(To download a PDF of the Policy Update, please visit our publication library.)
An initial investment by USDA of $2.8 billion under the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity was announced. Implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) continues with the first meeting of the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission. Fiscal year (FY) 2023 appropriations have yet to pass as the end of September and FY 2022 inches closer. A stop-gap funding measure or Continuing Resolution (CR) is currently being negotiated to continue funding the federal government until the passage of the final appropriations bills.
Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities
The initial pool of 70 selected projects under the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities totaled $2.8 billion and will be followed by a second funding pool announcement later this year. The aim is to finance partnerships to support the production and marketing of climate-smart commodities via a set of pilot projects. The selected projects will:
- “Provide technical and financial assistance to producers to implement climate-smart production practices on a voluntary basis on working lands;
- Pilot innovative and cost-effective methods for quantification, monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas benefits; and
- Develop markets and promote the resulting climate-smart commodities.”
The full list of the first pool of selected projects can be viewed here.
Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission
The Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission (Commission) was established within the BIL and is made up of representatives from federal agencies, state, local and Tribal governments, and the private sector. They are tasked with crafting federal policy recommendations and strategies to better prevent, mitigate, suppress, and manage wildland fires. The Commission met for the first in-person meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, and now has one year to prepare a report with short and long-term policy recommendations to be submitted to Congress. Some of what the Commission has been tasked with includes recommendations:
- to maximize the protection of human life, community water supplies, homes, and other essential structures, which may include recommendations to expand the use of initial attack strategies;
- to facilitate efficient short- and long-term forest management in residential and nonresidential at-risk areas, which may include a review of community wildfire protection plans;
- to manage the wildland-urban interface;
- to manage utility corridors;
- to rehabilitate land devastated by wildland fire; and
- to improve the capacity of the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to conduct hazardous fuels reduction projects;
A full list of what is expected within this report can be viewed here. Nevada State Forester Kacey KC is serving on the Commission representing state forestry agencies.
FY 2023 Appropriations
During negotiations over the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Senator Manchin (D-WV) provided his support for passage on the condition that Senator Schumer (D-NY) agreed to include a proposal aimed at speeding up the country’s energy infrastructure projects in the CR. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022 to reform permitting was initially included in the proposed CR, but was met with strong opposition from both sides of the aisle, resulting in its removal. The spending bill is now likely to move through the Senate and House this week in order to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the FY.