Bipartisan bill to increase safety, reliability of electric grid on federal lands introduced in House

Published on April 10, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

Reps. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) recently introduced legislation designed to
enhance the safety and reliability of the electric grid on federal lands and reduce the threat of wildfires and electricity blackouts.

The Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act would make it easier for rural electric co-ops, utilities, and municipal power providers to legally remove trees that could potentially fall on and damage electrical equipment.

“Our utilities need a streamlined and consistent process for being able to get out on the ground and remove hazardous vegetation before it can cause a wildfire,” Schrader said. “This is exactly what our bill does.
State and federal laws require routine maintenance on federal lands, but bureaucratic red tape from federal agencies has been stalling that maintenance, slowing down our electrical utilities’ ability to safely supply dependable electricity.”

The bipartisan bill was cosponsored by Reps. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Jim Costa (D-CA), Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ). The Western Governors’ Association, the Edison Electric Institute and the American Public Power Association endorsed the bill.

“Management of our federal forests and lands is vital to protecting infrastructure, natural resources and American lives,” Westerman said. “This bill will ensure that commonsense measures are taken to protect power lines, conserve our public lands and reduce the threat of wildfire. I thank Congressmen LaMalfa and Schrader for working together in a bipartisan way to address such an important need, especially in western states where overgrown federal forests can ignite a power line, interrupt electricity service and hurt the environment.”