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Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Wednesday, June 21st, 2017.

LaMalfa’s Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act Passes House

Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

June 21, 2017

 

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 1873, the Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act, introduced by Rep. LaMalfa and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR). The bipartisan legislation provides streamlined processes for the removal of hazardous trees or other vegetative overgrowth within or adjacent to electricity infrastructure – such as power lines – on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service lands, reducing the risk of forest fires and electrical grid blackouts. The bill passed the House by a margin of 300-118.

LaMalfa said: “It’s just common sense to remove a tree that is dangerously close to a power line, but current bureaucratic restrictions and red tape make that process much more difficult to do the work than it should be. As a result, delayed removal of hazardous trees can lead to electrical blackouts and forest fires. This is a lose-lose situation for forest health, air quality, habitat and energy reliability, while also leading to higher energy costs for consumers. Our bill solves this problem by streamlining the process for utility companies to remove dead or dying trees that are in danger of falling on a power line and others in need of trimming, while holding the Forest Service accountable for timely approval. I’m pleased this bill passed the House with bipartisan support and I hope the Senate will soon follow.”

Rep. LaMalfa testifies at a House Rules Committee hearing in support of H.R. 1873. [YouTube]

Under current law it can take months for utilities to receive Forest Service or BLM approval to remove hazardous trees from transmission lines right of ways, even if trees are already in contact with electric transmission lines. In 2012, 232 wildfires were caused by trees falling on power lines. The following year in 2013, 113 wildfires were caused by fallen trees.

H.R. 1873 provides utilities with the ability to rapidly remove hazardous trees by receiving pre-approval from the Forest Service to manage transmission line right of way zones and remove trees that are or could become hazards. Furthermore, if a utility requests authorization to remove a tree and is denied by the Forest Service, the Forest Service is responsible for any liability of firefighting costs that result from the failure to remove the tree.

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.

 

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