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105th Congress                                            Rept. 105-346
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 1st Session                                                     Part 2
_______________________________________________________________________


 
                     FORAGE IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 1997

                                _______
                                

October 24, 1997.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


  Mr. Young of Alaska, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                    ADDITIONAL AND DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 2493]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Resources, 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 regarding grazing permits and leases.
Sec. 104. Monitoring.
Sec. 105. Subleasing.
Sec. 106. Cooperative allotment management plans.
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 Federal lands (as defined 
in section 102) for hunting, fishing, recreation, 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 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 
        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) 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 discuss and exchange views; and
                  (B) to act together toward a common end or purpose.
          (5) 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).
          (6) 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).
          (7) 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.
          (8) 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.).
          (9) 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).
          (10) 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.

SEC. 103. PROHIBITED CONDITION REGARDING GRAZING PERMITS AND LEASES.

  The Secretary concerned may not impose as a condition on a grazing 
permit or lease that the permittee or lessee provide access across 
private property unless thecondition is limited to ingress and egress 
for Federal personnel engaged in authorized activities regarding 
grazing administration on Federal in-holdings.

SEC. 104. MONITORING.

  (a) Monitoring.--The monitoring of conditions and trends of forage 
and related resources on Federal lands within allotments shall be 
performed only by qualified persons from the following groups:
          (1) Federal, State, and local government personnel.
          (2) Grazing permittees and lessees.
          (3) Professional consultants retained by the United States or 
        a permittee or lessee.
  (b) Monitoring Criteria and Protocols.--Such monitoring shall be 
conducted according to regional or state criteria and protocols 
selected by the Secretary concerned. The monitoring protocols shall be 
site specific, scientifically valid, and subject to peer review. 
Monitoring data shall be periodically verified.
  (c) Types and Use of Data Collected.--The data collected from such 
monitoring shall include historical data and information, if available, 
but such data or information must be objective and reliable. The data 
and information collected from such monitoring shall be used to 
evaluate--
          (1) the effects of ecological changes and management actions 
        on forage and related resources over time;
          (2) the effectiveness of actions in meeting management 
        objectives contained in applicable land use plans; and
          (3) the appropriateness of resource management objectives.
  (d) Notice.--In conducting such 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) Prohibition on Subleasing Grazing Permit or Lease.--A person 
issued a grazing permit or lease may not enter into an agreement with 
another person to allow grazing on the Federal lands covered by the 
grazing permit or lease by livestock that are neither owned nor 
controlled by the person issued the grazing permit or lease.
  (b) Treatment of Lease or Sublease of Base Property.--The leasing or 
subleasing, in whole or in part, of the base property of a person 
issued a grazing permit or lease shall not be considered a sublease of 
a grazing permit or lease under subsection (a). The grazing preference 
associated with such base property shall be transferred to the person 
controlling the leased or subleased base property.

SEC. 106. COOPERATIVE ALLOTMENT MANAGEMENT PLANS.

  (a) Written Agreements for Outcome-Based Standards.--An allotment 
management plan developed under section 402(d) of the Federal Land 
Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1752(d)) may include a 
written agreement with a qualified grazing permittee or lessee 
described in subsection (b) (or a group of qualified grazing permittees 
or lessees) that provides for outcome-based standards, rather than 
prescriptive terms and conditions, for managing grazing activities in a 
specified geographic area. At the request of a qualified grazing 
permittee or lessee, the Secretary concerned shall consider including 
such a written agreement in an allotment management plan. An allotment 
management plan including such a written agreement shall be known as a 
cooperative allotment management plan.
  (b) Qualified Grazing Permittee or Lessee Described.--A qualified 
grazing permittee or lessee referred to in subsection (a) is a person 
issued a grazing permit or lease who has demonstrated sound stewardship 
by meeting or exceeding the forage and rangeland goals contained in 
applicable land use plans for the previous five-year period.
  (c) Inclusion of Performance Goals.--A written agreement entered into 
as part of an allotment management plan developed under section 402(d) 
of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 
1752(d)) shall contain performance goals that--
          (1) are expressed in objective, quantifiable, and measurable 
        terms;
          (2) establish performance indicators to be used in measuring 
        or assessing the relevant outcomes;
          (3) provide a basis for comparing management results with the 
        established performance goals; and
          (4) describe the means to be used to verify and validate 
        measured values.
  (d) 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.--
          (1) Calculation.--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 (d)(1).
          (2) Limitation.--The fee determined under paragraph (1) shall 
        be the only grazing fee applicable to livestock owned or 
        controlled by a person issued a grazing permit or lease.
  (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) 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.
  (e) 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.

SEC. 108. RESOURCE ADVISORY COUNCILS.

  (a) Establishment.--
          (1) Joint establishment.--The Secretary of Agriculture and 
        the Secretary of the Interior may 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.--A Resource Advisory Council shall not be 
        established 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) Treatment of existing advisory councils.--To the extent 
        practicable, the Secretaries shall implement this section 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)) for the purpose of providing advice 
        regarding grazing issues.
          (5) 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 within the area covered by the 
        Council; and
          (2) major management decisions, while working within the 
        broad management objectives established for such Federal lands 
        in applicable land use plans.
  (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.
          (7) 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.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 2493 is 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.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

Background--Grazing on National Forests and public lands

    Federal statutes controlling grazing on lands now 
administered as National Forests, BLM grazing districts, and 
the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) scattered parcels outside 
of organized grazing districts evolved from customary open 
range control practices of the nineteenth 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 to the Constitution.
    In 1905 the first Chief of the Forest Service, Gifford 
Pinchot, was delegated authority under the 1897 Organic 
Administration Act (Act of June 4, 1897, ch. 2, 30 Stat. 11; 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. 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. 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 BLM 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. 315b).
    Under 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 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 Act of 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 BLM. 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 AUM. 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, andrevised 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 Tenth 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, superseded 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 the Committee on Resources 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 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 of H.R. 2493) that the Secretaries 
``may not impose as a condition on a grazing permit or lease 
that the permittee or lessee provide ingress or egress across 
private land except for federal personnel engaged in authorized 
activities regarding grazing administration on Federal in-
holdings.'' 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 of H.R. 2493 
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 public 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 month in 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.
    In 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 
16 contiguous western states, of which the National Grasslands 
comprise 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.

                            committee action

    H.R. 2493 was introduced on September 18, 1997, by 
Congressman Robert F. (Bob) Smith (R-OR) together with 27 
original cosponsors. The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Resources, and in addition to the Committee on Agriculture. The 
Committee on Agriculture held a hearing on the provisions of 
the bill on September 17, 1997, and ordered the bill reported 
with amendments to the House of Representatives on September 
24, 1997, by voice vote.
    On October 8, 1997, the full Committee on Resources met to 
mark up H.R. 2493. An amendment in the nature of a substitute 
was offered by Mr. Smith of Oregon which made several changes 
to the bill. An amendment to strike Section 108 of the Smith 
amendment was offered by Congressman Bruce Vento (D-MN), and it 
failed by voice vote. An amendment to Section 103 of the Smith 
amendment to clarify that a condition to a grazing permit 
allowing access across the private land of a permittee for 
federal personnel engaged in grazing administration activities 
may be required only where there is a federal inholding 
requiring such access, was offered by Congresswoman Helen 
Chenoweth (R-ID), and was adopted by a voice vote. Congressman 
Vento offered a Substitute to the Smith amendment which deleted 
all non-fee related provisions and substituted a fee provision 
setting the fee equal to the level charged by states for 
grazing on state lands. The Vento amendment failed by a voice 
vote. The Smith amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 
2493, as amended, was adopted by a voice vote, and the bill as 
amended was then ordered reported favorably to the House of 
Representatives by a rollcall vote of 23 to 3, as follows:


    On October 22, 1997, the full Committee on Resources met 
for the first time since the previous meeting on October 8, 
1997. Mr. Smith of Oregon moved to reconsider the vote to adopt 
H.R. 2493. After determining that Mr. Smith of Oregon had voted 
on the prevailing side on the original vote, the vote was 
reconsidered and the bill was again ordered reported favorably 
to the House of Representatives with a quorum actually present, 
by a rollcall of 22-7, as follows:


                      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 of livestock 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. Black's Law Dictionary 
(Fifth Edition) states that ``[a] thing is `appurtenant' to 
something else when it stands in relation of an incident to a 
principal and is necessarily connected with the use and 
enjoyment of the latter.''
    (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. (See discussion of ``appurtenant'' in definition 
of allotment, above.)
    (4) Consultation, Cooperation, and Coordination.--This term 
means to engage in good faith efforts: (1) to discuss and 
exchange views; and (2) to act together toward a common end or 
purpose. This definition is intended to more closely conform to 
standard dictionary definitions of these terms.
    (5) Federal Lands.--This term means lands owned by the U.S. 
outside of Alaska that are National Forests or public lands 
administered by the BLM.
    (6) 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.
    (7) 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 BLM pursuant to FLPMA.
    (8) 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.
    (9) Secretary Concerned.--This term means either the 
Secretary of Agriculture or the Secretary of the Interior with 
regard to lands administered respectively by the two 
Secretaries.
    (10) Sixteen Contiguous Western 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 grazing permits and leases

    Access across private property shall not be required as a 
condition to a permit or lease unless thecondition is limited 
to ingress and egress for federal personnel engaged in grazing 
administration activities on federal in-holdings. 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

    (a) Monitoring.--Monitoring of trends and conditions of 
forage and related resources 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. As used in this subsection, the term 
``related resources'' means any natural resource directly 
affected by grazing. Neither the Forest Service nor the BLM 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.
    (b) Monitoring Criteria and Protocols.--Monitoring shall be 
conducted according to regional or state criteria and protocols 
that are site specific, scientifically valid, and subject to 
peer review. Monitoring data shall be periodically verified.
    The Committee intends that the Secretaries adapt the peer 
review procedures used by U.S. Department of Agriculture's 
National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program for 
research proposals to implement this subsection. These 
procedures follow the recommendations of the National Academy 
of Sciences contained in its 1989 report entitled ``Investing 
in Research'' and are also used by the National Science 
Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, as well as 
U.S.D.A. research agencies.
    Periodic verification of data means that the Secretaries 
from time to time conduct quality control checks to verify that 
monitoring data was collected in a manner consistent with 
protocols established under this section.
    Currently, the Secretary concerned may reject data which 
were not collected consistent with whatever informal protocols 
or procedures are deemed appropriate. Under this Act the 
Secretaries retain the power to reject data that was collected 
contrary to the requirements of this section.
    The amendments adopted by the Committee on Resources delete 
Section 104(b) ``Inspection'' of H.R. 2493 as introduced. The 
authority of the Secretary concerned to inspect lands subject 
to grazing permits or leases is unaffected by this Act.
    (c) Types and Use of Data Collected.--Historical data and 
information, if objective and reliable, shall be included in 
any analysis of the monitoring data in order to compare past 
range management conditions to current conditions. Monitoring 
data and information shall be used to evaluate: (1) the effects 
of ecological changes and management actions on forage and 
related resources over time; (2) the effectiveness of meeting 
management objectives contained in land use plans; and (3) the 
appropriateness of resource management objectives.
    (d) 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) Prohibition on Subleasing Grazing Permit.--Subleasing, 
defined as entering into an agreement to allow grazing on 
federal lands covered by a grazing permit or lease by livestock 
neither owned nor controlled by the person issued the permit or 
lease, is prohibited.
    Certain practices not now considered to be subleasing of a 
permit or lease because ownership or control of the livestock 
is retained by the permittee or lessee are not intended to be 
prohibited by this section, including, but not limited to, 
those situations where 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; or (4) is grazing livestock owned by spouse, 
parent, or child of the permittee or lessee.
    (b) 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.
    The amendments adopted by the Committee on Resources delete 
language contained in H.R. 2493 as introduced stating that the 
lessee of base property to whom a grazing permit or lease is 
transferred shall be bound by the terms and conditions and 
other agreements associated with the grazing permit. The 
deleted language is unnecessary because the Secretary has broad 
authority under FLPMA to suspend, cancel, or modify permits and 
can, therefore, impose similar or different conditions on any 
transferred permit or lease as the Secretary deems necessary.

Section 106. Cooperative allotment management plans

    (a) Written Agreements for Outcome-Based Standards.--An 
allotment management plan developed under Section 402(d) of 
FLPMA may include a written agreement with a ``qualified'' 
permittee(s) or lessee(s), that provides for outcome-based 
standards rather than prescriptive terms and conditions for 
managing grazing activities in a specified geographic area. At 
the request of a qualified grazing permittee or lessee, the 
Secretary concerned shall consider including such a written 
document in an allotment management plan.
    This section of the bill is intended to be completely 
consistent with the grazing provisions of FLPMA. Previous 
Administration efforts to implement flexible management 
practices through so called ``cooperative management 
agreements'' were found to violate fundamental provisions of 
FLPMA by a federal district court (N.R.D.C. v. Hodel, 618 F. 
Supp. 848, 1985). The Committee notes that the existing grazing 
regulatory regime contained in FLPMA gives the Secretary a high 
level of discretion to set terms and conditions for grazing 
permits and leases directly or indirectly through allotment 
management plans incorporated into such permits and leases. The 
Committee believes that it is both possible and desirable to 
encourage, but not mandate, a more flexible regulatory approach 
that promotes good range management without changing any of the 
protections found in existing law. Therefore, Section 106 of 
H.R. 2493 is intended to be completely consistent with Section 
402 of FLPMA and other provisions of that Act affecting grazing 
while providing an incentive for grazing permittees and lessees 
to improve and protect rangeland health. In addition, it 
requires more accountability from permittees and lessees than 
is the case under present administrative practice (see 
subsection (c), below) and is available only to persons who 
have demonstrated sound stewardship of public lands.
    (b) Qualified Grazing Permittee or Lessee Described.--A 
``qualified'' permittee or lessee is a person who has 
demonstrated sound stewardship by meeting or exceeding the 
forage and rangeland goals contained in applicable land use 
plans for the previous five years. The Committee does not 
intend that minor non-compliance with a grazing permit 
prescription (e.g., failing to keep gates closed, etc.) by a 
permittee or lessee would disqualify that person from 
participating in a cooperative allotment management plan under 
this section.
    (c) Inclusion of Performance Goals.--The written agreement 
shall contain performance goals that: (1) are expressed in 
objective, quantifiable, and measurable terms; (2) establish 
performance indicators to be used in measuring or assessing the 
relevant outcomes; (3) provide a basis for comparing management 
results with established performance goals; and (4) describe 
the means to be used to verify and validate measured values.
    (d) Federal Advisory Committee Act.--Activities under this 
section are exempt from the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

Section 107. Fees and charges

    (a) Grazing Fees.--The fee formula for each AUM 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 
wouldhave resulted in higher grazing fees in 12 of the last 15 years 
compared to fees collected under the current formula.
    The fee determined under this paragraph shall be the only 
grazing fee applicable to livestock owned or controlled by a 
person issued a permit or lease. Since Section 105 prohibits 
subleasing of a permit or lease, there is no need to levy a 
surcharge to discourage this practice.
    (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) Criteria for Economic Research Service.--The Economic 
Research Service of U.S. Department of Agriculture shall 
continue to compile and report the gross value of production of 
beef cattle as currently published in an existing document.
    (e) Treatment of Other Fees and Charges.--Fees and charges 
under Section 304(a) of FLPMA shall not exceed the actual 
administrative and processing costs incurred.
    The amendments adopted by the Committee on Resources delete 
Section 106(d)(1) ``Crossing Permits, Transfers, and Billing 
Notices'' of H.R. 2493 as introduced which mandated certain 
fees. Nothing in H.R. 2493 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 may, 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 the 
RAC.
    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 RAC 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.--RACs shall use majority voting. The Committee 
intends the section to correct certain practices that violate 
the spirit of Section 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 RAC 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 RAC. A RAC shall consist of not less than 
nine members and not more than 15 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 RAC. Members of existing RACs 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 RAC is located, may terminate the 
services of a member under specified circumstances.
    (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) State Grazing Districts.--Resources Advisory Councils 
shall coordinate and cooperate with state grazing districts 
established pursuant to state law.
    The amendments adopted by the Committee on Resources delete 
an unnecessary provision in this section which permits the 
removal of a RAC member for conviction of a federal felony. 
Another provision in this section permits removal for any 
reason the Secretaries deem to be in the public interest, which 
encompasses the deleted provision.

                        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 those 
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 RACs which would 
contain only National Forest Lands should not be beyond the 
existing resources of the Secretary of Agriculture.

            committee oversight findings and recommendations

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

                  federal advisory committee statement

    Pursuant to Section 108(a)(4) of H.R. 2493, 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) of H.R. 2493 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.

                   constitutional authority statement

    Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United 
States grants Congress the authority to enact H.R. 2493.

                        COST OF THE LEGISLATION

    Clause 7(a) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs which would be incurred in carrying out 
H.R. 2493. However, clause 7(d) of that Rule provides that this 
requirement does not apply when the Committee has included in 
its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the bill 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
under section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

                     COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XI

    1. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(B) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, H.R. 
2493 does not contain any new budget authority, spending 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in tax 
expenditures. Enactment of H.R. 2493 would increase gross 
income from grazing fees by nearly $7 million over the 1998-
2002 period.
    2. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(D) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee has received no report of oversight findings and 
recommendations from the Committee on Government Reform and 
Oversight on the subject of H.R. 2493.
    3. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(C) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the 
Committee has received the following cost estimate for H.R. 
2493 from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, October 15, 1997.
Hon. Don Young,
Chairman, Committee on Resources,
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 Majorie Miller (for the state and 
local impact).
            Sincerely,
                                         June E. O'Neill, Director.
    Enclosure.

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 $5.6 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 $10 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 close to $7 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 net decrease in direct spending of $5.6 million over the 
1998-2002 period. In addition, discretionaryspending totaling 
about $10 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 years, in millions of dollars-- 
                                                                    --------------------------------------------
                                                                       1998     1999     2000     2001     2002 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           CHANGES IN DIRECT SPENDING (including offsetting receipts)                           
                                                                                                                
Change in Offsetting Receipts:                                                                                  
    Estimated Budget Authority.....................................       -1       -1       -1       -1       -1
    Estimated Outlays..............................................       -1       -1       -1       -1       -1
Change in Direct Spending:                                                                                      
    Estimated Budget Authority.....................................        0    (\1\)    (\1\)    (\1\)    (\1\)
    Estimated Outlays..............................................        0    (\1\)    (\1\)    (\1\)    (\1\)
Net Change:                                                                                                     
    Estimated Budget Authority.....................................       -1       -1       -1       -1       -1
    Estimated Outlays..............................................       -1       -1       -1       -1       -1
                                                                                                                
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION                                  
                                                                                                                
Estimated Authorization Level......................................        6        1        1        1        1
Estimated Outlays..................................................        6        1        1        1        1
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Less than $500,000.                                                                                         

    The costs of this legislation fall within budget functions 
300 (natural resources and the environment) and 800 (general 
government).
    Basis of 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 the 
amount charged per AUM would be partially offset by the bill's 
revised definition of AUM. Overall, CBO estimates that 
offsetting receipts would increase by a little over $1 million 
annually beginning in fiscal year 1998 and by a total of about 
$7 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, in all 16 western states, 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 reductions in 
offsetting receipts attributable to the bill's change in the 
definition of animal unit month and its elimination of 
subleasing surcharges, which are discussed below.
    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 for 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.
    Subleasing. Under current law, BLM applies a surcharge for 
livestock not owned by a permittee that is grazed under a 
permit. The surcharge, which is levied on the individual who 
controls the permit, is based on 35 percent of the difference 
between the federal grazing fee and private grazing fees in the 
state where the subleasing occurs. Section 107 of this bill 
provides that the fee charged for each AUM under a permit is 
the only grazing fee that may be charged to a permittee. 
Therefore, BLM would be prohibited from levying any surcharge. 
Based on information from BLM, we estimate that prohibiting 
those subleasing surcharges would reduce offsetting receipts to 
the government by about $500,000 per year. Because the Forest 
Service does not currently permit subleasing, Forest Service 
receipts would not be affected by the provision.

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 $300,000 a year beginning in fiscal 
year 1999 and by a total of $1.2 million over the 1998-2002 
period.

Spending subject to appropriation

    CBO estimates that additional discretionary spending would 
be about $6 million in fiscal year 1998 and a total of about 
$10 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 almost $1 million per year beginning in fiscal year 
1999 and by about $3 million over the 1999-2002 period.
    Advisory Councils. Section 108 would permit the Secretaries 
of Agriculture and the Interior to jointly establish Resource 
Advisory Councils (RACs) on a state, regional, or local level. 
The bill would direct the secretaries to implement the 
administrative changes specified in section 108 by modifying 
existing RACs, to the extent practicable. The section would 
allow members to receive reimbursement for travel and per diem 
expenses while on official business. BLM currently operates 24 
multiple-use resource advisory councils, and the Forest Service 
does not operate any. Based on information from the Forest 
Service, enacting H.R. 2493 would increase the number of RACs 
required nationwide because the Forest Service would be 
required to establish RACs where that agency has sole 
jurisdiction over the federal land, which would increase 
discretionary spending for travel, per diem and other 
administrative costs. We estimate that any such increase would 
total less than $500,000 per year, assuming appropriation of 
the necessary amounts.
    Other Potential Changes in Discretionary Spending. Section 
107 would require the Economic Research Service 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 
$1 million a year. For the purposes of enforcing pay-as-you-go 
procedures, 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    2003    2004    2005    2006    2007 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Change in outlays...............      -1      -1      -1      -1      -1      -1      -1      -1      -1      -1
Change in receipts..............   (\1\)   (\1\)   (\1\)   (\1\)   (\1\)   (\1\)   (\1\)   (\1\)   (\1\)   (\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 $0.3 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 more than $1 million compared to 
payments under current law.
    Estimated impact on the private sector: The bill would 
impose no new private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.
    Previous CBO estimate: On October 1, 1997, CBO prepared a 
cost estimate for H.R. 2493 as ordered reported by the House 
Committee on Agriculture on September 24, 1997. This version of 
H.R. 2493 includes a number of changes to the language, and the 
cost estimate differs accordingly.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Victoria V. Heid; 
Impact on State, Local, and Tribal governments: Marjorie 
Miller.
    Estimate approved by: Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    H.R. 2493 contains no unfunded mandates.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, H.R. 2493 would make no changes in existing 
law.

                   ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF MRS. CHENOWETH

    I appreciate all of Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob 
Smith's hard work on the grazing issue. I agree with Chairman 
Smith that the current federal management of grazing on public 
lands must be comprehensively overhauled. Although I voted yea 
to favorably report H.R. 2493 to the House Floor, I continue to 
have several concerns.
    My concerns are twofold: (i) I have specific concerns about 
the language of the bill, including how it may impact private 
property rights; and (ii) I am concerned about the bill being 
further compromised on the House floor to where it will do more 
harm than good to the public lands cattle industry.
    First, I am concerned that a number of the definitions 
found in Sec. 102 are susceptible to distortion and abuse. 
Specifically, ``allotment'' as defined by H.R. 2493 is unclear. 
No doubt should be left that the allotment is the area provided 
for the grazing of livestock under a grazing preference right 
as acknowledged in PLC v. Babbitt (the so-called Brimmer 
Decision), currently on appeal to the Tenth Circuit of the U.S. 
Court of Appeals. In fact, the concept that an allotment is 
itself private property when it is used for the exercise of an 
adjudicated grazing preference will be tried in June, 1998 by 
the U.S. Court of Claims in Hage v. U.S. I am gravely concerned 
that the private property right about which these cases are 
argued could be negatively impacted by H.R. 2493. Until these 
legal questions are answered, I strongly recommend that H.R. 
2493's definition of ``allotment'' be amended to ensure 
clarity.
    Next, ``base property'' as defined in the bill could allow 
the Secretary, when transferring a preference right, to affix 
any private property (no matter how minimal) or even a state 
leased cabin site to a grazing preference right and the 
associated allotment. The Taylor Grazing Act already 
establishes the foundation for ``base property,'' and I am 
concerned H.R. 2493 unnecessarily expands Taylor. As written, 
the bill may allow the BLM to grant a preference to someone who 
does not even own private land or a water right. Stability of 
the western livestock industry is gained by maintaining 
attachment of grazing preference rights to property in or near 
an allotment within a grazing district.
    Additionally, the definition of ``consultation, cooperation 
and coordination'' must be tightened or removed altogether. 
H.R. 2493 would amend the CCC's current definition found in 43 
U.S.C. Sec. 1752(d), and does not contain the words ``careful 
and considered.'' As written, H.R. 2493 allows the Secretary to 
continue to allow interference from the ``interested public'' 
in nearly all grazing management decisions. At some point the 
courts will have an opportunity to evaluate the definition in 
current regulation for consistency with the intent of Congress 
in FLPMA. I do not believe that the standard accepted 
definition of CCC read in Sec. 1752(d) would support the 
current regulations, and they will be struck. But if H.R. 
2493's CCC definition becomes statutory law, the opportunity to 
challenge the current regulation in court will be lost. Because 
of this, coupled with the fact that CCC is not mentioned in any 
other part of H.R. 2493, I would urge the removal of the CCC 
language.
    Regarding Section 106(c) of H.R. 2493, the reference to 
Allotment Management Plans (AMP) should be changed to 
Cooperative Allotment Management Plans so that this section 
does not affect current Allotment Management Plans developed or 
being developed pursuant to Sec. 1752(d) of FLPMA when they are 
not intended to be a Cooperative AMP. As H.R. 2493 is written, 
it would require amendment of all existing AMPs and require 
that any new AMP (not just the Cooperative AMP) contain the 
performance standards contained in the subsection. I would 
recommend that the language be changed to prevent the agencies 
from revisiting existing AMPs.
    Regarding Sec. 107 on grazing fees and charges, I believe 
that it is not in the best interest of the industry to have 
grazing fees dependent upon the price of money and a variable 
(cattle prices) that both react to supply and demand in exactly 
the opposite direction of the grazing forage market. The 
administrative fee for grazing use should be based on the 
private grazing forage market and determined through indexing a 
base fee with changes in that market. A fee should represent a 
fair return of administrative costs for the government. 
Establishing a base fee through an assessment of monthly 
production value for beef cattle as proposed in H.R. 2493 is a 
fair and equitable approach. A fee structure which maintains a 
fair and equitable balance between public land and private land 
grazers is essential. Adjusting the base fee in relation to 
changes in the private land grazing forage market will maintain 
fairness and equity. I do not agree with placing the 
determination of which animals qualify for the fee into 
statutory language. This is a matter best left to 
administrative determination, and Sec. 107 should be redrafted 
to reflect this.
    In addition, I remain concerned about the specific language 
of the bill in Sec. 108, the Resource Advisory Councils (RAC). 
I do not see any redeeming value in codifying the RACs. As long 
as RAC's exist by regulation, they can be eliminated by 
regulation. By leaving them an administrative entity they can 
either be fixed or eliminated. I would recommend deleting Sec. 
108 in its entirety.
    Generally speaking, I am concerned about how the enactment 
of any grazing legislation will impact the Taylor Grazing Act. 
The ranchers who will be affected by H.R. 2493 claim a private 
property right in their grazing preference and forage right 
which is attached to the surface of the grazing lands in the 
western states. Their claim to such private property right 
stems, in part, from the possessory interest and right which 
their predecessors in interest acquired through settlement of 
the grazing lands decades ago. Such property rights were 
acquired through the common law as ranchers settled the arid 
western lands, laid claim to the water by prior appropriation, 
and grazed their livestock on the lands served by the water. 
Through the years, Congress has confirmed and validated such 
property rights to the surface estate of these lands on many 
occasions. The Taylor Grazing Act acknowledged the existence of 
such rights, provided that none of such rights should be 
diminished or impaired, and authorized the Secretary of 
Interior to begin an adjudicatory process by which existing 
grazing allotments would be surveyed. That process was the 
culmination of the identification of allotments within which 
ranchers can exercise their private property rights to grazing 
preference and forage rights.
    The private property right in the allotment provides the 
base for United States District Judge Brimmer's decision in PLC 
v. Babbitt, and the base upon which the Court of Claims will 
decide the takings issue in Hage v. United States. Great care 
must be taken that no new legislation, no matter how good the 
motive, can provide a basis for the federal management agencies 
to assert that the Congress has undermined these private 
property interests and rights which are based upon common law, 
customary law, state law, and previous confirmatory and 
validation Acts of Congress.
    Finally, in my state of Idaho, I have constituents who run 
their ranching operation on nearly 100 percent federally 
managed lands. Some are third, fourth and even fifth generation 
ranchers. Over the years they have been asked to compromise and 
compromise, and then compromise again, to where they've nearly 
been compromised right off the land, out of business and out of 
their family's livelihood. I will not stand idly by and let 
this happen.
    Some have characterized my views on this issue as being in 
the extreme. It is not my intention to hold to an unrealistic 
or unreasonable position, which might then be described as 
extreme. I believe I am merely representing a portion of my 
constituency who believe they would be negatively affected by 
this legislation. Although this constituency may be in the 
minority, I believe it is sometimes the role of government to 
secure the rights and interests of the minority from the 
tyranny of the majority.
    James Madison observed in 1787, ``That as different 
interests necessarily result from the liberty meant to be 
secured, the major interest might under sudden impulses be 
tempted to commit injustice on the minority. * * * How is the 
danger in all cases of interested coalitions to oppress the 
minority to be guarded against?'' Again, I will not stand idly 
by and let this happen.
    There has grown a mistrust between ranchers, the managing 
federal agencies, and many extreme environmental groups who are 
dedicated to the eradication of cattle ranching on public 
lands. We have taken steps to educate and bridge the gap of 
misunderstanding. Indeed, I brought the House leadership to 
Idaho to examine many of these issues, including the fact that 
most ranchers are excellent caretakers of the range. But until 
the education is complete and people understand that the 
multiple-use management of public lands necessarily includes 
the livestock industry, it is my view that no meaningful or 
beneficial legislation can be enacted.

                                                   Helen Chenoweth.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    We are strongly opposed to H.R. 2493, the so-called 
``Forage Improvement Act of 1997''. This ill-conceived 
legislation, which was just introduced on September 24, 1997, 
has been rushed through both the Agriculture and Resources 
Committees with no legislative hearings and little opportunity 
for Members to consider and debate its far-reaching provisions. 
The rush with which the majority is moving this bill is evident 
by the fact that the Resources Committee had to order the bill 
reported on two different occasions because of the procedural 
problems that developed in the majority's first attempt to 
speed this bill to the Full House.
    We are jointed in our opposition to H.R. 2493 by the 
Administration and a broad array of hunting and fishing 
organizations, taxpayer watchdog groups, and environmental 
organizations. All recognize this bill for what it is; special-
interest legislation that is a bad deal for the American 
taxpayer, harms the environment, and undermines sound public 
land management.
    H.R. 2493 is based on the controversial legislation (S. 
1459) that the House of Representatives refused to consider in 
the 104th Congress. The bill flies in the face of previous 
House action on the grazing issue. The House of Representatives 
has voted on a strong bipartisan basis several times in recent 
years to significantly increase the grazing fees charged for 
the use of public lands. In fact, just four years ago the House 
voted by a 317 to 106-margin to overhaul the entire public 
lands grazing program by significantly raising the grazing fee, 
enhancing the management of public rangelands, and providing 
for true multiple-use of these public resources. H.R. 2493 goes 
in a completely different direction than previous House 
actions. The bill changes the management of the public 
rangelands for the benefit of a few at the expense of the many.
    At a time when the Federal budget is seriously squeezed, 
H.R. 2493 continues the subsidized use of public resources for 
wealthy and corporate cattle operations. Proponents of H.R. 
2493 don't want to talk about the fact that on public lands, 9 
percent of the permittees control 60 percent of the forage or 
that on national forest lands, 12 percent of permittees control 
63 percent or the forage.
    According to the Interior Dept. Inspector General, grazing 
benefits are provided to a vast array of large ranching 
operations, foreign-owned companies, and domestic corporate 
conglomerates whose primary business is unrelated to the 
livestock industry. These operations include a national brewery 
company, a Japanese land and livestock company, a national oil 
company, and a life insurance company. We don't believe that 
such wingtip cowboys as Metropolitan Life, the J.R. Simplot 
Company, and Anheuser-Busch need or deserve to have their 
grazing fees on public lands kept way below market rates. Less 
than 3 percent of the Nation's beef cattle are grazed on public 
lands, the other 97 plus percent do without the benefit of the 
Federal grazing subsidy.
    Every western State charges a grazing fee that is higher 
than the Federal Government, with several charging six times as 
much. H.R. 2493 continues this disparity with a new grazing fee 
formula, based on the discredited formula contained in S. 1459, 
that in no way reflects fair market value for the use of public 
resources. According to the Congressional Budget Office, little 
additional Federal revenue would be generated from the bill's 
low fee. In fact, coupled with the bill's new administrative 
requirements on the land management agencies, the grazing 
program will lose even more money than it currently does.
    The bill's fee formula is also imprecise and confusing (the 
bill provides that the gazing fee equal 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 average 
of the ``new issue'' rate for six-month Treasury bills for the 
12 years preceding the grazing fee year and divided by 12).
    More important, H.R. 2493's fee formula is flawed in its 
application. Under H.R. 2493 grazing permittees will pay less 
in fees than they did in 1980! The bill also increases the 
number of sheep and goats per animal unit month (AUM) from five 
to seven. According to CBO ``that change would effectively 
decrease the cost of grazing sheep and goats by almost one-
third.'' CBO goes on to point out that this change alone will 
cost the Treasury about $600,000 per year.
    Incredibly, the bill also allows ranchers who hold a 
grazing permit for public lands to sublease these lands to 
private interests at a significant profit. Under current law, 
the BLM applies a surcharge for livestock not owned by a 
permittee that is grazed under a permit. H.R. 2493 would 
prohibit the BLM from levying any surcharge. Worse, it directs 
the Forest Service to allow subleasing a practice it does not 
currently permit. According to the CBO, prohibiting subleasing 
surcharges will cost the Treasury at $500,000 per year.
    In a bow to special interests, H.R. 2493 undercuts the 
broad-based Resource Advisory Councils (RACs) that Interior 
Secretary Babbitt put in place to replace the old discredited 
Grazing Advisory Boards. Using statutory authority that 
expressly provides for such councils, the Secretary established 
RACs that operate on a consensus basis involving all parties 
interested in the management of public rangelands. H.R. 2493 
replaces the current RAC requirement for consensus decisions 
and instead provides that RACs will be run by majority vote. In 
addition, H.R. 2493 directs the Secretary to modify the 
existing RACs ``for the purpose of providing advice regarding 
grazing issues.'' By all accounts RACs have been successful in 
developing standards and guidelines to improve the health of 
public rangelands. The changes proposed by the bill will not 
enhance the RACs. They work to instead undermine what has been 
to date a very successful initiative.
    H.R. 2493 provides a new ill-defined standard for 
monitoring of rangelands. Since no hearings were held on the 
bill, we are unable to get any public assessment of what this 
standard would entail. However, we would note that Interior 
Secretary Babbitt in his October 6, 1997 letter to the 
Committee has raised legitimate questions and concerns with the 
language.
    We are also concerned that the bill contains a new 
definition of the word ``allotment'' which appears to convey 
the idea that a property right attaches to grazing permits and 
leases. Such a change runs counter to the clear legislative 
language of the Taylor Grazing Act and other statutory law that 
grazing is a privilege and not a right. The definition 
contained in the bill is not found in any statutory law and 
would open this question to new interpretations.
    Since the Committee failed to hold a legislative hearing on 
this far-reaching bill, Members have been denied the chance 
assess or receive testimony on the many issues associated with 
this bill. However, it is obvious from what we have noted thus 
far that H.R. 2493 has many serious problems.
    Interior Secretary Babbitt has notified the Committee that 
if H.R. 2493 is presented to the President, he will recommend a 
veto of this legislation. We concur with this recommendation. 
H.R. 2493 is seriously flawed legislation that runs counter to 
the House's past bipartisan support for real reform of the 
grazing program. The clear result of the bill is that grazing 
will be the dominant use of the public lands to the detriment 
of the taxpayer, the environment, and other multiple-uses. As 
such, we oppose the bill and urge it defeat.

                                   George Miller.
                                   Bruce F. Vento.
                                   Lloyd Doggett.
                                   Ed Markey.
                                   Maurice D. Hinchey.
                                   Dale E. Kildee.
                                   Peter DeFazio.
                                   Bill Delahunt.