Promoting Active Management of America's Forests, Rangelands, and Other Federal Lands To Improve Conditions and Reduce Wildfire Risk, 45-48 [2019-00014]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 4 / Monday, January 7, 2019 / Presidential Documents 45 Presidential Documents Executive Order 13855 of December 21, 2018 Promoting Active Management of America’s Forests, Rangelands, and Other Federal Lands To Improve Conditions and Reduce Wildfire Risk By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to protect people, communities, and watersheds, and to promote healthy and resilient forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands by actively managing them through partnerships with States, tribes, communities, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. For decades, dense trees and undergrowth have amassed in these lands, fueling catastrophic wildfires. These conditions, along with insect infestation, invasive species, disease, and drought, have weakened our forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands, and have placed communities and homes at risk of damage from catastrophic wildfires. Active management of vegetation is needed to treat these dangerous conditions on Federal lands but is often delayed due to challenges associated with regulatory analysis and current consultation requirements. In addition, land designations and policies can reduce emergency responder access to Federal land and restrict management practices that can promote wildfireresistant landscapes. With the same vigor and commitment that characterizes our efforts to fight wildfires, we must actively manage our forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands to improve conditions and reduce wildfire risk. In recognition of these regulatory, policy, and coordinating challenges, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture (the Secretaries) each shall implement the following policies in their respective departments: (a) Shared Management Priorities. The goal of Federal fire management policy for forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands shall be to agree on a set of shared priorities with Federal land managers, States, tribes, and other landowners to manage fire risk across landscapes. khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PRESDOC2 (b) Coordinating Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Assets. Wildfire prevention and suppression and post-wildfire restoration require a variety of assets and skills across landscapes. Federal, State, tribal, and local governments should coordinate the deployment of appropriate assets and skills to restore our landscapes and communities after damage caused by fires and to help reduce hazardous fuels through active forest management in order to protect communities, critical infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources. (c) Removing Hazardous Fuels, Increasing Active Management, and Supporting Rural Economies. Post-fire assessments show that reducing vegetation through hazardous fuel management and strategic forest health treatments is effective in reducing wildfire severity and loss. Actions must be taken across landscapes to prioritize treatments in order to enhance fuel reduction and forest-restoration projects that protect life and property, and to benefit rural economies through encouraging utilization of the by-products of forest restoration. Sec. 2. Goals. (a) To protect communities and watersheds, to better prevent catastrophic wildfires, and to improve the health of America’s forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands, the Secretaries shall each develop goals and implementation plans for wildfire prevention activities and programs in their respective departments. In the development of such goals and plans: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:01 Jan 04, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4790 Sfmt 4790 E:\FR\FM\07JAE0.SGM 07JAE0 46 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 4 / Monday, January 7, 2019 / Presidential Documents (i) The Secretary of the Interior shall review the Secretary’s 2019 budget justifications and give all due consideration to establishing the following objectives for 2019, as feasible and appropriate in light of those budget justifications, and consistent with applicable law and available appropriations: (A) Treating 750,000 acres of Department of the Interior (DOI)-administered lands to reduce fuel loads; (B) Treating 500,000 acres of DOI-administered lands to protect water quality and mitigate severe flooding and erosion risks arising from forest fires; (C) Treating 750,000 acres of DOI-administered lands for native and invasive species; (D) Reducing vegetation giving rise to wildfire conditions through forest health treatments by increasing health treatments as part of DOI’s offering for sale 600 million board feet of timber from DOI-administered lands; and (E) Performing maintenance on public roads needed to provide access for emergency services and restoration work; and (ii) The Secretary of Agriculture shall review the Secretary’s 2019 budget justifications and give all due consideration to establishing the following objectives for 2019, as feasible and appropriate in light of those budget justifications, and consistent with applicable law and available appropriations: (A) Treating 3.5 million acres of Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (FS) lands to reduce fuel load; (B) Treating 2.2 million acres of USDA FS lands to protect water quality and mitigate severe flooding and erosion risks arising from forest fires; (C) Treating 750,000 acres of USDA FS lands for native and invasive species; (D) Reducing vegetation giving rise to wildfire conditions through forest health treatments by increasing health treatments as part of USDA’s offering for sale at least 3.8 billion board feet of timber from USDA FS lands; and khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PRESDOC2 (E) Performing maintenance on roads needed to provide access on USDA FS lands for emergency services and restoration work. (b) For the years following establishment of the objectives in subsection (a) of this section, the Secretaries shall consider annual treatment objectives that meet or exceed those established in subsection (a) of this section, using the full range of available and appropriate management tools, including prescribed burns and mechanical thinning. The Secretaries shall also refine and develop performance metrics to better capture the risk reduction benefits achieved through application of these management tools. (c) In conjunction with establishment of goals, and by no later than March 31, 2019, the Secretaries shall identify salvage and log recovery options from lands damaged by fire during the 2017 and 2018 fire seasons, insects, or disease. Sec. 3. Coordination and Efficient Processes. Effective Federal agency coordination and efficient administrative actions and decisions are essential to improving the condition of America’s forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands. To advance the policies set forth in this order and the goals set by the Secretaries, the Secretaries shall: (a) Coordinate with the heads of all relevant Federal agencies to prioritize and promptly implement post-wildfire rehabilitation, salvage, and forest restoration; (b) Streamline agency administrative and regulatory processes and policies relating to fuel reduction in forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands and forest restoration when appropriate by: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:01 Jan 04, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4790 Sfmt 4790 E:\FR\FM\07JAE0.SGM 07JAE0 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 4 / Monday, January 7, 2019 / Presidential Documents 47 (i) Adhering to minimum statutory and regulatory time periods, to the maximum extent practicable, for comment, consultation, and administrative review processes related to active management of forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands, including management of wildfire risks; (ii) Using all applicable categorical exclusions set forth in law or regulation for fire management, restoration, and other management projects in forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands when implementing the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); (iii) Consistent with applicable law, developing and using new categorical exclusions to implement active management of forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands; and (iv) Immediately prioritizing efforts to reduce the time required to comply with consultation obligations under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Sec. 4. Unmanned Aerial Systems. To reduce fire and forest health risks as described in section 1 of this order, the Secretaries shall, in coordination with the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, maximize appropriate use of unmanned aerial systems to accelerate forest management and support firefighting and post-fire rehabilitation in forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands. Sec. 5. Wildfire Strategy. (a) In collaboration with Federal, State, tribal, and local partners, the Secretaries shall jointly develop, by December 31, 2020, a strategy to support local Federal land managers in project decisionmaking and inform local fire management decisions related to forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands, thereby protecting habitats and communities, and reducing risks to physical infrastructure. (b) In developing the strategy described in subsection (a) of this section, the Secretaries shall: (i) Identify DOI- and USDA FS-administered lands with the highest probability of catastrophic wildfires, as well as areas on those lands where there is a high probability that wildfires would threaten people, structures, or other high-value assets, in order to direct and prioritize actions to meet land management goals and to protect communities; (ii) Examine the costs and challenges relating to management of DOIand USDA FS-administered lands, including costs associated with wildfire suppression, implementation of applicable statutory requirements, and litigation; (iii) Review land designations and policies that may limit active forest management and increase the risk of catastrophic wildfires; (iv) Consider market conditions as appropriate when preparing timber sales, including biomass and biochar opportunities, and encourage export of these or similar forest-treatment products to the maximum extent permitted by law, in order to promote active forest management, mitigate wildfire risk, and encourage post-fire forest restoration; (v) Develop recommended actions and incentives to expand uses, markets, and utilization of forest products resulting from restoration and fuel reduction projects in forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands, including biomass and small-diameter materials; khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PRESDOC2 (vi) Assess how effectively Federal programs and investments support forest-product infrastructure and market access; (vii) Identify and assess methods, including methods undertaken pursuant to section 3(b)(iv) of this order, to more effectively and efficiently streamline consultation under the Endangered Species Act; (viii) In conjunction with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, identify methods to reduce interagency regulatory barriers, improve alignment of Federal, State, and tribal policy, and identify redundant policies and procedures to promote efficiencies in implementing VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:01 Jan 04, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4790 Sfmt 4790 E:\FR\FM\07JAE0.SGM 07JAE0 48 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 4 / Monday, January 7, 2019 / Presidential Documents the Clean Water Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.), Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), and other applicable Federal environmental laws; and (ix) Develop procedures and guidance to facilitate timely compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Sec. 6. Collaborative Partnerships. To reduce fuel loads, restore watersheds, and improve forest, rangeland, and other Federal land conditions, and to utilize available expertise and efficiently deploy resources, the Secretaries shall expand collaboration with States, tribes, communities, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. Such expanded collaboration by the Secretaries shall, at a minimum, address: (a) Supporting road activities needed to maintain forest, rangeland, and other Federal land health and to mitigate wildfire risk by expanding existing or entering into new Good Neighbor Authority agreements, consistent with applicable law; and (b) Achieving the land management restoration goals set forth in section 2 of this order and reducing fuel loads by pursuing long-term stewardship contracts, including 20-year contracts, with States, tribes, non-profit organizations, communities, and the private sector, consistent with applicable law. Sec. 7. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect: (i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or (ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals. (b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations. THE WHITE HOUSE, December 21, 2018. [FR Doc. 2019–00014 Filed 1–4–19; 8:45 am] Billing code 3295–F9–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:01 Jan 04, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4790 Sfmt 4790 E:\FR\FM\07JAE0.SGM 07JAE0 Trump.EPS</GPH> khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PRESDOC2 (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

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[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 4 (Monday, January 7, 2019)]
[Presidential Documents]
[Pages 45-48]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-00014]




                        Presidential Documents 



Federal Register / Vol. 84 , No. 4 / Monday, January 7, 2019 / 
Presidential Documents

[[Page 45]]


                Executive Order 13855 of December 21, 2018

                
Promoting Active Management of America's Forests, 
                Rangelands, and Other Federal Lands To Improve 
                Conditions and Reduce Wildfire Risk

                By the authority vested in me as President by the 
                Constitution and the laws of the United States of 
                America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

                Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United 
                States to protect people, communities, and watersheds, 
                and to promote healthy and resilient forests, 
                rangelands, and other Federal lands by actively 
                managing them through partnerships with States, tribes, 
                communities, non-profit organizations, and the private 
                sector. For decades, dense trees and undergrowth have 
                amassed in these lands, fueling catastrophic wildfires. 
                These conditions, along with insect infestation, 
                invasive species, disease, and drought, have weakened 
                our forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands, and 
                have placed communities and homes at risk of damage 
                from catastrophic wildfires.

                Active management of vegetation is needed to treat 
                these dangerous conditions on Federal lands but is 
                often delayed due to challenges associated with 
                regulatory analysis and current consultation 
                requirements. In addition, land designations and 
                policies can reduce emergency responder access to 
                Federal land and restrict management practices that can 
                promote wildfire-resistant landscapes. With the same 
                vigor and commitment that characterizes our efforts to 
                fight wildfires, we must actively manage our forests, 
                rangelands, and other Federal lands to improve 
                conditions and reduce wildfire risk.

                In recognition of these regulatory, policy, and 
                coordinating challenges, the Secretary of the Interior 
                and the Secretary of Agriculture (the Secretaries) each 
                shall implement the following policies in their 
                respective departments:

                    (a) Shared Management Priorities. The goal of 
                Federal fire management policy for forests, rangelands, 
                and other Federal lands shall be to agree on a set of 
                shared priorities with Federal land managers, States, 
                tribes, and other landowners to manage fire risk across 
                landscapes.
                    (b) Coordinating Federal, State, Tribal, and Local 
                Assets. Wildfire prevention and suppression and post-
                wildfire restoration require a variety of assets and 
                skills across landscapes. Federal, State, tribal, and 
                local governments should coordinate the deployment of 
                appropriate assets and skills to restore our landscapes 
                and communities after damage caused by fires and to 
                help reduce hazardous fuels through active forest 
                management in order to protect communities, critical 
                infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources.
                    (c) Removing Hazardous Fuels, Increasing Active 
                Management, and Supporting Rural Economies. Post-fire 
                assessments show that reducing vegetation through 
                hazardous fuel management and strategic forest health 
                treatments is effective in reducing wildfire severity 
                and loss. Actions must be taken across landscapes to 
                prioritize treatments in order to enhance fuel 
                reduction and forest-restoration projects that protect 
                life and property, and to benefit rural economies 
                through encouraging utilization of the by-products of 
                forest restoration.

                Sec. 2. Goals. (a) To protect communities and 
                watersheds, to better prevent catastrophic wildfires, 
                and to improve the health of America's forests, 
                rangelands, and other Federal lands, the Secretaries 
                shall each develop goals and implementation plans for 
                wildfire prevention activities and programs in their 
                respective departments. In the development of such 
                goals and plans:

[[Page 46]]

(i) The Secretary of the Interior shall review the Secretary's 2019 budget 
justifications and give all due consideration to establishing the following 
objectives for 2019, as feasible and appropriate in light of those budget 
justifications, and consistent with applicable law and available 
appropriations:

  (A) Treating 750,000 acres of Department of the Interior (DOI)-
administered lands to reduce fuel loads;

  (B) Treating 500,000 acres of DOI-administered lands to protect water 
quality and mitigate severe flooding and erosion risks arising from forest 
fires;

  (C) Treating 750,000 acres of DOI-administered lands for native and 
invasive species;

  (D) Reducing vegetation giving rise to wildfire conditions through forest 
health treatments by increasing health treatments as part of DOI's offering 
for sale 600 million board feet of timber from DOI-administered lands; and

  (E) Performing maintenance on public roads needed to provide access for 
emergency services and restoration work; and

(ii) The Secretary of Agriculture shall review the Secretary's 2019 budget 
justifications and give all due consideration to establishing the following 
objectives for 2019, as feasible and appropriate in light of those budget 
justifications, and consistent with applicable law and available 
appropriations:

  (A) Treating 3.5 million acres of Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest 
Service (FS) lands to reduce fuel load;

  (B) Treating 2.2 million acres of USDA FS lands to protect water quality 
and mitigate severe flooding and erosion risks arising from forest fires;

  (C) Treating 750,000 acres of USDA FS lands for native and invasive 
species;

  (D) Reducing vegetation giving rise to wildfire conditions through forest 
health treatments by increasing health treatments as part of USDA's 
offering for sale at least 3.8 billion board feet of timber from USDA FS 
lands; and

  (E) Performing maintenance on roads needed to provide access on USDA FS 
lands for emergency services and restoration work.

                    (b) For the years following establishment of the 
                objectives in subsection (a) of this section, the 
                Secretaries shall consider annual treatment objectives 
                that meet or exceed those established in subsection (a) 
                of this section, using the full range of available and 
                appropriate management tools, including prescribed 
                burns and mechanical thinning. The Secretaries shall 
                also refine and develop performance metrics to better 
                capture the risk reduction benefits achieved through 
                application of these management tools.
                    (c) In conjunction with establishment of goals, and 
                by no later than March 31, 2019, the Secretaries shall 
                identify salvage and log recovery options from lands 
                damaged by fire during the 2017 and 2018 fire seasons, 
                insects, or disease.

                Sec. 3. Coordination and Efficient Processes. Effective 
                Federal agency coordination and efficient 
                administrative actions and decisions are essential to 
                improving the condition of America's forests, 
                rangelands, and other Federal lands. To advance the 
                policies set forth in this order and the goals set by 
                the Secretaries, the Secretaries shall:

                    (a) Coordinate with the heads of all relevant 
                Federal agencies to prioritize and promptly implement 
                post-wildfire rehabilitation, salvage, and forest 
                restoration;
                    (b) Streamline agency administrative and regulatory 
                processes and policies relating to fuel reduction in 
                forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands and forest 
                restoration when appropriate by:

[[Page 47]]

(i) Adhering to minimum statutory and regulatory time periods, to the 
maximum extent practicable, for comment, consultation, and administrative 
review processes related to active management of forests, rangelands, and 
other Federal lands, including management of wildfire risks;

(ii) Using all applicable categorical exclusions set forth in law or 
regulation for fire management, restoration, and other management projects 
in forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands when implementing the 
requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.);

(iii) Consistent with applicable law, developing and using new categorical 
exclusions to implement active management of forests, rangelands, and other 
Federal lands; and

(iv) Immediately prioritizing efforts to reduce the time required to comply 
with consultation obligations under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

                Sec. 4. Unmanned Aerial Systems. To reduce fire and 
                forest health risks as described in section 1 of this 
                order, the Secretaries shall, in coordination with the 
                Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, 
                maximize appropriate use of unmanned aerial systems to 
                accelerate forest management and support firefighting 
                and post-fire rehabilitation in forests, rangelands, 
                and other Federal lands.

                Sec. 5. Wildfire Strategy. (a) In collaboration with 
                Federal, State, tribal, and local partners, the 
                Secretaries shall jointly develop, by December 31, 
                2020, a strategy to support local Federal land managers 
                in project decision-making and inform local fire 
                management decisions related to forests, rangelands, 
                and other Federal lands, thereby protecting habitats 
                and communities, and reducing risks to physical 
                infrastructure.

                    (b) In developing the strategy described in 
                subsection (a) of this section, the Secretaries shall:

(i) Identify DOI- and USDA FS-administered lands with the highest 
probability of catastrophic wildfires, as well as areas on those lands 
where there is a high probability that wildfires would threaten people, 
structures, or other high-value assets, in order to direct and prioritize 
actions to meet land management goals and to protect communities;

(ii) Examine the costs and challenges relating to management of DOI- and 
USDA FS-administered lands, including costs associated with wildfire 
suppression, implementation of applicable statutory requirements, and 
litigation;

(iii) Review land designations and policies that may limit active forest 
management and increase the risk of catastrophic wildfires;

(iv) Consider market conditions as appropriate when preparing timber sales, 
including biomass and biochar opportunities, and encourage export of these 
or similar forest-treatment products to the maximum extent permitted by 
law, in order to promote active forest management, mitigate wildfire risk, 
and encourage post-fire forest restoration;

(v) Develop recommended actions and incentives to expand uses, markets, and 
utilization of forest products resulting from restoration and fuel 
reduction projects in forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands, 
including biomass and small-diameter materials;

(vi) Assess how effectively Federal programs and investments support 
forest-product infrastructure and market access;

(vii) Identify and assess methods, including methods undertaken pursuant to 
section 3(b)(iv) of this order, to more effectively and efficiently 
streamline consultation under the Endangered Species Act;

(viii) In conjunction with the Administrator of the Environmental 
Protection Agency, identify methods to reduce interagency regulatory 
barriers, improve alignment of Federal, State, and tribal policy, and 
identify redundant policies and procedures to promote efficiencies in 
implementing

[[Page 48]]

the Clean Water Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.), Clean Air Act (42 
U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), and other applicable Federal environmental laws; and

(ix) Develop procedures and guidance to facilitate timely compliance with 
the National Environmental Policy Act.

                Sec. 6. Collaborative Partnerships. To reduce fuel 
                loads, restore watersheds, and improve forest, 
                rangeland, and other Federal land conditions, and to 
                utilize available expertise and efficiently deploy 
                resources, the Secretaries shall expand collaboration 
                with States, tribes, communities, non-profit 
                organizations, and the private sector. Such expanded 
                collaboration by the Secretaries shall, at a minimum, 
                address:

                    (a) Supporting road activities needed to maintain 
                forest, rangeland, and other Federal land health and to 
                mitigate wildfire risk by expanding existing or 
                entering into new Good Neighbor Authority agreements, 
                consistent with applicable law; and
                    (b) Achieving the land management restoration goals 
                set forth in section 2 of this order and reducing fuel 
                loads by pursuing long-term stewardship contracts, 
                including 20-year contracts, with States, tribes, non-
                profit organizations, communities, and the private 
                sector, consistent with applicable law.

                Sec. 7. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order 
                shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or 
the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget 
relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

                    (b) This order shall be implemented consistent with 
                applicable law and subject to the availability of 
                appropriations.
                    (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, 
                create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, 
                enforceable at law or in equity by any party against 
                the United States, its departments, agencies, or 
                entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any 
                other person.
                
                
                    (Presidential Sig.)

                THE WHITE HOUSE,

                    December 21, 2018.

[FR Doc. 2019-00014
Filed 1-4-19; 8:45 am]
Billing code 3295-F9-P