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105th Congress                                            Rept. 105-346
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 1st Session                                                     Part 1
_______________________________________________________________________


 
                     FORAGE IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 1997

                                _______
                                

                October 24, 1997.--Ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


 Mr. Smith of Oregon, from the Committee on Agriculture, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2493]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Agriculture, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 2493) to establish a mechanism by which the Secretary of 
Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior can provide for 
uniform management of livestock grazing on Federal lands, 
having considered the same, report favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Forage Improvement 
Act of 1997''.
  (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Rules of construction.
Sec. 3. Coordinated administration.

            TITLE I--MANAGEMENT OF GRAZING ON FEDERAL LANDS

Sec. 101. Application of title.
Sec. 102. Definitions.
Sec. 103. Prohibited condition on issuance or renewal of grazing 
permits and leases.
Sec. 104. Monitoring.
Sec. 105. Subleasing.
Sec. 106. Coordinated resource management practices.
Sec. 107. Fees and charges.
Sec. 108. Resource Advisory Councils.

                        TITLE II--MISCELLANEOUS

Sec. 201. Effective date.
Sec. 202. Issuance of new regulations.

SEC. 2. RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.

  (a) Limitation on Application.--Nothing in this Act shall be 
construed to affect grazing in any unit of the National Park System, in 
any unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System, in any unit of the 
National Forest System managed as a National Grassland by the Secretary 
of Agriculture under the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act (7 U.S.C. 1010 
et seq.), on any lands that are not Federal lands (as defined in 
section 102), or on any lands that are held by the United States in 
trust for the benefit of Indians.
  (b) Multiple Use Activities Not Affected.--Nothing in this Act shall 
be construed to limit or preclude the use of, and access to, Federal 
lands (as defined in section 102) for hunting, fishing, recreational, 
watershed management, or other multiple use activities in accordance 
with applicable Federal and State laws and the principles of multiple 
use.
  (c) Valid Existing Rights.--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to 
affect valid existing rights, reservations, agreements, or 
authorizations under Federal or State law.
  (d) Access to Nonfederally Owned Lands.--Section 1323 of Public Law 
96-487 (16 U.S.C. 3210) shall continue to apply with regard to access 
to nonfederally owned lands.

SEC. 3. COORDINATED ADMINISTRATION.

  To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary of Agriculture and 
the Secretary of the Interior shall provide for consistent and 
coordinated administration of livestock grazing and management of 
Federal lands (as defined in section 102), consistent with the laws 
governing such lands.

            TITLE I--MANAGEMENT OF GRAZING ON FEDERAL LANDS

SEC. 101. APPLICATION OF TITLE.

  (a) Forest Service lands.--This title applies to the management of 
grazing on National Forest System lands, by the Secretary of 
Agriculture under the following laws:
          (1) The 11th undesignated paragraph under the heading 
        ``surveying the public lands'' under the heading ``UNDER THE 
        DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR'' in the Act of June 4, 1897 
        (commonly known as the Organic Administration Act of 1897) (30 
        Stat. 35, second full paragraph on that page; 16 U.S.C. 551).
          (2) Sections 11, 12, and 19 of the Act of April 24, 1950 
        (commonly known as the Granger-Thye Act of 1950) (64 Stat. 85, 
        88, chapter 97; 16 U.S.C. 580g, 580h, 580l).
          (3) The Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 (16 U.S.C. 
        528 et seq.).
          (4) The Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act 
        of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1600 et seq.).
          (5) The National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 
        472a et seq.).
          (6) The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 
        U.S.C. 1701 et seq.).
          (7) The Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978 (43 U.S.C. 
        1901 et seq.).
  (b) Bureau of Land Management Lands.--This title applies to the 
management of grazing on Federal lands administered by the Secretary of 
the Interior under the following laws:
          (1) The Act of June 28, 1934 (commonly known as the Taylor 
        Grazing Act) (48 Stat. 1269, chapter 865; 43 U.S.C. 315 et 
        seq.).
          (2) The Act of August 28, 1937 (commonly known as the Oregon 
        and California Railroad and Coos Bay Wagon Road Grant Lands Act 
        of 1937) (50 Stat. 874, chapter 876; 43 U.S.C. 1181a et seq.).
          (3) The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 
        U.S.C. 1701 et seq.).
          (4) The Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978 (43 U.S.C. 
        1901 et seq.).
          (5) The Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act (7 U.S.C. 1010 et 
        seq.).
  (c) Certain Other United States Lands.--This title also applies to 
the management of grazing by the Secretary concerned on behalf of the 
head of another department or agency of the Federal Government under a 
memorandum of understanding.

SEC. 102. DEFINITIONS.

  In this title:
          (1) Allotment.--The term ``allotment'' means an area of 
        Federal lands subject to an adjudicated or apportioned grazing 
        preference that is appurtenant to a commensurate base property.
          (2) Authorized officer.--The term ``authorized officer'' 
        means a person authorized by the Secretary concerned to 
        administer this title, the laws specified in section 101, and 
        regulations issued under this title and such laws.
          (3) Base property.--The term ``base property'' means private 
        land, water, or water rights owned or controlled by a permittee 
        or lessee to which a Federal allotment is appurtenant.
          (4) Commensurate.--The term ``commensurate'' means private 
        property of sufficient productivity to support the feed or 
        water needs (or both) of livestock during the period of time 
        that such livestock are not physically on the Federal 
        allotment.
          (5) Consultation, cooperation, and coordination.--For the 
        purposes of this title (and section 402(d) of the Federal Land 
        Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1752(d))), the 
        term ``consultation, cooperation, and coordination'' means to 
        engage in good faith efforts--
                  (A) to fully communicate; and
                  (B) to provide for a mutually supported action to 
                achieve a mutually agreed purpose.
          (6) Cooperative management agreement.--The term ``cooperative 
        management agreement'' means a written agreement between the 
        Secretary concerned (or a designee of the Secretary concerned) 
        and a permittee or lessee that--
                  (A) is consistent with and incorporates by reference 
                relevant provisions of existing land use plans; and
                  (B) provides the permittee or lessee with the 
                opportunity to exercise management flexibility beyond 
                the limits of an allotment management plan or a grazing 
                permit or lease that is not issued pursuant to a 
                cooperative management agreement.
          (7) Coordinated resource management.--The term ``coordinated 
        resource management'' means the planning and implementation of 
        voluntary management activities in a specified area that 
        involves the consultation, cooperation, and coordination of the 
        Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management (or both) with 
        affected State or Federal agencies, private land owners, and 
        users of Federal lands.
          (8) Federal lands.--The term ``Federal lands'' means lands 
        outside the State of Alaska that are owned by the United States 
        and are--
                  (A) included in the National Forest System; or
                  (B) administered by the Secretary of the Interior 
                under the laws specified in section 101(b).
          (9) Grazing permit or lease.--The term ``grazing permit or 
        lease'' means a document authorizing use of Federal lands for 
        the purpose of grazing livestock--
                  (A) within a grazing district under section 3 of the 
                Act of June 28, 1934 (commonly known as the Taylor 
                Grazing Act) (48 Stat. 1270, chapter 865; 43 U.S.C. 
                315b);
                  (B) outside grazing districts under section 15 of the 
                Act of June 28, 1934 (commonly known as the Taylor 
                Grazing Act) (48 Stat. 1275, chapter 865; 43 U.S.C. 
                315m); or
                  (C) on National Forest System lands under section 19 
                of the Act of April 24, 1950 (commonly known as the 
                Granger-Thye Act of 1950) (64 Stat. 88, chapter 97; 16 
                U.S.C. 580l).
          (10) Land use plan.--The term ``land use plan'' means--
                  (A) a land and resource management plan prepared by 
                the Forest Service pursuant to section 6 of the Forest 
                and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 
                (16 U.S.C. 1604) for a unit of the National Forest 
                System; or
                  (B) a resource management plan (or a management 
                framework plan that is in effect pending completion of 
                a resource management plan) developed in accordance 
                with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 
                (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) for Federal lands administered 
                by the Bureau of Land Management.
          (11) Monitoring.--The term ``monitoring'' means the orderly 
        collection of information using techniques that are 
        scientifically based and professionally accepted to determine 
        trend and condition of forage and related resources on Federal 
        lands. Such information may include historical information, but 
        must be objective and reliable. Such information shall be used 
        to evaluate--
                  (A) the effects of ecological changes and management 
                actions on forage and related resources; and
                  (B) the effectiveness of actions in meeting 
                management objectives.
          (12) National forest system.--The term ``National Forest 
        System'' has the meaning given such term in section 11(a) of 
        the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 
        1974 (16 U.S.C. 1609(a)), except that the term does not include 
        any lands managed as a National Grassland under the Bankhead-
        Jones Farm Tenant Act (7 U.S.C. 1010 et seq.).
          (13) Secretary concerned.--The term ``Secretary concerned'' 
        means--
                  (A) the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to the 
                National Forest System; and
                  (B) the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to 
                Federal lands administered by the Secretary of the 
                Interior under the laws specified in section 101(b),.
          (14) Sixteen contiguous western states.--The term ``sixteen 
        contiguous Western States'' means the States of Arizona, 
        California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, 
        New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, 
        Washington, and Wyoming.
          (15) Sublease.--The term ``sublease'' means an agreement by a 
        permittee or lessee that allows grazing on Federal lands by 
        livestock not owned or controlled by the permittee or lessee.

SEC. 103. PROHIBITED CONDITION ON ISSUANCE OR RENEWAL OF GRAZING 
                    PERMITS AND LEASES.

  The Secretary concerned may not impose as a condition for the 
issuance or renewal of a grazing permit or lease that the permittee or 
lessee provide access across private property unless the condition is 
limited to access for Federal personnel engaged in authorized land 
management activities.

SEC. 104. MONITORING.

  (a) Monitoring.--The monitoring of resource conditions and trends on 
Federal lands within an allotment shall be performed by a qualified 
person approved by the Secretary concerned and selected only from among 
the following:
          (1) Federal, State, or local government personnel.
          (2) A grazing permittee or lessee.
          (3) A professional consultant retained by the United States 
        or a permittee or lessee.
  (b) Monitoring Criteria and Protocols.--Monitoring shall be conducted 
according to regional or State criteria and protocols that are 
scientifically based, professionally accepted, and site specific.
  (c) Notice.--In conducting monitoring, the Secretary concerned shall 
provide reasonable notice of the monitoring to affected permittees or 
lessees, including prior notice to the extent practicable of not less 
than 48 hours.

SEC. 105. SUBLEASING.

  (a) In General.--The Secretary concerned shall authorize subleasing 
with respect to a grazing permit or lease, in whole or in part, only--
          (1) if the permittee or lessee is unable to make full grazing 
        use of the permit or lease due to ill health or death;
          (2) under a cooperative agreement with a grazing permittee or 
        lessee (or group of grazing permittees or lessees); or
          (3) if the grazing permit or lease is issued to a grazing 
        association whose members or shareholders have exclusive rights 
        to graze livestock on the Federal lands allotted to the grazing 
        association.
  (b) Treatment of Ownership by Relatives.--
          (1) In general.--Livestock owned by a relative described in 
        paragraph (2) of a permittee or lessee shall be considered as 
        owned or controlled by the permittee or lessee for purposes of 
        this title.
          (2) Covered relatives.--A relative referred to in paragraph 
        (1), with respect to a permittee or lessee, means a spouse, a 
        parent or spouse of a parent, a grandparent or spouse of a 
        grandparent, a sibling or spouse of a sibling, a child, or a 
        grandchild of the permittee or lessee.
  (c) Treatment of Lease or Sublease of Base Property.--The leasing or 
subleasing of the base property of a permittee or lessee, in whole or 
in part, shall not be considered to be a sublease of a grazing permit 
or lease. The grazing preference associated with such base property 
shall be transferred to the person controlling the leased or subleased 
base property, and all terms and conditions of the existing grazing 
permit or lease, or cooperative management agreement and the covenants 
of the allotment management, if such exists, shall bind such person.

SEC. 106. COORDINATED RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES.

  (a) Use of Coordinated Resource Management Practices Encouraged.--The 
Secretary concerned may encourage the use of coordinated resource 
management practices when such practices are authorized under a 
cooperative management agreement entered into with a permittee or 
lessee (or an organized group of permittees or lessees) in a specified 
geographic area. The coordinated resource management practices shall 
be--
          (1) scientifically based; and
          (2) consistent with goals and management objectives of the 
        applicable land use plan.
  (b) Federal Advisory Committee Act.--Activities under this section 
shall be exempt from the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. 
App.).

SEC. 107. FEES AND CHARGES.

  (a) Grazing Fees.--The fee for each animal unit month in a grazing 
fee year for livestock grazing on Federal lands in the sixteen 
contiguous western States shall be equal to the 12-year average of the 
total gross value of production for beef cattle for the 12 years 
preceding the grazing fee year, multiplied by the 12-year average of 
the United States Treasury Securities six-month bill ``new issue'' 
rate, and divided by 12. The gross value of production for beef cattle 
shall be determined by the Economic Research Service of the Department 
of Agriculture in accordance with subsection (e)(1).
  (b) Definition of Animal Unit Month.--For the purposes of billing 
only, the term ``animal unit month'' means one month's use and 
occupancy of range by--
          (1) one cow, bull, steer, heifer, horse, burro, or mule, 
        seven sheep, or seven goats, each of which is six months of age 
        or older on the date on which the animal begins grazing on 
        Federal lands;
          (2) any such animal regardless of age if the animal is weaned 
        on the date on which the animal begins grazing on Federal 
        lands; and
          (3) any such animal that will become 12 months of age during 
        the period of use authorized under a grazing permit.
  (c) Livestock Not Counted.--There shall not be counted as an animal 
unit month the use of Federal lands for grazing by an animal that is 
less than six months of age on the date on which the animal begins 
grazing on such lands and is the progeny of an animal on which a 
grazing fee is paid if the animal is removed from such lands before 
becoming 12 months of age.
  (d) Treatment of Other Fees and Charges.--
          (1) Amount of flpma fees and charges.--The fees and charges 
        under section 304(a) of the Federal Land Policy and Management 
        Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1734(a)) shall reflect processing costs 
        and shall be adjusted periodically as such costs change, but in 
        no case shall such fees and charges exceed the actual 
        administrative and processing costs incurred by the Secretary 
        concerned.
          (2) Notice of changes.--Notice of a change in a service 
        charge shall be published in the Federal Register.
  (e) Criteria for Economic Research Service.--
          (1) Gross value of production of beef cattle.--The Economic 
        Research Service of the Department of Agriculture shall 
        continue to compile and report the gross value of production of 
        beef cattle, on a dollars-per-bred-cow basis for the United 
        States, as is currently published by the Service in: ``Economic 
        Indicators of the Farm Sector: Cost of Production--Major Field 
        Crops and Livestock and Dairy'' (Cow-calf production cash costs 
        and returns).
          (2) Availability.--For the purposes of determining the 
        grazing fee for a given grazing fee year, the gross value of 
        production (as described above) for the previous calendar year 
        shall be made available to the Secretary concerned, and 
        published in the Federal Register, on or before February 15 of 
        each year.

SEC. 108. RESOURCE ADVISORY COUNCILS.

  (a) Establishment Required.--
          (1) Joint establishment.--The Secretary of Agriculture and 
        the Secretary of the Interior shall jointly establish and 
        operate a Resource Advisory Council on a State, regional, or 
        local level to provide advice on management issues regarding 
        Federal lands in the area to be covered by the Council.
          (2) Establishment by single secretary.--If the Federal lands 
        in an area for which a Resource Advisory Council is to be 
        established are under the jurisdiction of a single Secretary 
        concerned, that Secretary concerned shall be responsible for 
        the establishment and operation of the Resource Advisory 
        Council.
          (3) Exception to requirement.--A Resource Advisory Council is 
        not required in any State, region, or local area in which the 
        Secretaries jointly determine that there is insufficient 
        interest in participation on a Resource Advisory Council to 
        ensure that membership can be fairly balanced in terms of the 
        points of view represented and the functions to be performed.
          (4) Consultation.--The establishment of a Resource Advisory 
        Council for a State, region, or local area shall be made in 
        consultation with the Governor of the affected State.
  (b) Duties.--Each Resource Advisory Council shall advise the 
Secretary concerned and appropriate State officials on--
          (1) matters regarding the preparation, amendment, and 
        implementation of land use plans and activity plans for Federal 
        lands (and resources thereof) within the area covered by the 
        Council; and
          (2) major management decisions, while working within the 
        broad management objectives established for such Federal lands.
  (c) Voting.--All decisions and recommendations by a Resource Advisory 
Council shall be on the basis of a majority vote of its members.
  (d) Disregard of Advice.--If a Resource Advisory Council is concerned 
that its advice is being arbitrarily disregarded, the Resource Advisory 
Council may request that the Secretary concerned respond directly to 
the Resource Advisory Council's concerns. The Secretary concerned shall 
submit to the Council a written response to the request within 60 days 
after the Secretary receives the request. The response of the Secretary 
concerned shall not--
          (1) constitute a decision on the merits of any issue that is 
        or might become the subject of an administrative appeal; or
          (2) be subject to appeal.
  (e) Membership.--
          (1) Numbers.--The Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary 
        of the Interior (or the Secretary concerned in the case of a 
        Resource Advisory Council established by a single Secretary) 
        shall appoint the members of each Resource Advisory Council. 
        Such appointments shall be made in consultation with the 
        Governor of the affected State or States. A Council shall 
        consist of not less than nine members and not more than fifteen 
        members.
          (2) Representation.--In appointing members to a Resource 
        Advisory Council, the Secretaries or the Secretary concerned 
        (as the case may be) shall provide for balanced and broad 
        representation of permittees and lessees holding a grazing 
        permit or lease and other groups, such as commercial interests, 
        recreational users, representatives of recognized local 
        environmental or conservation organizations, educational, 
        professional, or academic interests, representatives of State 
        and local government or governmental agencies, Indian tribes, 
        and other members of the affected public.
          (3) Inclusion of elected official.--The Secretaries or the 
        Secretary concerned (as the case may be) shall appoint as a 
        member of each Resource Advisory Council at least one elected 
        official of a general purpose government serving the people of 
        the area covered by the Council.
          (4) Prohibition on concurrent service.--No person may serve 
        concurrently on more than one Resource Advisory Council.
          (5) Residency requirement.--Members of a Resource Advisory 
        Council must reside in the geographic area covered by the 
        Council.
          (6) Grandfather clause.--A person serving on the date of the 
        enactment of this Act as a member of an advisory council 
        established under section 309(a) of the Federal Land Policy and 
        Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1739(a)) for the purpose of 
        providing advice regarding grazing issues shall serve as a 
        member on the corresponding Resource Advisory Council 
        established under this section for the balance of the person's 
        term as a member on the original advisory council.
  (e) Subgroups.--A Resource Advisory Council may establish such 
subgroups as the Council considers necessary, including working groups, 
technical review teams, and rangeland resource groups.
  (f) Terms.--Resource Advisory Council members shall be appointed for 
two-year terms. Members may be appointed to additional terms at the 
discretion of the Secretaries or the Secretary concerned (as the case 
may be). The Secretaries or the Secretary concerned (as the case may 
be), with the concurrence of the Governor of the State in which the 
Council is located, may terminate the service of a member of that 
Council, upon written notice, if--
          (1) the member no longer meets the requirements under which 
        the member was appointed or fails or is unable to participate 
        regularly in the work of the Council; or
          (2) the Secretaries or the Secretary concerned (as the case 
        may be) and the Governor determine that termination is in the 
        public interest.
  (g) Compensation and Reimbursement of Expenses.--A member of a 
Resource Advisory Council shall not receive any compensation in 
connection with the performance of the member's duties, but shall be 
reimbursed for travel within the geographic area covered by the Council 
and per diem expenses only while on official business, as authorized by 
section 5703 of title 5, United States Code.
  (h) Federal Advisory Committee Act.--Except to the extent that it is 
inconsistent with this title, the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 
U.S.C. App.) shall apply to the Resource Advisory Councils.
  (i) State Grazing Districts.--Resource Advisory Councils shall 
coordinate and cooperate with State Grazing Districts established 
pursuant to State law.

                        TITLE II--MISCELLANEOUS

SEC. 201. EFFECTIVE DATE.

  This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall take effect on the 
date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 202. ISSUANCE OF NEW REGULATIONS.

  The Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior 
shall--
          (1) coordinate the promulgation of new regulations to carry 
        out this Act; and
          (2) publish such regulations simultaneously not later than 
        180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

                           BRIEF EXPLANATION

    H.R. 2493 provides for more uniform administration and 
management of domestic livestock grazing on National Forests 
administered by the Forest Service and public lands 
administered by the Bureau of Land Management in the sixteen 
contiguous Western States.

                            PURPOSE AND NEED

Background--Grazing on national forests and public lands

    Federal statutes controlling grazing on lands now 
administered as National Forests, BLM grazing districts, and 
BLM scattered parcels outside of organized grazing districts 
evolved from customary open range control practices of the 19th 
century. Prior to 1905, domestic livestock grazing on federal 
public domain lands in the West were regulated only under state 
and territorial laws pursuant to the police power reserved by 
the Tenth Amendment.
    In 1905 the first Chief of the Forest Service, Gifford 
Pinchot, was delegated authority under the ``Organic 
Administration Act'' (Act of June 4, 1897, Ch. 2, 30 Stat. 11, 
as amended; 16 U.S.C. 473-475, 477-482, 551) to issue permits 
to ranchers to graze their stock on Forest Reserve allotments 
(Congress renamed the Forest Reserves as National Forests at 
the request of the Forest Service in 1907). These permits were 
preferentially allocated to property owners who had 
historically used and depended upon forested grazing lands 
located near their privately owned homesteads. In the absence 
of explicit statutory authority, Pinchot issued a regulatory 
Use Book explaining that the objectives of his new grazing 
regulations were to conserve public resources and, among other 
things, protect the financial welfare of ranchers dependent on 
federal forest forage supplies by shielding them from outside 
competition. Forage supplies were apportioned among local 
ranchers based on prior use rates, but the total amount of 
forage allocated to livestock could not exceed the carrying 
capacity of the range.
    Since regulation of livestock grazing was not explicitly 
mentioned in the 1897 Act, the issuance of grazing permits was 
soon challenged in the federal courts. (Not until the Granger-
Thye Act of 1950 (Act of April 24, 1950, ch. 97, Sec. 11, 64 
Stat. 65) was enacted did Congress give the Secretary of 
Agriculture explicit authority to issue grazing permits and 
levy grazing fees).
    In 1911 the U.S. Supreme Court decided, in two related 
cases, that the Secretary of Agriculture's authority to issue 
and enforce administrative grazing rules, including grazing 
permits with attached terms and conditions, was lawful under 
the 1897 Act. The Court found that the issuance of grazing 
permits with attached terms and conditions was not an illegal 
delegation of legislative power at odds with the Property 
Clause of the United States Constitution. (Article IV, Sec. 3, 
cl. 2: ``The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make 
all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or 
other Property belonging to the United States . . .'' United 
States v. Grimaud, 220 U.S. 506; Light v. United States, 220 
U.S. 523).
    Not until the Taylor Grazing Act (June 28, 1938, ch. 865, 
48 Stat. 1269, 43 U.S.C. 315, 315a to 315n, 315o-1, 485, 1171) 
was signed into law by President Roosevelt was grazing on the 
public domain lands subject to similar regulation. The preamble 
to the Taylor Grazing Act declared that the purpose of the Act 
was ``to stop injury to the public grazing lands by preventing 
overgrazing and soil deterioration; to provide for their 
orderly use, improvement, and development; [and] to stabilize 
the livestock industry dependent on the public range.''
    Emulating the Forest Service, the Grazing Service in the 
Department of the Interior (renamed the Bureau of Land 
Management in 1946), issued grazing permits and leases to 
ranchers owning or leasing private property adjacent or near to 
the public domain lands upon which their stock had customarily 
grazed. These grazing permits and leases were issued to 
ranchers with ``base property'' of sufficient productivity ``to 
permit the proper use of lands, water, or water rights, owned, 
occupied, or leased by them . . .'' (43 U.S.C. Sec. 315b).
    In implementing the Taylor Grazing Act, between 1936 and 
the early 1950s the amount of forage allocated to each 
permittee or lessee was determined by administrative 
adjudication based on prior use rates and the aggregate supply 
of public domain forage available, under the principle of sound 
conservation, to all competing livestock operators. (See 
generally: Public Lands Council et. al. v. Babbitt, 929 F. 
Supp. 1436 (D. Wyoming 1996)). Temporary revocable grazing 
licenses were issued to public domain ranchers pending the 
final adjudication of grazing preferences (a term often used 
interchangeably to mean which rancher was entitled to receive a 
grazing permit and also the quantity of forage allocated by the 
permit, measured in mature animals per month, or AUMs). The 
locations upon which the stock grazed came to be referred to as 
a grazing allotment, a spatially defined parcel of rangeland 
aligned with prior use patterns.

Background--National grasslands

    In 1954, the Forest Service assumed administrative 
responsibility for the Land Utilization (LU) Grazing Projects 
located in the Great Plains, projects stemming from a 
Depression-era land condemnation and purchase program 
administered by the Soil Conservation Service under the 
auspices of the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act (July 22, 1937, 
ch. 517, 50 Stat. 522). The public use specified in the 
``Declarations of Takings'' filed in federal district courts 
upon condemnation and acquisition of the LU lands by the United 
States was, without exception, ``demonstrational livestock 
grazing,'' hence the name--LU Grazing Projects. As in the 
Taylor Grazing Act, Title III of the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant 
Act recognized that sound livestock management practices would 
promote the achievement of soil and water conservation 
objectives. (7 U.S.C. 1010-1012).
    Thus, as of 1954 the Forest Service administered regulated 
grazing programs on National Forests and on non-timbered 
grasslands acquired for the purpose of livestock grazing and 
accomplishment of soil and water conservation objectives. Just 
as the Forest Service had renamed the original ``Forest 
Reserves'' as ``National Forests'' in 1907, so too did the 
Service rename the LU Grazing Projects ``National Grasslands'' 
by means of a 1960 Secretarial Order. (Federal Register, June 
24, 1960).
    Subsequent statutes have expanded the scope of multiple 
uses permitted on National Forests, National Grasslands, and 
public lands. These supplemental authorities are identified in 
Section 101 (Application of title) of H.R. 2493, The Forage 
Improvement Act of 1997.

Background--Grazing Fees

    Fees have been charged for domestic livestock grazing on 
National Forests since 1906, a year after the Forest Reserves 
were transferred to the Forest Service from the General Land 
Office in the Department of the Interior. Although the Forest 
Service relied on the broad administrative powers given to its 
Chief in the Organic Administration Actof 1897 as an early 
rationale for setting grazing fees, explicit statutory authority did 
not exist until the Granger-Thye Act was passed in 1950.
    The Taylor Grazing Act gave the Secretary of the Interior 
authority to charge grazing fees on rangelands now administered 
by the Bureau of Land Management. But neither the Taylor 
Grazing Act nor the Granger-Thye Act gave specific direction on 
fee levels. The Taylor Grazing Act authorized the Secretary to 
charge ``reasonable'' fees for access to public domain forage. 
The word ``reasonable'' was not defined in the statute, 
however, providing the basis for a continuing federal grazing 
fee controversy. For example, Public Law 376, enacted August 6, 
1947, defined ``reasonable'' to include not only the permittee/
lessee, but also the local ranching-dependent communities--a 
congressional expression of community stability as a public 
policy concern in establishing the magnitude of federal grazing 
fees. This ``stability'' fee applied only to grazing on BLM-
administered rangelands.
    Not until 1969, under pressure from both Congress and the 
Bureau of the Budget, did both agencies adopt a uniform formula 
fee system. The purpose of the 1969 federal grazing fee system 
was to charge a single grazing fee in the West (except for the 
National Grasslands) that would, on average, keep total grazing 
costs on BLM and National Forest lands equal to total grazing 
costs on comparable privately-owned rangelands, all non-fee 
costs considered, using a common quantity of forage (the AUM or 
about 860 pounds of forage per month) as the unit of measure. 
For several different reasons, this 1969 fee system was 
contentious. Congress subsequently imposed four moratoria on 
increases in the federal grazing fee from one year to the next, 
with the last of the four included in Section 401(a) of the 
Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) (43 
U.S.C. 1701 et seq.). FLPMA also repealed the 1947 BLM 
community stability grazing fee system.
    Congress temporarily settled the grazing fee debate by 
enacting the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978 (Public 
Law 95-514, Oct. 25 1978, 92 Stat. 1803, 16 U.S.C. 1332, 1333, 
43 U.S.C. 1739, 1751 to 1753, 1901 to 1908), establishing a 
statutory grazing fee formula commonly known as the PRIA fee 
system. However, authority for the PRIA fee system expired 
December 31, 1985. Since February, 1986 the PRIA formula has 
been kept alive via Presidential Executive Order 12548 which 
set a minimum grazing fee of $1.35 per AMU. Since 1987 numerous 
bills to create a new statutory grazing fee formula have been 
introduced in Congress but none were enacted.

Need for Legislation-Non-Fee Issues

    Not since 1978 has Congress passed significant federal 
rangeland or western livestock grazing legislation. However, 
the Department of the Interior (joined initially by the Forest 
Service in the Department of Agriculture) did attempt a major 
administrative revision of Chapter 35 (Federal Land Policy and 
Management) of the Code of Federal Regulations known as Range 
Reform '94 via draft regulations published in the Federal 
Register on August 13, 1993, and revised and published as 
proposed regulations governing grazing on lands administered by 
the BLM on March 25, 1994. The proposed rules were the subject 
of an initial 120-day comment period that was scheduled to 
close on July 28, 1994. Numerous public meetings were held by 
the Department on the proposed regulations.
    No House oversight hearings were held on Range Reform '94, 
but the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a 
series of hearings in Washington,D.C., on April 20, 1994; in 
Albuquerque, New Mexico, on May 14, 1994; in Twin Falls, Idaho, on July 
8, 1994; in Richfield, Utah, on July 11, 1994; and in Casper, Wyoming, 
on July 15, 1994.
    Final grazing regulations were promulgated by the 
Department of the Interior on February 22, 1995 and published 
in the Federal Register. As a result of an informal agreement 
with several members of Congress, the regulations did not take 
effect until August 21, 1995.
    In 1996 a federal district court (Public Lands Council et 
al. v. Babbitt, 929 F. Supp. 1436 (D. Wyoming)) found four key 
provisions of the new regulations to be arbitrary and/or 
capricious, and, in three instances, in excess of statutory 
authority. These provisions were enjoined, and the decision now 
is on appeal to the 10th Circuit, United States Court of 
Appeals.
    Separately, the 104th Congress debated bills in both the 
Senate and the House of Representatives which would have, if 
enacted, superceded the Range Reform '94 regulatory initiative. 
S. 1459, sponsored by Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico, 
passed the Senate on March 21, 1996 and was reported to the 
House by this Committee on July 12, 1996. No further action was 
taken on the bill.
    In the 105th Congress, Representative Robert F. (Bob) 
Smith, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Member of 
this Committee, introduced H.R. 2493 to address six broad 
categories of issues. These issues were jointly drawn from the 
new federal rangeland grazing regulations issued by Interior 
Secretary Bruce Babbitt in 1995 (and supported by national 
environmental groups), and also from expressed needs of the 
western ranching industry and rural communities. The identified 
categories included (1) clarification of relevant terms widely 
used in federal grazing administration and in range science; 
(2) continuation of the multiple interest group Resource 
Advisory Councils established by Secretary Babbitt; (3) 
increased focus on science-based monitoring of changes in 
vegetation and other resources on rangelands conducted by 
trained professionals; (4) encouragement of coordinated 
resource management involving all interests, not just federal 
land ranchers; (5) clarification of circumstances under which 
subleases of federal land grazing allotments would be subject 
to surcharges by the federal government; and (6) implementation 
of a grazing fee formula approved by the Senate in the 104th 
Congress and continuation of the ten year term of grazing 
permits and leases. Because of strong opposition by 
environmental groups, a proposal to improve the management of 
the National Grasslands was dropped from the bill as 
introduced.
    A number of organizations have raised concerns about 
preserving access to federal lands for a variety of uses, 
including hunting, fishing, and other multiple use activities. 
Therefore the Committee believes it is appropriate to restate 
in this legislation (see section 2(b)) its commitment to open 
access to federal lands by explicitly noting that nothing in 
H.R. 2493 or the amendment in the nature of a substitute 
restricts access to these lands for lawful multiple use 
activities. Open access to the public lands has been public 
policy since at least the enactment of the Unlawful Inclosures 
of Public Lands Act (Feb. 25, 1885) which states that ``No 
person, by force, threats, intimidation, or by any fencing or 
inclosing, or any other unlawful means, shall prevent or 
obstruct . . . any person from peaceably entering upon . . . 
any tract of public land . . .'' (43 U.S.C. 1063).
    On the other hand private property owners are concerned 
that their constitutional rights also continue to be protected. 
Therefore, the Committee also believes it is also appropriate 
to restate its commitment to the rule of law by noting in this 
legislation (see section 103(b) of H.R. 2493 and section 103 of 
the substitute) that the Secretaries ``maynot impose as a 
condition on a grazing permit or lease that the permittee or lessee 
provide access across private property unless the condition is limited 
to access for Federal personnel engaged in authorized grazing 
administration activities. This provision is nothing more than a 
restatement of the holding by the Supreme Court in Dolan v. City of 
Tigard which states that:

          Under the well settled doctrine of `unconstitutional 
        conditions,' the government may not require a person to 
        give up a constitutional right... in exchange for a 
        discretionary benefit conferred by the government where 
        the property sought has little or no relationship to 
        the benefit. (512 U.S. 374, 385, 1994)

          Access to public lands and grazing are unrelated 
        issues. Ranchers pay a grazing fee for the use of the 
        forage, not for exclusive use of public land tracts. 
        Section 103 simply ensures that grazing permits and 
        access to America's public lands will not become 
        entangled through agency action, and will prevent 
        lawsuits on this issue.

Need for legislation--the grazing fee issue

    While the grazing fee issue was not addressed in the final 
regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the Interior on 
February 22, 1995, it has continued to be a significant policy 
dilemma. Several unsuccessful efforts have been made in 
Congress to pass an alternative statutory formula.
    The PRIA fee is complicated and widely misunderstood. It is 
based on a ``level playing field'' concept, attempting to 
equate total costs of grazing on federal lands with total costs 
of grazing on comparable private lands in the western states. 
This has been done by adjusting a ``base fee'' of $1.23 per 
head per month using annual changes in indices representing (1) 
prices received for livestock, (2) costs of producing 
livestock, and (3) comparable private grazing land rental 
rates. The $1.23 base fee was derived from a 1966 survey of the 
western livestock industry, and it represents the amount that 
would have been charged in 1966 to create a ``level playing 
field'' for both the federal and the private land ranchers, 
given all of the additional regulatory compliance, poorer 
livestock performance, and higher herd management costs 
incurred in grazing stock on federal lands.
    Over the past 19 years the PRIA fee has varied from a low 
of $1.35 per AUM (the floor amount set by Executive Order 
12548) to a high of $2.31. While the grazing fee buys only 
access to federal forage, the private grazing rental rate buys 
forage, exclusive use of the land, fencing, veterinarian 
services, insurance, and land and water improvements along with 
the livestock management provided by the landlord.
    Only occasionally has the PRIA fee recovered the costs of 
administering the BLM and Forest Service livestock grazing 
programs--costs reported by the respective Secretaries to 
Congress in 1992. Consequently, the PRIA fee system has been 
controversial because the complexity of the formula makes it 
difficult for the average citizen, agency administrator, or 
Member of Congress to evaluate the cost and quality differences 
between private and pubic grazing rates. Cost recovery analysis 
has also tended to ignore the large cost inefficiencies 
inherent in government resource management.
    The proposed new fee structure in The Forage Improvement 
Act of 1997 takes a different path in addressing these 
concerns. It can best be understood as a ``cash crop share'' 
arrangement. The crop is the average value of beef production 
per head per monthin the western states. The share is equal to 
the average rate of return on six month Treasury bills, a measure of 
what it costs the United States to borrow money. The averages are 
calculated over a 12-year period corresponding to the normal cattle 
market cycle, thus stabilizing prospective annual rates of change in 
the calculated grazing fee. There is a very close relationship between 
the cost of borrowing and lending for the Federal government with the 
six month Treasury bill borrowing rate being slightly higher. The 
opportunity cost of using public lands for grazing is the difference 
between what that land, converted to cash, would return if invested ( 
i.e. the lending rate) and the income produced from grazing on those 
lands. The fee formula in H.R. 2493 is equal or slightly greater than 
the opportunity cost of using the land for grazing and therefore 
represents an equitable return to the U.S. for use of the land for 
public forage.
    At current prices, this new fee proposal would increase the 
amount charged federal land ranchers by over 36 percent. It is, 
as the relevant statutes require, reasonable and equitable to 
both the user--the western rancher--and to the United States. 
Perhaps most importantly, this new fee is simple and easy to 
understand.

Need not addressed--Resolution of the National Grasslands issue

    Although H.R. 2493 as reported does not contain reforms to 
the administration of the National Grasslands, the Committee 
feels that such changes are needed. The Forest Service oversees 
over 131 million acres of National Forest System lands in the 
sixteen contiguous Western States, of which the National 
Grasslands comprise only 3.8 million acres. These acquired 
(i.e., not reserved from the public domain) lands are open 
grasslands that are part of the tall and mixed grass prairies 
of the Great Plains and the Forest Service has administered 
them since 1954 under statutes designed primarily for the 
administration and management of National Forests. The 
Committee believes that the National Grasslands can be more 
effectively and efficiently managed by the Secretary of 
Agriculture if administered as a separate entity from the 
National Forest System.

                      section-by-section analysis

Section 1. Short title; table of contents

    This Act may be cited as the ``Forage Improvement Act of 
1997.''

Section 2. Rules of construction

    (a) Limitation on Application.--The Act does not apply to 
lands administered as part of the National Park System, the 
National Wildlife Refuge System, Indian trust lands, or to the 
National Grasslands.
    (b) Multiple Use Activities Not Affected.--The Act does not 
limit or restrict the use of federal lands for purposes of 
hunting, fishing, recreation, or any other multiple use 
currently permitted under federal or state law.
    (c) Valid Existing Rights.--The Act does not affect valid 
existing rights, reservations, authorizations, or agreements 
under federal or state law.
    (d) Access to Nonfederally Owned Lands.--Existing law 
requiring that the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary 
of the Interior grant access to non-federal land is made 
applicable to this Act.

Section 3. Coordinated administration

    The Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the 
Interior shall, to the maximum extent practicable, provide for 
consistent and coordinated administration oflivestock grazing 
and management of federal lands, consistent with laws governing these 
lands.

            title i--management of grazing on federal lands

Section 101. Application of title

    (a) Forest Service Lands.--The Act applies to National 
Forest System lands, excluding the National Grasslands, 
administered by the Secretary of Agriculture under seven 
statutes.
    (b) Bureau of Land Management Lands.--The Act applies to 
lands administered by the Secretary of the Interior under five 
statutes.
    (c) Certain Other United States Lands.--The Act also 
applies to lands managed by either Secretary for grazing 
purposes on behalf of the head of any other agency under a 
memorandum of understanding.

Section 102. Definitions

    (1) Allotment.--This term means an area of Federal Land 
subject to an adjudicated or apportioned grazing preference 
that is appurtenant to a base property.
    (2) Authorized Officer.--This term means a person 
authorized by the Secretary concerned to administer this Act.
    (3) Base Property.--This term means private or other non-
federal land, water, or water rights owned or controlled by a 
permittee or lessee to which a Federal allotment is 
appurtenant.
    (4) Commensurate.--This term means private property of 
sufficient productivity to support the feed or water needs of 
livestock during the period of time that such livestock are not 
physically on the Federal allotment.
    (5) Consultation, Cooperation, and Coordination.--This term 
means to engage in good faith efforts: (1) to fully 
communicate; and (2) to provide for a mutually supported action 
to achieve a mutually agreed purpose.
    (6) Cooperative Management Agreement.--This term means a 
written agreement that: 1) is consistent with and incorporates 
by reference relevant provisions of existing land use plans; 
and 2) provides management flexibility beyond the limits of an 
allotment management plan or a grazing permit or lease.
    (7) Coordinated Resource Management.--This term means 
planning and implementation of voluntary management activities 
that involves consultation, cooperation, and coordination with 
federal and state agencies, private land owners, and users of 
Federal lands.
    (8) Federal Lands.--This term means lands owned by the U.S. 
outside of Alaska that are National Forests or public lands 
administered by the Bureau of Land Management.
    (9) Grazing Permit or Lease.--This term means a document 
authorizing the use of federal lands for grazing pursuant to 
the Taylor Grazing Act and the Granger-Thye Act of 1950.
    (10) Land Use Plans.--This term means a land use plan: 
prepared by the Forest Service pursuant to the Forest and 
Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974; or a land 
use plan developed by the Bureau of Land Management pursuant to 
the Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976.
    (11) Monitoring.--This term means the collection of 
information using scientifically based and professionally 
accepted techniques to determine trend andcondition of forage 
and related resources on Federal lands. Such information may include 
historical information, but must be objective and reliable. This 
information shall be used to evaluate: (1) the effects of ecological 
changes and management actions on forage and related resources; and (2) 
the effectiveness of actions in meeting management objectives.
    (12) National Forest System.--This term means National 
Forests, but not the National Grasslands. The definition is for 
use in implementing this Act only and is not intended to remove 
the National Grasslands from the National Forest System or to 
change the way that these lands are currently administered.
    (13) Secretary Concerned.--This term means either the 
Secretary of Agriculture or the Secretary of the Interior with 
regard to lands administered respectively.
    (14) Sixteen Contiguous States.--This term means the States 
of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, 
Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, 
South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Section 103. Prohibited condition in issuance or renewal of grazing 
        permits and leases

    Access across private property may not be imposed as a 
condition to a permit or lease unless the condition is limited 
to access for Federal personnel engaged in authorized land 
management activities.
    This provision restates the Supreme Court's holding in 
Dolan v. City of Tigard (512 U.S. 374, 1994). (See discussion 
of this case under the heading ``Need for Legislation--Non-Fee 
Issues'', above.)

Section 104. Monitoring and inspection

    (a) Monitoring.--Monitoring of trends and conditions on 
Federal lands within grazing allotments shall be performed by: 
Federal, State, or local government personnel; grazing 
permittees and lessees; or professional consultants retained by 
the United States or a permittee, or a lessee.
    Neither the Forest Service nor the Bureau of Land 
Management is currently able to devote the resources necessary 
to base management decisions on empirical data. This section 
permits the Secretaries to expand their monitoring activities 
while improving the quality of data collected.
    The substitute deletes section 104(b) ``Inspection'' of H.R 
2493. Therefore, the authority of the Secretary concerned to 
inspect federal lands subject to grazing permits or leases is 
unaffected by this Act.
    (b) Monitoring Criteria and Protocols.--Monitoring shall be 
conducted according to regional or state criteria and protocols 
that are scientifically based, professionally accepted, and 
site specific.
    (c) Notice.--Permittees and lessees will be given 
reasonable notice of monitoring activities, including prior 
notice of 48 hours, to the extent practicable.

Section 105. Subleasing

    (a) In General.--The Secretary concerned shall authorize 
subleasing only when the permittee or lessee: (1) is unable to 
make full grazing use of the permit or lease due to ill health 
or death; (2) is a participant in a cooperative agreement with 
another permittee or lessee; (3) is a member of a grazing 
association whose shareholders have exclusive rights to graze 
livestock on the Federal lands allotted to the grazing 
association.
    (b) Treatment of Ownership By Relatives.--Livestock owned 
by certain relatives is considered to be owned or controlled by 
the permittee or lessee.
    (c) Treatment of Lease or Sublease of Base Property.--The 
leasing or subleasing of the base property, in whole or in 
part, of a permittee or leasee shall not be considered to be a 
sublease of the grazing permit or lease and the grazing 
preference associated with such base property shall be 
transferred to the person controlling the base property.

Section 106. Coordinated resource management practices

    (a) Use of Coordinated Resource Management Encouraged.--The 
Secretary concerned may encourage the use of coordinated 
resource management practices when these practices are 
authorized under a cooperative management agreement. The 
coordinated resource management practices shall be: (1) 
scientifically based; and (2) consistent with the goals and 
management objectives of the applicable land use plan.
    (b) Federal Advisory Committee Act.--Activities under this 
section are exempt from FACA.

Section 107. Fees and charges

    (a) Grazing Fees.--The fee formula for each animal unit 
month in a grazing fee year shall be equal to the 12 year 
average for the total gross value of production for beef cattle 
for the 12 years preceding the grazing fee year, multiplied by 
the 12 year average of the United States Treasury Securities 
six-month bill ``new issue'' rate, and divided by 12 to provide 
a monthly figure. The formula uses a 12 year average because 
livestock prices historically have a 12 year market cycle.
    According to testimony presented by a range economist at 
the hearing held in the Committee on Agriculture on September 
17, 1997, the fee formula contained in this legislation would 
have resulted in higher grazing fees in 12 of the last 15 years 
compared to fees collected under the current formula.
    (b) Definition of Animal Unit Month.--An animal unit month 
is defined as: (1) one cow, bull, steer, heifer, horse, burro, 
or mule, seven sheep, or seven goats, each of which is six 
months or older; (2) any such animal if the animal is weaned on 
the date on which it begins grazing; and (3) any such animal 
that will become 12 months of age during a period of use 
authorized under a grazing permit.
    (c) Livestock Not Counted.--Animals less than six months 
old on the date on which it began grazing and is the progeny of 
an animal on which a grazing fee is paid are not counted in the 
fee, if the animal is removed before it is a year old.
    (d) Treatment of Other Fees and Charges.--Fees and charges 
under section 304(a) of the Federal Land Policy and Management 
Act of 1976 shall not exceed the actual administrative and 
processing costs incurred.
    (e) Criteria for Economic Research Service.--The Economic 
Research Service of U.S.D.A. shall continue to compile and 
report the gross value of production of beef cattle as 
currently published in an existing document.
    The substitute deletes subsection 107(d)(1) of the bill as 
introduced which mandated certain fees. Nothing in the 
substitute affects the existing authority of the Secretaries to 
charge fees for grazing related services currently authorized 
by law.

Section 108. Resource Advisory Councils

    (a) Establishment.--The Secretary of Agriculture and the 
Secretary of the Interior shall, in consultation with the 
Governor of the affected State establish, separately or 
jointly, Resource Advisory Councils (RACs) on a State, 
regional, or local level to provide advice on management issues 
regarding Federal lands within the area to be covered by such 
Council.
    To the extent practicable, the Secretaries shall implement 
this section by modifying existing RACs. Given that the 
Secretary of the Interior has already established RACs in those 
areas where it is appropriate to do so, the Committee intends 
that the Forest Service participate in any existing RAC 
containing National Forest lands within its geographic boundary 
and that the Secretary of Agriculture separately establish RACs 
only in geographic areas containing National Forest lands 
outside of existing RACs.
    (b) Duties.--Each Resource Advisory Council shall advise 
the Secretary concerned and appropriate State officials on land 
use planning within the areas covered by the Council and shall 
also advise on major management decisions.
    (c) Voting.--Councils shall use majority voting. The 
Committee intends the section to correct certain practices that 
violate the spirit of sec. 5(b)(3) of the Federal Advisory 
Committee Act which states that each standing committee of the 
House and Senate shall enact legislation that contains 
``appropriate provisions to assure that the advice and 
recommendations of the advisory committees will not be 
inappropriately influenced by the appointing authority or by 
any special interest, but will instead be the result of the 
advisory committee's independent judgment.''
    Currently RACs use non-consensus, bloc or ``pod'' voting 
designed to manipulate the influence of one interest group or 
another, a practice that violates basic notions of fairness and 
independence. The Committee believes that the ``one man, one 
vote'' principle constitutionally required for elections is the 
appropriate standard for RACs established under this Act
    (d) Disregard of Advice.--If a RAC thinks its advice is 
being arbitrarily disregarded, it may request an explanation 
from the Secretary, who shall respond to the Council within 60 
days.
    (e) Membership.--The Secretaries, in consultation with the 
Governor of the affected State or States, shall jointly appoint 
the members of each Resource Advisory Council. A Council shall 
consist of not less than nine members and not more than fifteen 
members. The Secretaries shall appoint a balanced and broad 
representation of permittees and lessees and members from other 
groups, such as commercial interests, recreational users, 
representatives of recognized local environmental or 
conservation organizations, educational, professional, or 
academic interests representatives of States and local 
government or governmental agencies, Indian tribes, and other 
members of the affected public. At least one elected official 
of a general purpose government shall also be appointed. 
Members must reside in the geographic area covered by the 
Council. Members of existing councils are ``grandfathered'' for 
the balance of their terms.
    (f) Terms.--Members shall be appointed for two year terms 
and the Secretaries, with the concurrence of the Governor of 
the State of which the council is located, may terminate the 
services of a Member under specified circumstances.
    The substitute deletes as unnecessary a provision which 
would permit the removal of a council member for conviction of 
a federal felony. Another provision in this subsection permits 
removal for any reason the Secretaries deem to be in the public 
interest, which encompasses the deleted provision.
    (g) Compensation and Reimbursement of Expenses.--Members 
may not be compensated but travel expenses and per diem may be 
reimbursed under certain circumstances.
    (h) Federal Advisory Committee Act.--The Federal Advisory 
Committee Act applies to the extent that it is not inconsistent 
with the provisions of this Act.
    (i) Resources Advisory Councils shall coordinate and 
cooperate with state grazing districts established pursuant to 
State law.

                         TITLE II-MISCELLANEOUS

Section 201. Effective date.

    The Act will be effective upon the date of enactment.

Section 202. Issuance of new regulations.

    The Secretaries shall coordinate the promulgation of new 
regulations to carry out the Act and shall publish such 
regulations simultaneously not later than 180 days after the 
date of the enactment of this Act.
     The Committee notes that the Secretary of the Interior 
established present RACs using his existing legal and 
administrative resources. The Committee sees no reason why the 
modification of the present system to implement this Act will 
impose an undue burden on existing resources. Likewise, the 
limited number of RAC's which would contain only National 
Forest Lands should not be beyond the existing resources of the 
Secretary of Agriculture.

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

I--Hearings

    On September 17, 1997 The Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, 
and Poultry held a hearing on the legislative language 
identical to that introduced as H.R. 2493, the Forage 
Improvement Act of 1997, by Chairman Bob Smith the following 
day, September 18, 1997. Testimony was taken from 
representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. 
Department of the Interior, the Public Lands Council, the 
Wilderness Society, the New Mexico Public Lands Council, the 
National Wildlife Federation, the American Farm Bureau 
Federation, and University Professors.

II--Full committee

     The Committee on Agriculture met, pursuant to notice and 
with a quorum present, on September 24, 1997, to consider H.R. 
2493 and other pending business.
    Chairman Smith offered an Amendment in the Nature of a 
Substitute to H.R. 2493, asked for and received unanimous 
consent to have the bill considered as original text for 
purpose of amendment. Counsel gave a brief description of the 
Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute.
    After a brief statement by Chairman Smith, Mr. Pomeroy 
asked that the Committee include report language which would 
indicate that the Committee would continue to explore ways to 
reform administration of the National Grasslands in a manner 
that addresses and promotes both agriculture and other natural 
resource values. Chairman Smith indicated that he would 
continue to work with Mr. Pomeroy on this issue.
    Mr. Barrett then offered a motion that the bill H.R. 2493, 
as amended, be adopted and favorably reported to the House with 
the recommendation that it do pass. Mr. Barrett's motion was 
agreed to by a voice vote of the Committee.

                   REPORTING THE BILL--ROLLCALL VOTES

    In compliance with clause 2(l)(2) of rule XI of the House 
of Representatives, H.R. 2493 was reported by voice vote with a 
majority quorum present. There was no request for a recorded 
vote.

           BUDGET ACT COMPLIANCE (SECTIONS 308, 403, AND 424)

    The provisions of clause 2(l)(3)(B) of rule XI of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 308(a)(1) of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (relating to estimates of new 
budget authority, new spending authority, new credit authority, 
or increased or decreased revenues or tax expenditures) are not 
considered applicable. The estimate and comparison required to 
be prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
under clause 2(l)(3)(C) of rule XI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and sections 403 and 424 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974 submitted to the Committee prior to the 
filing of this report are as follows:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, October 1, 1997.
Hon. Robert F. Smith,
Chairman, Committee on Agriculture,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2493, the Forage 
Improvement Act of 1997.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Victoria V. 
Heid (for federal costs) and Marjorie Miller (for the state and 
local impact).
            Sincerely,
                                         June E. O'Neill, Director.
    Enclosure.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

H.R. 2493--Forage Improvement Act of 1997

    Summary: H.R. 2493 would modify how the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM), within the Department of the Interior, and 
the Forest Service, within the Department of Agriculture, 
administer livestock grazing on public lands.
    H.R. 2493 would change the formula for computing grazing 
fees. The bill also would redefine ``animal unit month'' (AUM) 
by increasing the number of sheep and goats allowed per AUM 
from five to seven. These changes would apply to grazing on 
federal land administered by BLM and the Forest Service 
(excluding the National Grasslands). CBO expects that these 
changes would increase the government's net income from grazing 
fees by about $6 million over the 1998-2002 period. Because 
H.R. 2493 would affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go 
procedures would apply to the bill.
    This legislation also would make several other changes to 
the management of grazing on public lands that would increase 
discretionary spending by an estimated $15 million over the 
next five years, subject to appropriation of the necessary 
amounts.
    H.R. 2493 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(UMRA) and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: CBO estimates 
that enacting H.R. 2493 would increase gross income from 
grazing fees by about $10 million over the 1998-2002 period. 
Because a portion of that income is shared with state 
governments, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would result 
in a new decrease in direct spending of about $6 million over 
the 1998-2002 period. In addition, discretionary spending 
totaling about $15 million over the next five years would 
result from this bill, assuming appropriation of the estimated 
amounts.
    The estimated budgetary impact of H.R. 2493 is shown in the 
following table.

                                    [By fiscal year, in millions of dollars]                                    
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  1998      1999      2000      2001      2002  
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           CHANGES IN DIRECT SPENDING (including offsetting receipts)                           
                                                                                                                
Change in offsetting receipts:                                                                                  
    Estimated budget authority................................        -2        -2        -2        -2        -2
    Estimated outlays.........................................        -2        -2        -2        -2        -2
Change in Direct Spending:                                                                                      
    Estimated budget authority................................         0     (\1\)     (\1\)     (\1\)     (\1\)
    Estimated outlays.........................................         0     (\1\)     (\1\)     (\1\)     (\1\)
Net Change:                                                                                                     
    Estimated budget authority................................        -2        -1        -1        -1        -1
    estimated outlays.........................................        -2        -1        -1        -1        -1
                                                                                                                
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION                                  
                                                                                                                
Estimated authorization level.................................         7         2         2         2         2
Estimated outlays.............................................         7         2         2         2         2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Less than $500,000.                                                                                         

    The cost of this legislation fall within budget functions 
300 (natural resources and the environment) and 800 (general 
government).
    Basis estimate: The bill states that its provisions would 
become effective on the date of enactment. For purposes of this 
estimate, CBO assumes that the bill would be enacted in time to 
implement the new fee for the 1998 grazing year, which begins 
March 1, 1998.

                          Offsetting Receipts

    CBO estimates that the new formula would increase the 
amount of grazing fee receipts that would be collected over the 
next five years compared to current law. The increase in 
theamount charged per AUM (in the West) and per head month (in the 
East) would be partially offset by the bill's revised definition of 
AUM. Overall, CBO estimates that offsetting receipts would increase by 
almost $2 million annually beginning in fiscal year 1998 and by a total 
of about $10 million over the 1998-2002 period.
    Grazing Fees.--Section 107 would base the new grazing fee 
on two factors: the value of beef cattle and the interest rate. 
Specifically, the bill would set the basic grazing fee for each 
animal unit month at the average of the total gross value of 
production for beef cattle (as compiled by the Economic 
Research Service (ERS) of the Department of Agriculture) for 
the 12 years preceding the grazing fee year, multiplied by the 
average of the ``new issue'' rate for six-month Treasury bills 
for the 12 years preceding the grazing fee year, and divided by 
12.
    H.R. 2493 does not define total gross value of production 
but refers to data published annually by ERS in Economic 
Indicators of the Farm Sector: Costs of Production. The total 
gross value of production, as defined by ERS, is equal to the 
price of cattle multiplied by the quantity produced (number of 
pounds). Therefore, the new formula would yield a grazing fee 
that increases or decreases over time, depending largely on 
changes in the price of cattle. In contrast, the current fee 
varies in response not only to changes in the price of cattle, 
but also to changes in the private lease rate for grazing land 
and the cost to produce beef. In addition, the current fee 
formula sets a minimum of $1.35 per AUM and limits the annual 
change in the fee to 25 percent. Both formulas are likely to 
result in varying fees from year to year.
    The fee for the 1996 grazing fee year was $1.35 per AUM on 
most public rangelands, and the fee for the 1997 grazing fee 
year is $1.35 per AUM. Using ERS's most recent data for the 
total gross value of production and projecting changes in 
cattle prices and interest rates, CBO estimates that the 
proposed new formula would result in a grazing fee averaging 
about 20 cents more per AUM over the 1998-2002 period in the 
western states than the grazing fee under current law.
    Under current law, CBO projects grazing fee receipts of $22 
million a year over the next five years. We estimate that 
implementing the formula contained in H.R. 2493 would yield an 
average increase in offsetting receipts of more than $2 million 
annually beginning in fiscal year 1998, excluding a small 
reduction in offsetting receipts attributable to the bill's 
change in the definition of animal unit month, as described 
below.
    By applying the bill to land managed under the Granger-Thye 
Act, section 101 of H.R. 2493 appears to apply the proposed new 
fee to grazing in all national forests--including those in the 
eastern states. The Secretary of Agriculture currently has the 
authority to establish grazing fees on national forests in the 
eastern states at his discretion. Fees in the East range from 
$2.24 to $9.00 per head month and average $2.50 per head month. 
(The number of head months, similar to animal unit months, is a 
measure of how many animals forage and how long they forage on 
National Forest System lands.) CBO estimates that applying the 
new fee formula to national forests in the East would reduce 
receipts relative to current law, but we estimate that change 
would total less than $100,000 per year. Grazing in the East 
represents only about 1 percent of the total grazing 
administered by the Forest Service.
    Animal Unit Month Redefined.--Section 107 would revise the 
definition of animal unit month (AUM) by increasing the number 
of sheep and goats per AUM from five to seven. That change 
would effectively decrease the cost of grazing sheep and goats 
by almost one-third. The fee per AUM would be established under 
the bill regardless of the type of livestock grazed, and the 
forage area needed to sustain a fixed number of sheep and goats 
would be unchanged by the definition, but owners of sheep and 
goats could purchase fewer AUMs to support the same number of 
animals under the new definition. Some producers might slightly 
increase the size of their sheep and goat herds in response to 
lower effective costs of grazing on public land. Because the 
grazing fees are only a fraction of the total cost to raise 
sheep and goats, however, we expect a net drop in the number of 
AUMs and an associated decrease in offsetting receipts of about 
$600,000 per year beginning in 1998.

                         Other Direct Spending

    Current law (7 U.S.C. 1012, 16 U.S.C. 500, and 43 U.S.C. 
315) requires the Forest Service and BLM to distribute a 
portion of the offsetting receipts from grazing on public lands 
to the states. Payments are made in the fiscal year following 
the year that grazing fees are received by the federal 
government, and are currently projected to total $4.5 million a 
year. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2493 would increase 
payments to states by about $400,000 a year beginning in fiscal 
year 1999 and by a total of almost $2 million over the 1998-
2002 period.

                   Spending Subject to Appropriation

    CBO estimates that additional discretionary spending would 
be about $7 million in fiscal year 1998 and a total of about 
$15 million during the 1998-2002 period, assuming appropriation 
of the estimated amounts. Specific provisions are discussed 
below.
    New Rulemaking.--Section 202 would direct the Secretaries 
of Agriculture and the interior to coordinate the promulgation 
of new regulations to carry out H.R. 2493 and to publish such 
regulations simultaneously within 180 days after enactment of 
the bill. Based on information from BLM and the Forest Service, 
CBO estimates that completing this new rulemaking and modifying 
existing grazing permits would cost about $6 million in fiscal 
year 1998.
    Range Improvements.--The Federal Land Policy and Management 
Act of 1976 authorizes appropriations for range improvement of 
50 percent of the income from grazing fees received during the 
prior fiscal year. If H.R. 2493 were enacted and the Congress 
appropriated 50 percent of grazing fee receipts for range 
improvements, then appropriations for range improvements would 
increase by about $4 million over the 1998-2002 period.
    Advisory Councils.--Section 108 would require the 
Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to establish joint 
Resource Advisory Councils (RACs) on a state, regional, or 
local level. The section also would allow members to receive 
reimbursement for travel and per diem expenses while on 
official business. According to BLM, that agency currently 
operates 24 multiple-use resource advisory councils but does 
not operate any grazing advisory councils. Based on information 
from BLM and the Forest Service, enacting H.R. 2493 could 
double the number of RACs required nationwide, which would 
increase discretionary spending for travel, per diem and other 
administrative costs by a total of about $1 million per year, 
assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.
    Other Potential Changes in Discretionary Spending.--Section 
107 would require the Economic Research Service to continue to 
compile and report the total gross production value for beef 
cattle for the purpose of calculating the grazing fee. ERS has 
conducted a survey on which to base total gross value of 
production about every five years and has indexed the data 
based on changes in cattle prices for annual updates. If 
section 107 is interpreted to mean that ERS must conduct annual 
surveys, CBO estimates that each year's survey costs could be 
as high as $500,000. However, because it is unclear whether 
surveys would have to be conducted more often, we have not 
included any additional discretionary spending for such surveys 
in this estimate.
    Pay-as-you-go considerations: Section 252 of the Balanced 
Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 sets up pay-
as-you-go procedures for legislation affecting direct spending 
or receipts. As shown in the following table, CBO estimates 
that enacting H.R. 2493 would decrease direct spending by about 
$2 million in fiscal year 1998 and by about $11 million over 
the 1998-2007 period.
    For the purposes of enforcing pay-as-you-go procedures, 
however, only the effects in the budget year and the subsequent 
four years are counted.

                                    [By fiscal year, in millions of dollars]                                    
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   1998    1999    2000    2001    2002    2203    2004    2005    2006    2007 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Change in outlays...............      -2      -1      -1      -1      -1      -1      -1      -1      -1      -1
Change in receipts\1\...........  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Not applicable.                                                                                             

    Estimated impact on State, local, and tribal governments: 
H.R. 2493 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in 
UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments. The bill would increase payments to states by 
about $0.4 million per year beginning in fiscal year 1999, 
because they receive a portion of receipts from grazing on 
public lands. for the 1998-2002 period, payments to states 
would increase by a total of almost $2 million compared to 
payments under current law.
    Esimtated impact on the private sector: The bill would 
impose no new private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Victoria V. Heid and 
Impact on State, local, and tribal governments: Marjorie 
Miller.
    Estimated approved by: Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                   CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    Pursuant to clause 2(l)(4) of rule XI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the 
Constitutional authority for this legislation in Article I, 
clause 8, section 18, that grants Congress the power to make 
all laws necessary and proper for carrying out the powers 
vested by Congress in the Government of the United States or in 
any department or officer thereof.

                          OVERSIGHT STATEMENT

    No summary of oversight findings and recommendations made 
by the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight as provided 
for in clause 2(l)(3)(D) of rule XI, and under clause 4(c)(2) 
of Rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives was 
available to the Committee with reference to the subject matter 
specifically addressed by H.R. 2493.

                      COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS

    Pursuant to clause 2(l)(3)(A) of rule XI, and clause 
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives, 
the Committee on Agriculture's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                        COMMITTEE COST ESTIMATE

    Pursuant to clause 7(a) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee report incorporates the 
cost estimate prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to sections 403 and 424 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

                      ADVISORY COMMITTEE STATEMENT

    Pursuant to section 108(a)(4) of the Amendment in the 
Nature of a Substitute, the functions of the proposed Resource 
Advisory Councils are, to the maximum extent practicable, to be 
carried out by modifying existing advisory councils established 
under section 309(a) of the Federal Land Policy and Management 
Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1739(a)). Section 108(c) the Amendment 
in the Nature of a Substitute implements section 5(b)(3) of the 
Federal Advisory Committee Act by assuring that the advice and 
recommendations of the advisory committees will not be 
inappropriately influenced by the appointing authority or by 
any special interest, but will instead be the result of the 
advisory committee's independent judgment.

                APPLICABILITY TO THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act (Public Law 
104-1).

                       FEDERAL MANDATES STATEMENT

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act (Public Law 104-4).