Summary: H.R.2807 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.2807. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (06/27/1991)

Forest and Community Survival Act of 1991 - Title I: Ecologically Significant Old Growth Forest Reserve System - Establishes the Ecologically Significant Old Growth Forest Reserve System in order to maintain and enhance northern spotted owl habitat, ecological diversity, old growth forests, and other areas that may be essential to species dispersal and the maintenance of genetic diversity. Provides for the immediate inclusion in the System of certain Federal lands in California, Oregon, and Washington while designating certain other Federal lands in such States as study areas for possible inclusion.

Requires the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior (the Secretaries) to prepare a map and legal description of the Federal lands and interests in lands under their respective jurisdictions that are included in the System or in a study area for filing with the appropriate congressional committees and for public inspection.

Allows each Secretary to recommend an adjustment of the boundaries of the System or a study area only if the recommendation meets certain criteria and is submitted to the appropriate congressional committees together with the reasons for the recommendation.

Bans timber harvesting in the System and study areas except to the extent necessary for the protection of the forest from insects and disease and for public safety, recreation, and administration. Requires lands in the System or a study area that do not meet the definition of old growth forest or are damaged by fire or other natural causes to be managed to regenerate old growth forest.

States that any management activity allowed in the System and study areas shall have as its primary purpose the maintenance and enhancement of the northern spotted owl habitat, ecological diversity, old growth forests, and such areas as may be essential to species dispersal and the maintenance of genetic diversity.

Withdraws Federal lands in the System and study areas from: (1) disposition under the public land laws; (2) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; (3) operation of the mineral leasing laws; and (4) operation of the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970.

Bans roads, structures, and motorized recreation and access in the System.

Allows roads, structures, and motorized recreation and access in study areas (except as otherwise prohibited or restricted) if the Secretary determines that they are compatible with the protection of old growth forest and northern spotted owl habitat.

Authorizes the Secretary concerned to permit hunting, trapping, and fishing in the System and study areas (except as otherwise prohibited or restricted) in accordance with applicable Federal and State law.

Requires the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct a review of: (1) the harvest requirements specified for the management of critical habitat areas; (2) the impact of these requirements on the old growth forest, the species associated with old growth forests, and the social and economic structure of the region; and (3) all feasible silvicultural methods for maintaining or enhancing habitat conditions for such species throughout their range on Federal land. Requires an NAS review of Federal lands in study areas to determine which such lands are suitable for inclusion in the System. Requires NAS to submit a report on such review to the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Congress that discusses the social, economic, and environmental impacts of various options, including those regarding Federal lands and interests affected by alternative definitions of old growth forest and boundary changes for the System. Requires such report to also contain NAS recommendations concerning the study areas that should be permanently included in the System or removed from consideration for inclusion in the System.

Provides that within one year of the NAS report required above, each Secretary shall recommend those study areas that should be permanently included in the System or removed from further consideration for inclusion in the System. Requires each Secretary, in making such recommendations, to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Makes such recommendations effective after they are submitted to the appropriate congressional committees.

Requires each Secretary to review such report for the purpose of determining whether the land and resource management plans for lands in California, Oregon, and Washington should be revised to take into account any management recommendations contained in the report.

Requires that if a Secretary fails to adopt a preferred management recommendation into such a plan revised after such review, the Secretary must identify in the final Environmental Impact Statement for the plan revision those management recommendations rejected or modified by the Secretary and the reasons for the rejection or modification.

Outlines standards for the management of Federal lands that are not included in the System or a study area but are within an area designated as critical habitat for the northern spotted owl during the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending upon the adoption of a revised land management plan for such lands as required above. Delineates separate standards applicable to lands outside of critical habitat areas during such interim period.

Requires the Secretaries to establish a joint research and monitoring program regarding the status and long-term outlook for the northern spotted owl. Outlines the research and monitoring components of the program. Subjects program results to scientific peer review.

Requires each Secretary to prepare a report for the Congress displaying the yields and financial and environmental costs of timber management investment opportunities for lands in California, Oregon, and Washington. Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to include in his report: (1) the reasons why specified Forest Service Region lands are not suitable for timber production pursuant to the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974; (2) the specific identity of those lands considered to be unsuitable for timber production solely due to difficulties in meeting the reforestation requirements of that Act; and (3) a description of those difficulties. Requires the Secretaries' reports on such investment opportunities to address opportunities for land exchanges with private landowners to consolidate Federal landholdings in such States to enhance reforestation and timber stand improvement.

Title II: Forest Planning Amendments - Amends the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 to: (1) provide for public participation in the adoption of constraints on the Federal land planning process; (2) allow public petitions in lieu of administrative appeals for amendments or revisions to land use plans, land and resource management plans, and planning process directives if the person filing the petition alleges and relies on new information or a new law or rule to support the proposed amendment or revision; (3) authorize the imposition of penalties for frivolous petitions or appeals; (4) require that if certain documentation pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 is required on an action implementing a land and resource management plan, such documentation must be tiered to the final environmental impact statement on the plan; (5) make an environmental assessment the most comprehensive level of environmental documentation required for an action implementing a land and resource management plan, except under prescribed conditions; and (6) require budget requests to disclose the amount of funds needed to fully implement the land and resource management plan for each unit of the National Forest System.

Title III: Economic Assistance and Forest Productivity Programs - Provides for increased payments under certain existing Federal laws for counties in Washington, Oregon, and California to assist rural communities.

Outlines provisions setting forth a program to provide grants and benefit payments to, and promote economic diversification and stability for, communities and employees that are economically dependent on National Forest System Lands and public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and that are adversely impacted by a declining timber supply. Includes as part of such program: (1) the establishment of a special economic adjustment fund in the Treasury to consist of five percent of the Federal portion of all moneys received each year from the sale of timber and other forest products from Federal lands; and (2) the distribution by the Secretaries of grants and benefit payments from such special fund to communities and employees who meet specified eligibility criteria.

Directs the Secretaries to establish a special initiative to improve the timber productivity on Federal, State, county, and private lands in counties that include communities eligible for program assistance. Requires the Secretaries, for the purpose of carrying out the initiative, to give a hiring preference to displaced employees and contract preferences to businesses that hire those employees. Specifies the components of such initiative, which include improved wood utilization.

Amends the Cooperative Forest Assistance Act of 1978 to earmark a portion of the amount authorized to be appropriated each year to implement the forestry incentives program for assistance in California, Oregon, and Washington for planning, reforestation, and timber stand improvement practices to further second growth management of timber resources to offset the expected decline in timber harvests from Federal lands as a result of listing the northern spotted owl as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Requires such assistance to be concentrated in those counties containing Federal lands designated as habitat conservation areas for the purposes of the protection and recovery of the northern spotted owl.

Amends the Knutson-Vandenberg Act to require the purchases of Federal timber harvested from lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management to make reforestation payments to the same extent as is required with respect to National Forest Lands.