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Newhouse Introduces Legislation to Prevent Wildfires

July 20, 2021
Press Release
Stop Causing Alarming Tree, Air, and Soil Trauma Resulting from Obstructive Progressives' and Hypocritical Environmentalists' Schemes Act (Stop CATASTROPHES Act)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) introduced H.R.4573, the Stop Causing Alarming Tree, Air, and Soil Trauma Resulting from Obstructive Progressives' and Hypocritical Environmentalists' Schemes Act (Stop CATASTROPHES Act). This legislation enhances an important tool known as “categorical exclusions” to improve forest health to reduce the risk of wildfire.

“The Stop CATASTROPHES Act is commonsense policy that will act as a tool in combating catastrophic wildfires through proper forest management,” said Rep. Newhouse. “Far too often, misguided special interest groups prevent innovative management from being implemented, resulting in poor forest health and thereby increasing the threat of devastating wildfires. Active forest management, including actions authorized in my legislation, enables us to reduce hazardous fuels and is an important part of protecting our rural communities.”

“Every year, the number of record-breaking wildfires grows as we continue to neglect and properly manage our forests. They’re devastating rural communities, critical wildlife habitats and economies across America. Congressman Newhouse’s Stop CATASTROPHES Act will allow us to improve and restore lands in the National Forest System and on public lands to reduce the risks of wildfire. The Stop CATASTROPHES Act will work as a part of larger solutions like the Resilient Federal Forests Act, allowing us to address years of neglect and improve our lands for the enjoyment of generations to come,” said House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AR).

Click here to read the full text of the bill.

Background:

  • Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), agencies are allowed to issue categorical exclusions that do not individually or cumulatively have significant effects on the environment. Categorical exclusions may be excluded from further NEPA analysis.
  • Under this bill, categorical exclusions are expanded to include the removal of noxious weeds, hazardous fuel management, creating fuel/fire breaks, allowing fencing to improve wildlife habitat, erosion control devices and the creation of permanent infrastructure, such as stock ponds.
  • This bill also increases acreage caps for categorical exclusions to 10,000 acres in order to allow these forest management activities to be covered.

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