LaMalfa’s Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act Becomes Law

Apr 13, 2018
Press Release
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after language from his legislation, H.R. 1873, the Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act, was signed into law last month as part of the overall spending agreement. The 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.
LaMalfa said: I’m extremely happy we were able to get this language signed into law, as it marks a significant step forward in helping to protect our forests and nearby communities from preventable fires. While it’s common sense to remove a tree dangerously close to a power line, overly burdensome restrictions continue to hinder basic vegetation management practices. We’re not talking about clearing thousands of trees. This bill simply allows a streamlined process for electric utility to maintain and manage their own transmission lines along rights-of-way land in order to avoid wildfires and blackouts – something the government should already be allowing in the first place. It just makes sense.” 
“This provision paves the way for electric co-ops to bolster system reliability by improving access to manage vegetation on public lands,” said Jim Matheson, CEO, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. “By reducing bureaucratic red tape, the legislation helps prevent delays that add to electricity costs while protecting safety, wildlife habitat and reliability of our power supply. Electric cooperatives appreciate the steady leadership of Congressman LaMalfa on this issue.”
“PG&E appreciates the efforts of Congress to send common sense vegetation management legislation to President Trump for his signature,” said Pat Hogan, Senior Vice President of Electric Operations for Pacific Gas and Electric Company.  “Thanks in part to Congressman LaMalfa’s leadership and balanced approach, this policy will improve worker safety and electric grid reliability, reduce wildfire risk, and help protect communities, the environment and natural resources.  We look forward to continuing to work with Congress to address wildfire threats and strengthen our communities for the future.”
Public power is extremely appreciative of Rep. LaMalfa’s efforts to get vegetation management legislation signed into law,” said Desmarie Waterhouse, Vice President of Government Relations & Counsel for the American Public Power Association.  “Our members with electric infrastructure on federal lands will be able to more easily trim vegetation that could come into contact with power lines and potentially cause outages and wildfires.  Enactment of this common-sense legislation will improve electric reliability, help reduce wildfires, and protect the environment.”
The Edison Electric Institute applauds the inclusion of important vegetation management provisions in the omnibus appropriations bill,” said Tom Kuhn, President of Edison Electric Institute (EEI).  “The provisions will improve coordination between electric companies and the federal land agencies, enhancing energy grid reliability and reducing wildfire risks through tree-trimming and other maintenance efforts around power lines that cross public lands. We thank Congressman LaMalfa for his work and leadership on this important issue.”
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.