Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced the Stop CATASTROPHIES Act or the Stop Causing Alarming Tree, Air, and Soil Trauma Resulting from Obstructive Progressives’ and Hypocritical Environmentalists’ Schemes Act. This is the Senate companion bill to Representative Dan Newhouse’s (R-WA) bill of the same name.
Of the bill, Senator Lummis said, “For too long, litigious radical groups have hindered efforts to maintain and preserve our national forests under the guise of environmentalism. This bill would cut some of the red tape that these groups exploit to ensure that Wyoming’s and the nation’s forest managers have the resources and flexibility needed to actively manage forests and prevent wildfires.”
Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), agencies may be granted exclusions to certain requirements of the law for actions that do not individually or cumulatively have significant effects on the environment. These CE’s or “categorical exclusions” can reduce paperwork and save limited time and resources. 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 utilized on a greater scale.