Text: H.R.3432 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (11/15/2011)


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[Congressional Bills 112th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 3432 Introduced in House (IH)]

112th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 3432

   To authorize voluntary grazing permit retirement on Federal lands 
   managed by the Department of Agriculture or the Department of the 
    Interior where livestock grazing is impractical, and for other 
                               purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           November 15, 2011

 Mr. Smith of Washington (for himself, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. DeFazio, Mr. 
   Blumenauer, Ms. Schwartz, Ms. Lee of California, and Mr. Hinchey) 
 introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and in addition to the Committee on Agriculture, for 
a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for 
consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the 
                          committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
   To authorize voluntary grazing permit retirement on Federal lands 
   managed by the Department of Agriculture or the Department of the 
    Interior where livestock grazing is impractical, and for other 
                               purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Rural Economic 
Vitalization Act''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings.
Sec. 3. Definitions.
Sec. 4. Rural vitalization program.
Sec. 5. Effect of waiver of grazing permit or lease.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) The use of Federal lands by grazing permittees and 
        lessees for commercial livestock grazing is increasingly 
        difficult due to growing conflicts with other legitimate 
        multiple uses of the lands, such as environmental protection 
        and burgeoning recreational use, and with congressionally 
        mandated goals of wildlife and habitat protection and improved 
        water quality and quantity.
            (2) A combination of sustained drought, foreign 
        competition, changing domestic markets, industry restructuring, 
        and individual ranch finances has resulted in Federal grazing 
        permits and leases becoming stranded investments for many 
        permittees and lessees.
            (3) Attempts to resolve grazing conflicts with other 
        multiple uses often require extensive range developments, 
        intensive herd management, and continuous monitoring that 
        greatly increases costs to both permittees and lessees and 
        taxpayers, far out of proportion to the benefit received.
            (4) Certain grazing allotments on Federal lands have, or 
        are likely to become, unsuitable for commercial livestock 
        production as a result of the combined effect of the factors 
        referred to in paragraphs (1) through (3) and other factors.
            (5) The cost of the Federal grazing program greatly exceeds 
        revenues to the Federal treasury from grazing receipts.
            (6) Many permittees and lessees have indicated their 
        willingness to end their commercial livestock grazing on 
        Federal lands in exchange for compensation to reasonably 
        compensate them for the effort and investment that they have 
        made in a grazing allotment.
            (7) Compensating permittees and lessees who relinquish 
        their grazing permit or lease would help recapitalize an ailing 
        sector of rural America by providing economic options to 
        permittees and lessees that do not presently exist by allowing 
        them to restructure their ranch operations, start new 
        businesses, or retire with security.
            (8) Paying reasonable compensation for the relinquishment 
        of a grazing permit or lease will help alleviate the need for 
        permittees and lessees to sell or subdivide their private 
        lands.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Animal unit month.--The term ``animal unit month'' 
        means the amount of forage needed to sustain one animal unit 
        for one month, as determined by the Secretary issuing the 
        grazing permit or lease.
            (2) Commercial livestock grazing.--The term ``commercial 
        livestock grazing'' means the grazing of domestic livestock on 
        Federal lands as authorized by a grazing permit or lease. The 
        term does not include beasts of burden used for recreational 
        purposes.
            (3) Grazing allotment.--The term ``grazing allotment'' 
        means the designated portion of Federal land upon which 
        domestic livestock are permitted to graze by a grazing permit 
        or lease.
            (4) Grazing permit; lease.--The terms ``grazing permit or 
        lease'' and ``grazing permit and lease'' mean any document 
        authorizing the use of Federal lands for the purpose of 
        commercial livestock grazing.
            (5) Permittee; lessee.--The terms ``permittee or lessee'' 
        and ``permittee and lessee'' mean a livestock operator that 
        holds a valid existing grazing permit or lease.
            (6) Range developments.--The term ``range developments'' 
        means structures, fences, and other permanent fixtures placed 
        on Federal lands for the furtherance of the purpose of grazing 
        domestic livestock. The term does not include rolling stock, 
        livestock and diversions of water from Federal lands onto non-
        Federal lands.
            (7) Secretaries.--The term ``Secretaries'' refers to the 
        Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Interior.
            (8) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of Agriculture or the Secretary of the Interior, as appropriate 
        to the administration of a grazing permit or lease.

SEC. 4. RURAL VITALIZATION PROGRAM.

    (a) Waiver of Grazing Permit or Lease.--
            (1) Acceptance by secretary.--Subject to the limitation set 
        forth in subsection (c), the Secretary shall accept any grazing 
        permit or lease that is waived by a grazing permittee or 
        lessee.
            (2) Termination.--The Secretary shall terminate any grazing 
        permit or lease acquired under paragraph (1).
            (3) No new grazing permit or lease.--With respect to each 
        grazing lease or grazing permit waived under paragraph (1), the 
        Secretary shall--
                    (A) not issue any new grazing permit or lease 
                within the grazing allotment covered by the grazing 
                permit or lease; and
                    (B) ensure a permanent end to livestock grazing on 
                the grazing allotment covered by the grazing permit or 
                lease.
    (b) Waiver of Grazing Permit or Lease on Common Allotments.--
            (1) In general.--If a grazing allotment covered by a 
        grazing permit or lease that is waived under subsection (a) is 
        also covered by another grazing permit or lease that is not 
        waived, the Secretary shall reduce the level of commercial 
        livestock grazing on the grazing allotment to reflect the 
        waiver.
            (2) Authorized level.--To ensure that there is a permanent 
        reduction in the level of livestock grazing on the land covered 
        by the grazing permit or lease waived under subsection (a), the 
        Secretary shall not allow grazing to exceed the level 
        established under paragraph (1).
    (c) Limitation.--The Secretaries shall accept not more than 100 
grazing permits and leases, in the aggregate, per year under this 
section on a first come, first served basis.

SEC. 5. EFFECT OF WAIVER OF GRAZING PERMIT OR LEASE.

    (a) Effect on Range Developments.--A permittee or lessee who waives 
a grazing permit or lease to the Secretary under section 4 shall be 
deemed to have waived any claim to all range developments on the 
associated grazing allotment, notwithstanding any other provision of 
law.
    (b) Securing Retired Allotments Against Unauthorized Use.--The 
Secretary shall ensure that grazing allotments retired from grazing 
under this Act are rendered reasonably secure from trespass grazing by 
domestic livestock.
    (c) Relation to Other Authority.--Nothing in this Act shall be 
construed to affect the Secretary's authority to modify or terminate 
grazing permits or leases in accordance with other law.
    (d) Relation to Valid Existing Rights.--Nothing in this Act affects 
the allocation, ownership, interest, or control, in existence on the 
date of the enactment of this Act, of any water, water right, or any 
other valid existing right held by the United States, Indian tribe, 
State, county, municipality or private individual, partnership or 
corporation.
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