injunction, or injunction pending appeal in response to an allegation that the Secretary of Agriculture violated a procedural requirement when selecting, planning, or analyzing a project involving hazardous fuel reduction or the management or sale of national forest materials within a Forest Reserve Revenue Area (Secs. 104 & 204).
Requires a plaintiff challenging a project that involves hazardous fuel reduction or the management or sale of national forest materials within a Forest Reserve Revenue Area to post a bond or other security to the court in order to cover the estimated costs, expenses, and attorney fees of the Secretary of Agriculture as defendant within 90 days of the start of legal action, or the action will be dismissed (Secs. 104 & 204).
Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to issue a determination explaining that a proposed project in a forest reserve is not likely to jeopardize the existence of any species listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, if the Secretary decides that the project might impact such a species (Sec. 104).
Establishes the Oregon and California Railroad Grant Lands Trust, that shall comprise all lands located on Oregon and California Railroad Grant lands and O&C Region Public Domain lands as of January 2013 and containing stands of timber that have previously been managed for timber production or that have been materially altered by natural disturbances since 1886 (Sec. 311).
Requires the Board of Trustees for the Oregon and California Railroad Grant Lands Trust to manage at least 50 percent of the total harvestable acres of the Trust lands for the purposes of generating the maximum sustainable revenue for the area (Sec. 314).