Lofgren-Authored Wildfire Prevention & Power Shutoff Provisions Pass the House

September 24, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4447, the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act, which included provisions from U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) that were adopted by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee earlier this year. The bill helps prevent wildfires, supports Californians during public safety power shutoff events, and establishes a grid technology workforce program.

“It’s no secret that we’ve been seeing increasingly devastating wildfires and disruptive power outages in California that impact millions of families,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren. “I’m pleased that the House, under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi, rightfully advanced a package of bipartisan bills to address these issues while importantly modernizing America’s energy infrastructure and investing in a clean energy future for all communities. With measures to help ensure service predictability while, at the same time, providing emergency backup power, we’re looking out for homeowners and businesses.

She added: “This bill also includes an innovative technology workforce program and improved wildfire prediction models, which would help grow and protect local economies.”

The Lofgren provisions:

  • provide for the analysis and assessment of public safety power shutoff events under the grants program;
  • provide for technical assistance to states and other covered entities to standardize and coordinate data for the purposes of promoting resilience and wildfire prevention in the planning, construction, operation, and maintenance of transmission infrastructure;
  • provide for technical assistance to states and other covered entities to predict the likelihood of extreme weather events and their impact on transmission infrastructure;
  • provide for technical assistance to states and other covered entities to establish backup power for users or facilities affected by public safety power shutoff events; and
  • establish a workforce program for grid resilience technology.

The House also adopted amendments related to wildfires and wildfire smoke offered by California Democratic Congressional Delegation (CDCD) members, including Reps. Harder, Levin, Bera, McNerney, Panetta, and Thompson.

“I thank my colleagues for their leadership in addressing the pressing issues created by the surge of wildfires for Californians and all Americans,” said CDCD Chair Lofgren.

These amendments would, among other things, require the Centers of Excellence for Wildfire Smoke to study and address the negative health effects on outdoor workers; direct the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to generate a geospatial map that depicts wildfire risk around utilities to improve grid hardening and vegetation management; establish a program to improve wildfire smoke emissions modeling and develop smoke forecasts; direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to collect data and coordinate research on the impacts of acute air pollution exposure from wildfires; direct the DOE to improve electric grid safety and resilience during concurrent or co-located severe weather events; direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to collect data on and analyze the economic outcomes of wildland-urban interface fire mitigation; and establish a critical infrastructure and microgrid research program.