8 LONG TITLE
9 General Description:
10 This bill addresses catastrophic public nuisances.
11 Highlighted Provisions:
12 This bill:
13 ▸ defines terms;
14 ▸ states that a chief executive officer of a political subdivision or a county sheriff may
15 determine that a catastrophic public nuisance exists;
16 ▸ describes the criteria for determining whether a catastrophic public nuisance exists;
17 ▸ describes the procedure for serving notice of the catastrophic public nuisance
18 determination to the federal or state agency managing land; and
19 ▸ authorizes a chief executive officer of a political subdivision or a county sheriff to
20 abate a catastrophic public nuisance, under certain circumstances.
21 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
23 Other Special Clauses:
25 Utah Code Sections Affected:
27 11-51a-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
28 11-51a-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
29 11-51a-103, Utah Code Annotated 1953
30 11-51a-104, Utah Code Annotated 1953
31 11-51a-201, Utah Code Annotated 1953
33 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
34 Section 1. Section 11-51a-101 is enacted to read:
37 11-51a-101. Title.
38 This chapter is known as the "Catastrophic Public Nuisance Act."
39 Section 2. Section 11-51a-102 is enacted to read:
40 11-51a-102. Definitions.
41 As used in this chapter:
42 (1) "Catastrophic public nuisance" means a condition on state or federal land where
43 natural resources and biota have been managed or neglected to such an extent as to cause:
44 (a) the threat of a catastrophic wildfire demonstrated by:
45 (i) stand density, basal area, or ground fuel load greater than 150% of land health
46 standards; or
47 (ii) an insect or disease infestation severe enough to threaten the mortality of at least
48 20% of the trees in the area; or
49 (b) a condition in the area that threatens the:
50 (i) quantity or quality of the public water supply of a political subdivision;
51 (ii) health, safety, or welfare of the citizens of a political subdivision;
52 (iii) air quality of a nonattainment area; or
53 (iv) vegetative resources required to support land health and authorized livestock
55 (2) "Chief executive officer" means:
56 (a) for a municipality:
57 (i) the mayor, if the municipality is operating under a form of municipal government
58 other than the council-manager form of government; or
59 (ii) the city manager, if the municipality is operating under the council-manager form
60 of government;
61 (b) for a county:
62 (i) the chair of the county commission, if the county is operating under the county
63 commission or expanded county commission form of government;
64 (ii) the county executive officer, if the county is operating under the county-executive
65 form of government; or
66 (iii) the county manager, if the county is operating under the council-manager form of
68 (3) "County sheriff" means an individual:
69 (a) elected to the office of county sheriff; and
70 (b) who fulfills the duties described in Subsection 17-22-1.5(1).
71 (4) "Federal agency" means the:
72 (a) United States Bureau of Land Management;
73 (b) United States Forest Service;
74 (c) United States Fish and Wildlife Service; or
75 (d) National Park Service.
76 (5) "Federally managed land" means land that is managed by a federal agency.
77 (6) "Political subdivision" means a municipality or county.
78 Section 3. Section 11-51a-103 is enacted to read:
79 11-51a-103. Declaration of catastrophic public nuisance -- Authority to declare
80 and demand abatement.
81 (1) The chief executive officer of a political subdivision or a county sheriff may
82 determine that a catastrophic public nuisance exists on land within the borders of the political
84 (2) In evaluating whether a catastrophic public nuisance exists, the chief executive
85 officer of a political subdivision or a county sheriff may consider:
86 (a) tree density and overall health of a forested area, including the fire regime condition
88 (b) insect and disease infestation, including insect and disease hazard ratings;
89 (c) fuel loads;
90 (d) forest or range type;
91 (e) slope and other natural characteristics of an area;
92 (f) watershed protection criteria;
93 (g) weather and climate; and
94 (h) any other factor that the chief executive officer of a political subdivision or a
95 county sheriff reasonably considers to be relevant, under the circumstances.
96 (3) Except as provided in Section 11-51a-104, upon making the determination
97 described in Subsection (1), the chief executive officer of a political subdivision or a county
98 sheriff shall after consultation with the attorney general:
99 (a) serve notice of the determination described in Subsection (1), by hand or certified
100 mail, on the federal or state agency that manages the land upon which the catastrophic nuisance
101 exists; and
102 (b) provide a copy of the determination that is served under Subsection (3)(a) to the
103 governor, the attorney general, and if the catastrophic public nuisance exists on federally
104 managed land, the state's congressional delegation.
105 (4) The notice described in Subsection (3)(a) shall include:
106 (a) a detailed explanation of the basis for determination that a catastrophic public
107 nuisance exists on the land in question;
108 (b) a demand that the federal or state agency formulate a plan to abate the catastrophic
109 nuisance; and
110 (c) a specific date, no less than 30 days after the day on which the notice is received, by
111 which time the federal or state agency that manages the land shall:
112 (i) abate the catastrophic public nuisance; or
113 (ii) produce a plan for mitigating the catastrophic public nuisance that is reasonably
114 acceptable to the county or subdivision.
115 (5) The chief executive officer of a political subdivision or a county sheriff may enter
116 into a plan with the relevant federal or state agency, or both, to abate the catastrophic public
118 (6) If, after receiving the notice described in Subsections (3)(a) and (4), the federal or
119 state agency does not respond by the date requested in the notice or otherwise indicates that the
120 federal or state agency is unwilling to take action to abate the catastrophic public nuisance, the
121 chief executive officer of a political subdivision or a county sheriff shall consult with the
122 county attorney and attorney general.
123 Section 4. Section 11-51a-104 is enacted to read:
124 11-51a-104. Emergency abatement of a catastrophic public nuisance.
125 (1) If a chief executive officer of a political subdivision or a county sheriff determines
126 that a public nuisance exists on federally managed land, pursuant to Subsection 11-51a-103(1),
127 and the chief executive officer of a political subdivision or the county sheriff also finds that the
128 catastrophic public nuisance in question adversely affects, or constitutes a threat to, the public
129 health, safety, and welfare of the people of the political subdivision, the chief executive officer
130 of the political subdivision or the county sheriff may, after consulting with the attorney general,
131 pursue all remedies allowed by law.
132 (2) In seeking an emergency abatement of a catastrophic public nuisance, a chief
133 executive officer of a political subdivision or a county sheriff shall attempt, as much as
134 possible, to:
135 (a) coordinate with state and federal agencies; and
136 (b) seek the advice of professionals, including private sector professionals, with
137 expertise in abating a catastrophic public nuisance.
138 Section 5. Section 11-51a-201 is enacted to read:
140 11-51a-201. Limitation.
141 Nothing in this chapter limits:
142 (1) the authority of the state to manage and protect wildlife under Title 23, Wildlife
143 Resources Code of Utah; or
144 (2) the power of a municipality under Section 10-8-60.