NACD Update on Infrastructure Package
In late July, Congress released its plans for a bipartisan infrastructure package. The package includes funding that proves critical for conservation efforts.
Highlights include funding at:
- $500 million for Watershed Operations
- $118 million for Dam Rehabilitation
- $300 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program
- $35 million for the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Hazardous Fuels Reduction projects
- $45 million for the DOI’s Burned Area Rehabilitation Programs
- $102 million for the U.S. Forest Service’s (USFS) Hazardous Fuels Reduction projects
- $45 million for the USFS’ Burned Areas Rehabilitation Programs
- $40 million for state and private forestry grants related to hazardous fuel work
The package also provides $65 billion for broadband. Although it isn’t a traditional conservation issue, NACD does have policy supporting broadband access.
While much of the package is funding related, this legislation also establishes fuel breaks in forests and other wildland vegetation areas for certain forest management activities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Finally, the Restoring Existing Public Land by Adding Necessary Trees (REPLANT) Act is also included in the bill. REPLANT removes the $30 million annual cap on USFS’s Reforestation Trust Fund. Funding for the program comes from tariffs on wood products. By removing the cap, USFS will have access to about $123 million annually. NACD has supported REPLANT since last year and is pleased to see it is included in this package.