S. 1752, the Emergency Fuel Reduction Act, introduced by Senator Dean Heller (R-Nevada) and also co-sponsored by fellow Idaho Senator Jim Risch, would streamline the federal permitting process for projects that would reduce risk of wildfires to communities, and improve forest, watershed and rangeland health. Projects that would qualify for a more efficient process include projects providing for the removal of insect-infected trees, dead or dying trees; and removal of trees and other hazardous fuels close to power and phone lines, water delivery infrastructure, heritage sites, schools and other important infrastructure. Projects on federal lands containing fire-risks that pose a threat to adjacent private property owners and lands containing critical habitat for endangered or threatened species, and candidate species could also be considered for this permitting process.
I continue to maintain that the best way to manage our natural resources is through working together to advance locally-driven, collaborative solutions, and federal forest policy must support these efforts. Removing obstacles for common-sense projects to improve the health of our forests and reduce the threat of wildfire can help ensure a more productive environment for these collaborative solutions to take shape. As work continues to adjust federal budgeting to address the largest and most destructive wildfires as the natural disasters they are, we must make any other necessary changes to federal law to ensure forest managers have the updated tools they need to improve the health of our forests to reduce the threat to our communities and ensure the continued enjoyment and productivity of these natural resources.