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105th Congress                                            Rept. 105-440
 2d Session             HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES              Part 1
_______________________________________________________________________


 
               FOREST RECOVERY AND PROTECTION ACT OF 1998

                                _______
                                

                 March 12, 1998.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______


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

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 2515]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Agriculture, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 2515) to address the declining health of forests on 
Federal lands in the United States through a program of 
recovery and protection consistent with the requirements of 
existing public land management and environmental laws, to 
establish a program to inventory, monitor, and analyze public 
and private forests and their resources, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
with amendments and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
  The amendments (stated in terms of the page and line numbers 
of the introduced bill) are as follows:
  The amendments are 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 ``Forest Recovery and 
Protection Act of 1998''.
  (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings.
Sec. 3. Definitions.
Sec. 4. National Program of Forest Recovery and Protection.
Sec. 5. Scientific Advisory Panel.
Sec. 6. Advance recovery projects.
Sec. 7. Forest Recovery and Protection Fund.
Sec. 8. Authorization of appropriations.
Sec. 9. Audit requirements.
Sec. 10. Forest inventorying and analysis.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

  Congress finds the following:
          (1) There are tradeoffs in values associated with proactive, 
        passive, or delayed forest management. The values gained by 
        proactive management outweigh the values gained by delayed or 
        passive management of certain Federal forest lands.
          (2) Increases in both the number and severity of wildfire, 
        insect infestation, and disease outbreaks on Federal forest 
        lands are occurring as a result of high tree densities, species 
        composition, and structure that are outside the historic range 
        of variability. These disturbances cause or contribute to 
        significant soil erosion, degradation of air and water quality, 
        loss of watershed values, habitat loss, and damage to other 
        forest resources.
          (3) Serious destruction or degradation of important forest 
        resources occurs in all regions of the United States. 
        Management activities to restore and protect these resources in 
        perpetuity are needed in each region and should be designed to 
        address region-specific needs.
          (4) According to the Chief of the United States Forest 
        Service, between 35 and 40 million of the 191 million acres of 
        Federal forest lands managed by the Forest Service are at an 
        unacceptable risk of destruction by catastrophic wildfire. The 
        condition of these forests can pose a significant threat of 
        destruction to human life and property as well as to the 
        habitat for fish and wildlife (including threatened and 
        endangered species), public recreation areas, timber, 
        watersheds, and other important forest resources.
          (5) Restoration and protection of important forest resources 
        require active forest management involving a range of 
        management activities, including thinning, salvage, prescribed 
        fire (after appropriate thinning), sanitation and other insect 
        and disease control, riparian and other habitat improvement, 
        soil stabilization and other water quality improvement, and 
        seedling planting and protection.
          (6) Many units of the National Forest System have an 
        increasing backlog of unfunded projects to restore and protect 
        degraded forest resources. Adequate funding, structured so as 
        to maximize the allocation of monies for on-the-ground 
        projects, is needed to address this backlog in an efficient, 
        cost-effective way.
          (7) A comprehensive, nationwide effort is needed to restore 
        and protect important forest resources in an organized, timely, 
        and scientific manner. There should be immediate action to 
        improve the areas of Federal forest lands where serious 
        resource degradation has been thoroughly identified and 
        assessed or where serious resource destruction or degradation 
        by natural disturbance is imminent.
          (8) Congress and the Comptroller General have identified the 
        need to increase agency accountability for achieving measurable 
        results at all levels of government, both in the management of 
        fiscal resources and in carrying out statutory mandates. 
        Additional funding to address the backlog of recovery projects 
        in the National Forest System must, therefore, be accompanied 
        by performance standards and accountability mechanisms that 
        will clearly demonstrate the results achieved by any additional 
        investment of taxpayer dollars.
          (9) Frequent forest inventory and analysis of the status and 
        trends in the conditions of forests and their resources are 
        needed to identify and reverse the destruction or degradation 
        of important forest resources in a timely and effective manner. 
        The present average 12- to 15-year cycle of forest inventory 
        and analysis to comply with existing statutory requirements is 
        too prolonged to provide forest managers with the data 
        necessary to make timely and effective management decisions, 
        particularly decisions responsive to changing forest 
        conditions.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

  For purposes of this Act:
          (1) Federal forest lands.--The term ``Federal forest lands'' 
        means lands within the National Forest System.
          (2) Fund.--The terms ``Forest Recovery and Protection Fund'' 
        and ``Fund'' mean the fund established under section 7.
          (3) Implementation date.--The term ``implementation date'' 
        means January 15, 2000, or the first day of the 19th full month 
        following the date of the enactment of this Act, whichever is 
        later. However, if the implementation date under the second 
        option would occur within six months of the next January 15, 
        the Secretary may designate that January 15 as the 
        implementation date.
          (4) Land management plan.--The term ``land management plan'' 
        means 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 Federal forest lands under the jurisdiction of the 
        Secretary of Agriculture.
          (5) National program.--The term ``national program'' means 
        the National Program of Forest Recovery and Protection required 
        by section 4.
          (6) Overhead expenses.--The terms ``overhead expenses'' and 
        ``overhead'' mean--
                  (A) common services and indirect expenses, as such 
                terms are defined by expense items 1-10 in Appendix E 
                of the United States Forest Service Timber Cost 
                Efficiency Study Final Report, dated April 16, 1993 
                (pages 125-126);
                  (B) direct and indirect general administration 
                expenses, as such terms are identified in Appendix D of 
                the United States Forest Service Forest Management 
                Program Annual Report, Fiscal Year 1996 (FS-614), dated 
                December, 1997 (pages 110-111); and
                  (C) any other cost of line management or program 
                support that cannot be directly attributable to 
                specific projects or programs.
          (7) Recovery area.--The term ``recovery area'' means an area 
        of Federal forest lands, identified by the Secretary under 
        section 4(c)--
                  (A) that has experienced disturbances from wildfires, 
                insect infestations, disease, wind, flood, or other 
                causes, which have caused or contributed to significant 
                soil erosion, degradation of water quality, loss of 
                watershed values, habitat loss, or damage to other 
                forest resources of the area; or
                  (B) in which the forest structure, function, or 
                composition has been altered so as to increase 
                substantially the likelihood of wildfire, insect 
                infestation, or disease in the area and the consequent 
                risks of damage to soils, water quality, watershed 
                values, habitat, and other forest resources from 
                wildfire, insect infestation, disease, wind, flood, or 
                other causes.
          (8) Recovery project.--The term ``recovery project'' means a 
        project designed by the Secretary to improve, restore, or 
        protect forest resources within an identified recovery area, 
        including thinning, salvage, prescribed fire (after appropriate 
        thinning), sanitation and other insect and disease control, 
        riparian and other habitat improvement, soil stabilization and 
        other water quality improvement, and seedling planting and 
        protection.
          (9) Scientific advisory panel.--The term ``Scientific 
        Advisory Panel'' means the advisory panel appointed under 
        section 5.
          (10) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service.

SEC. 4. NATIONAL PROGRAM OF FOREST RECOVERY AND PROTECTION.

  (a) National Program Required.--Not later than the implementation 
date, the Secretary shall commence a national program to restore and 
protect forest resources located on Federal forest lands in the United 
States through the performance of recovery projects in identified 
recovery areas.
  (b) Standards and Criteria.--
          (1) Initial publication.--Not later than the implementation 
        date, the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register the 
        standards and criteria to be used for the identification of, 
        and the assignment of management priority rankings to, recovery 
        areas. In establishing the standards and criteria, the 
        Secretary shall consider the standards and criteria recommended 
        by the Scientific Advisory Panel under section 5(f). The 
        Secretary shall include in the Federal Register entry required 
        by this paragraph an explanation of any significant differences 
        between the recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Panel 
        and the standards and criteria actually established by the 
        Secretary.
          (2) Modification.--The Secretary may modify the standards and 
        criteria established pursuant to paragraph (1). Any such 
        modification shall also be published in the Federal Register.
          (3) Effect on existing land management plans.--The standards 
        and criteria established pursuant to paragraph (1), or any 
        modification thereto, shall not amend, revise, replace, or 
        otherwise alter any existing land management plan.
  (c) Identification of Recovery Areas.--
          (1) Allocation of funds; identification and ranking of 
        recovery areas.--For each fiscal year during the national 
        program, the Secretary shall allocate, in accordance with the 
        standards and criteria established and in effect under 
        subsection (b), amounts from the Forest Recovery and Protection 
        Fundto regions of the Forest Service for the purpose of 
conducting recovery projects in identified recovery areas. In making 
such allocations, the Secretary shall--
                  (A) identify recovery areas within which allocated 
                amounts should be used to conduct recovery projects; 
                and
                  (B) prioritize recovery areas for the purpose of 
                their receiving allocated amounts.
          (2) Notice required.--On the implementation date, and for 
        each fiscal year during the national program in which the 
        identification or ranking of recovery areas will change, the 
        Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register a notice 
        regarding the determinations required under paragraph (1). The 
        notice shall be published not later than the following:
                  (A) In the case of the initial notice, the 
                implementation date.
                  (B) In the case of each subsequent notice, January 15 
                of each fiscal year after the fiscal year in which the 
                implementation date occurs.
          (3) Requirements for notice.--The annual notice required by 
        paragraph (2) shall include the following:
                  (A) An identification of the recovery areas for which 
                the Secretary has allocated funds under paragraph (1).
                  (B) The prioritization of recovery areas for the 
                purpose of their receiving allocated funds under 
                paragraph (1).
                  (C) The total acreage, nationally and by recovery 
                area, proposed for treatment during the fiscal year 
                using amounts allocated under paragraph (1).
                  (D) A breakdown of the amounts allocated to each 
                region of the Forest Service under paragraph (1).
          (4) Authorized use of funds for multiyear projects.--Amounts 
        allocated by the Secretary pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be 
        available, without further allocation by the Secretary, to 
        carry out and administer multiyear recovery projects beyond the 
        fiscal year in which the funds are allocated by the Secretary.
  (d) Selection of Recovery Projects.--
          (1) Selection and final decision required.--Not later than 
        120 days after the date of the publication of the notice 
        required under subsection (c)(2) for a fiscal year, the 
        regional forester (or the designees of the regional forester) 
        in each region in which recovery areas are identified and to 
        which funds are allocated under subsection (c) shall select and 
        render a final decision on the recovery projects to be carried 
        out within each identified recovery area.
          (2) Prohibited project locations.--The regional forester (or 
        the designees of the regional forester) shall not select or 
        implement a recovery project under the authority of this Act in 
        any of the following:
                  (A) Any unit of the National Wilderness Preservation 
                System or any roadless area on Federal forest lands 
                designated by Congress for study for possible inclusion 
                in such system.
                  (B) Any riparian area, late successional reserve, or 
                old growth area within which the implementation of 
                recovery projects is prohibited by the applicable land 
                management plan.
                  (C) Any other area in which the implementation of 
                recovery projects is prohibited by law, a court order, 
                or the applicable land management plan.
  (e) Requirements for Recovery Project Selection.--In selecting 
recovery projects as required under subsection (d), the regional 
forester (or the designees of the regional forester) in each region 
shall--
          (1) identify for each recovery project the total acreage 
        requiring treatment, the estimated cost of preparation and 
        implementation, and the estimated project duration;
          (2) ensure that the total acreage in a recovery area to be 
        treated by recovery projects during the fiscal year is not less 
        than the total acreage identified by the Secretary under 
        subsection (c)(3)(C) for that recovery area;
          (3) consider the economic benefits to be provided to local 
        communities as a result of each recovery project, but only to 
        the extent that such considerations are consistent with the 
        standards and criteria for recovery areas established and in 
        effect under subsection (b) and the priorities established by 
        the ranking of recovery areas under subsection (c);
          (4) ensure that each recovery project is consistent with the 
        land management plan applicable to the recovery area within 
        which the recovery project will be conducted; and
          (5) ensure that each recovery project is designed to be 
        implemented in the most cost-effective manner, except that a 
        recovery project is not precluded simply because the cost of 
        preparing and implementing the recovery project is likely to 
        exceed the revenue derived from the recovery project.
  (f) Petition Process.--
          (1) Request for identification as recovery area.--Not later 
        than 180 days after the implementation date, any interested 
        person may petition the Secretary to identify a specific area 
        of Federal forest lands as a recovery area for which funds 
        should be allocated pursuant to subsection (c). Each area 
        specified in such a petition must be at least one thousand 
        acres in size.
          (2) Content.--The petition shall contain a reasonably precise 
        description of the boundaries of the area included in the 
        petition and the reasons why the petitioner believes the area 
        meets the standards and criteria, established pursuant to 
        subsection (b), required for identification as a recovery area.
          (3) Notice and comment.--Not later than 210 days after the 
        implementation date, the Secretary shall publish in the Federal 
        Register a notice of the availability of the petitions filed 
        with the Secretary pursuant to paragraph (1) for public 
        comment. During the 30-day period beginning on the date the 
        notice is published, the Secretary shall accept comments on the 
        petitions.
          (4) Determination.--If the Secretary determines that an area 
        described in a petition under this subsection warrants 
        identification as a recovery area, the Secretary shall include 
        the area in the list of recovery areas identified in the first 
        notice prepared under subsection (c) after the implementation 
        date. If the Secretary determines that the area does not 
        warrant identification as a recovery area, the Secretary shall 
        provide the reasons therefor in that same Federal Register 
        entry.
  (g) Annual Report to Congress.--
          (1) Report required.--Not later than the implementation date, 
        and each January 15 thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to 
        Congress a report on the allocation of funds and the 
        identification and ranking of recovery areas required under 
        subsection (c).
          (2) Report contents.--Each report required by paragraph (1) 
        shall include the following:
                  (A) An identification of, and justification for, the 
                recovery areas for which the Secretary has allocated 
                funds under subsection (c).
                  (B) The prioritization of recovery areas for the 
                purpose of their receiving allocated funds under 
                subsection (c).
                  (C) The total acreage, nationally and by recovery 
                area, requiring treatment by recovery projects during 
                the fiscal year using amounts allocated under 
                subsection (c).
                  (D) A breakdown of the amounts allocated to each 
                region of the Forest Service under subsection (c).
          (3) Additional requirements.--After the initial report 
        required by paragraph (1), each subsequent report shall also 
        include the following:
                  (A) A list, by recovery area, of the recovery 
                projects selected during the prior fiscal year 
                including, for each recovery project, the following:
                          (i) A description of the management 
                        objectives of the project.
                          (ii) The total acreage requiring treatment, 
                        the estimated cost of preparation and 
                        implementation, and the estimated project 
                        duration.
                          (iii) The total acreage treated by the 
                        recovery project during the fiscal year.
                          (iv) The projected economic benefits (if any) 
                        the project will provide to local communities.
                  (B) A list, by recovery area, of the recovery 
                projects completed during the prior fiscal year 
                including, for each recovery project, a comparison of 
                the following:
                          (i) The projected and actual management 
                        objectives achieved by the project.
                          (ii) The projected and actual preparation and 
                        implementation costs of the project.
                          (iii) The projected and actual economic 
                        benefits to local communities provided by the 
                        project.
                  (C) An explanation of the following:
                          (i) Why final decisions on any recovery 
                        projects selected during the prior fiscal year 
                        were not rendered within the timeframe required 
                        under subsection (d)(1) and an accounting of 
                        the steps taken by the Secretary relative to 
                        the projects pursuant to the requirements of 
                        section 7(d); and
                          (ii) Why any recovery projects were not 
                        begun, undertaken, or completed as scheduled.
                  (D) A description of any additional resources or 
                authorities needed by the Secretary to implement and 
                carry out the national program in an efficient and 
                cost-effective manner.
          (4) Notice of availability.--The Federal Register entry 
        required for each fiscal year under subsection (c)(2) shall 
        contain a notice of availability of the most-recent report to 
        Congress required by this subsection.
  (h) Exceptions to Agency Action.--For purposes of implementing or 
carrying out this Act, the following activities do not constitute 
agency action:
          (1) The establishment and publication in the Federal Register 
        of standards and criteria to be used for the identification of, 
        and the assignment of management priority rankings to, recovery 
        areas under subsection (b).
          (2) The allocation of amounts from the Forest Recovery and 
        Protection Fund, the identification and ranking of recovery 
        areas, and the publication of notice in the Federal Register 
        under subsection (c).
          (3) The preparation and submission of the annual reports to 
        Congress under subsection (g) and section 6(e).
  (i) Administrative Appeals.--Section 322 of the Department of the 
Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 (Public Law 102-
381; 16 U.S.C. 1612 note), shall apply with respect to actions 
undertaken to implement this Act, including the final decision 
selecting recovery projects, except that the administrative stay 
required by subsection (e) of that section shall apply only to the 
specific recovery project or projects that are the subject of the 
administrative appeal.

SEC. 5. SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY PANEL.

  (a) Establishment.--There is established a panel of scientific 
advisers to the Secretary to be known as the ``Scientific Advisory 
Panel''.
  (b) Composition of Panel.--
          (1) Appointment from list of experts.--The Scientific 
        Advisory Panel shall consist of 11 members appointed as 
        provided in subsection (c) from a list, to be prepared by the 
        National Academy of Sciences, that consists of--
                  (A) persons with expertise in the natural sciences 
                who, through the publication of peer-reviewed 
                scientific literature have demonstrated expertise in 
                matters relevant to forest resource management; and
                  (B) State foresters (or persons with similar 
                managerial expertise) who, through the publication of 
                peer-reviewed scientific literature or other similar 
                evidence of significant scientific or professional 
                accomplishment, have demonstrated expertise in matters 
                relevant to forest resource management.
          (2) Preparation of list.--The National Academy of Sciences 
        shall prepare the list required by paragraph (1) not later than 
        30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act. In the 
        preparation of the list, the National Academy of Sciences shall 
        consult with scientific and professional organizations whose 
        members have relevant experience in forest resource management.
  (c) Appointment Process.--The members of the Scientific Advisory 
Panel shall be selected from the list described in subsection (b) as 
follows:
          (1) One member appointed by the Chairman of the Committee on 
        Agriculture of the House of Representatives, in consultation 
        with the ranking minority member of the Committee.
          (2) One member appointed by the Chairman of the Committee on 
        Resources of the House of Representatives, in consultation with 
        the ranking minority member of the Committee.
          (3) One member appointed by the Chairman of the Committee on 
        Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate, in 
        consultation with the ranking minority member of the Committee.
          (4) One member appointed by the Chairman of the Committee on 
        Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate, in consultation 
        with the ranking minority member of the Committee.
          (5) Three members appointed by the Secretary.
          (6) Four members appointed by the National Academy of 
        Sciences.
  (d) Administrative Matters.--
          (1) Time for appointment.--Appointments of members of the 
        Scientific Advisory Panel shall be made as follows:
                  (A) The appointment of members under paragraphs (1) 
                through (4) of subsection (c) shall be made within 30 
                days after the date on which the list described in 
                subsection (b) is first made available.
                  (B) The appointment of members under paragraphs (5) 
                and (6) of subsection (c) shall begin after the 
                appointments required under paragraphs (1) through (4) 
                of such subsection have been made so that the persons 
                making the appointments under paragraphs (5) and (6) of 
                such subsection can ensure that the requirement 
                specified in subsection (e) for a balanced 
                representation of scientific disciplines on the 
                Scientific Advisory Panel is satisfied. The 
                appointments shall be completed within 60 days after 
                the date on which the list described in subsection (b) 
                is first made available.
          (2) Term and vacancies.--A member of the Scientific Advisory 
        Panel shall be appointed for a term beginning on the date of 
        the appointment and ending on the implementation date. A 
        vacancy on the Scientific Advisory Panel shall be filled within 
        30 days in the manner in which the original appointment was 
        made.
          (3) Commencement of activity.--The Scientific Advisory Panel 
        may commence its duties under subsection (f) as soon as at 
        least eight of the members have been appointed under subsection 
        (c). At the initial meeting, the members of the Scientific 
        Advisory Panel shall select one member to serve as chairperson.
          (4) Conflict of interests.--A person may not serve as a 
        member of the Scientific Advisory Panel if the member has a 
        conflict of interest with regard to any of the duties to be 
        performed by the Scientific Advisory Panel under subsection 
        (f). Decisions regarding the existence of a conflict of 
        interest shall be made by the Scientific Advisory Panel.
  (e) Balanced Representation of Scientific Disciplines.--The 
Scientific Advisory Panel shall include at least one representative of 
each of the following:
          (1) Hydrologist.
          (2) Wildlife biologist.
          (3) Fisheries biologist.
          (4) Entomologist or pathologist.
          (5) Fire ecologist.
          (6) Silviculturist.
          (7) Economist.
          (8) Soil scientist.
          (9) State forester or person with similar managerial 
        expertise.
  (f) Duties In Connection With Implementation.--During the period 
beginning on the initial meeting of the Scientific Advisory Panel and 
ending on the implementation date, the Scientific Advisory Panel shall 
be responsible for the following:
          (1) The preparation and submission to the Secretary and the 
        Congress of recommendations regarding the standards and 
        criteria that should be used to identify recovery areas and 
        rank them in the order in which they should host recovery 
        projects.
          (2) The preparation of and submission to the Secretary and 
        the Congress of a monitoring plan for the national program of 
        sufficient duration to determine the long-term impacts of the 
        national program.
  (g) Considerations.--In the development of its recommendations under 
subsection (f), the Scientific Advisory Panel shall--
          (1) consult as appropriate with region-specific scientific 
        experts in forest ecology, hydrology, wildlife biology, 
        entomology, pathology, soil science, economics, social 
        sciences, and other appropriate scientific disciplines;
          (2) consider the most current peer-reviewed scientific 
        literature regarding the duties undertaken by the Panel; and
          (3) incorporate information gathered during the 
        implementation of the advance recovery projects required under 
        section 6.
  (h) Allocation of Forest Service Personnel.--The Forest Service shall 
allocate administrative support staff to the Scientific Advisory Panel 
to assist the Panel in the performance of its duties as outlined in 
this section.
  (i) Federal Advisory Committee Act Compliance.--The Scientific 
Advisory Panel shall be subject to sections 10 through 14 of the 
Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).

SEC. 6. ADVANCE RECOVERY PROJECTS.

  (a) Selection of Advance Projects.--During the 18-month period 
beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall 
allocate amounts from the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund to Forest 
Service regions for the purpose of conducting a limited number (as 
determined by the Secretary) of advance recovery projects on Federal 
forest lands. The regional foresters of the Forest Service (or the 
designees of the regional foresters) shall select the advance recovery 
projects to be carried out under this section. However, the selection 
of an advance recovery project in a State shall be made in consultation 
with the State forester of that State. The Secretary shall publish a 
list of selected advance recovery projects (including the 
determinations required under section 4(e)(1)) in the Federal Register 
within the time period specified in subsection (c).
  (b) Selection Criteria.--In selecting advance recovery projects, the 
regional foresters (and their designees) shall comply with the 
requirements of subsections (d)(2) and (e) of section 4 applicable to 
the selection of recovery projects under the national program. Priority 
shall be given to projects on those Federal forest lands--
          (1) where the Regional Forester (in consultation with the 
        appropriate State forester) has identified a significant risk 
        of loss to human life and property or serious resource 
        degradation or destruction due to wildfire, disease epidemic, 
        severe insect infestation, wind, flood, or other causes; or
          (2) for which thorough forest resource assessments have been 
        completed, including Federal forest lands in the Pacific 
        Northwest, the Interior Columbia Basin, the Sierra Nevada, the 
        Southern Appalachian Region, and the northern forests of Maine, 
        Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York.
  (c) Time Periods for Selection and Implementation.--Final selection 
of advance recovery projects shall be completed within the 90-day 
period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, and the 
Secretary shall publish the list of selected advance recovery projects 
in the Federal Register by the end of that period. An advance recovery 
project shall be initiated (if the project is to be conducted by 
Federal employees) or awarded (if the project is to be conducted by an 
outside party) within 180 days after the date of the enactment of this 
Act.
  (d) Effect of Failure To Comply With Time Periods.--If an advance 
recovery project is not selected, initiated, or awarded within the time 
periods specified in subsection (c), the Secretary may not use amounts 
in the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund to carry out the project and 
shall promptly reimburse the Fund for any expenditures previously made 
from the Fund in connection with the project.
  (e) Reporting Requirements.--Not later than the implementation date, 
and annually thereafter until completion of all advance recovery 
projects, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the 
implementation of advance recovery projects. The report shall consist 
of a description of the accomplishments of each advance recovery 
project and incorporate the requirements of paragraphs (2) and (3) of 
section 4(g).
  (f) Rulemaking.--No new rulemaking is required in order for the 
Secretary to carry out this section.

SEC. 7. FOREST RECOVERY AND PROTECTION FUND.

  (a) Establishment.--There is established on the books of the Treasury 
a fund to be known as the ``Forest Recovery and Protection Fund''. The 
Chief of the Forest Service shall be responsible for administering the 
Fund.
  (b) Credits to Fund.--There shall be credited to the Fund the 
following:
          (1) Amounts authorized for and appropriated to the Fund.
          (2) Unobligated amounts in the roads and trails fund provided 
        for in the fourteenth paragraph under the heading ``FOREST 
        SERVICE'' of the Act of March 4, 1913 (37 Stat. 843; 16 U.S.C. 
        501) as of the date of the enactment of this Act, and all 
        amounts which would otherwise be deposited in such fund after 
        such date.
          (3) Subject to subsection (f), the Federal share of revenues 
        generated by recovery projects undertaken pursuant to sections 
        4 and 6.
          (4) Amounts required to be reimbursed to the Fund under 
        subsection (d).
  (c) Use of Fund.--During the time period specified under section 
8(a), amounts in the Fund shall be available to the Secretary, without 
further appropriation, to carry out the national program, to plan, 
carry out, and administer recovery projects under sections 4 and 6 
(including defraying costs incurred by State foresters in the 
identification of advance recovery projects), and to administer the 
Scientific Advisory Panel.
  (d) Effect of Failure To Comply With Annual Deadlines.--
          (1) Prohibition on use of fund.--The Secretary may not use 
        amounts in the Fund--
                  (A) to allocate monies to regions of the Forest 
                Service during a fiscal year under subsection (c)(1) of 
                section 4, if the deadlines specified under subsection 
                (c)(2) or (g)(1) of such section are not met for that 
                fiscal year; or
                  (B) to carry out a recovery project, if the final 
                decision on the recovery project is not rendered within 
                the time period specified in subsection (d)(1) of such 
                section.
          (2) Fund reimbursement.--If the deadlines referred to in 
        paragraph (1)(A) are not met for a particular fiscal year, the 
        Secretary shall promptly reimburse the Fund for any 
        expenditures previously made from the Fund in connection with 
        the allocation of monies to regions of the Forest Service 
        during that fiscal year. If the time periods referred to in 
        paragraph (1)(B) are not met for a particular recovery project, 
        the Secretary shall promptly reimburse the Fund for any 
        expenditures previously made to carry out that recovery 
        project.
  (e) Limitation on Overhead Expenses.--
          (1) Overhead expenses.--The Secretary shall not allocate or 
        assign overhead expenses to the Fund or to any of the 
        activities or programs authorized by sections 4 through 9.
          (2) Scientific advisory panel.--The Secretary may allocate up 
        to $1,000,000 from the Fund to finance the operation of the 
        Scientific Advisory Panel.
  (f) Treatment of Revenues as Moneys Received.--Revenues generated by 
recovery projects undertaken pursuant to sections 4 and 6 shall be 
considered to be money received for purposes of the sixth paragraph 
under the heading ``FOREST SERVICE'' in the Act of May 23, 1908 (35 
Stat. 260; 16 U.S.C. 500), and section 13 of the Act of March 1, 1911 
(36 Stat. 963; commonly known as the Weeks Act; 16 U.S.C. 500).
  (g) Conforming Amendment.--The fourteenth paragraph under the heading 
``FOREST SERVICE'' of the Act of March 4, 1913 (37 Stat. 843; 16 U.S.C. 
501), is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: 
``During the term of the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund, as 
established by section 7 of the Forest Recovery and Protection Act of 
1998, amounts reserved under the authority of this paragraph shall be 
deposited into that Fund.''.

SEC. 8. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  (a) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be 
appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions 
of this Act for the fiscal year in which this Act is enacted and each 
fiscal year thereafter through September 30, 2005, or September 30 of 
the fifth full fiscal year following the implementation date, whichever 
is later.
  (b) Deposit in Fund.--All sums appropriated pursuant to this section 
shall be deposited in the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund.
  (c) Effect on Existing Projects.--Any contract regarding a recovery 
project entered into before the end of the final fiscal year specified 
in subsection (a), and still in effect at the end of such fiscal year, 
shall remain in effect until completed pursuant to the terms of the 
contract.

SEC. 9. AUDIT REQUIREMENTS.

  (a) Annual Report Verification.--At the request of any committee 
chairman identified in section 5(c), the Comptroller General shall 
submit to Congress a report assessing the accuracy of an annual report 
prepared by the Secretary pursuant to section 4(g). The Comptroller 
General's report shall be completed as soon as practicable following 
the date of the publication by the Secretary of the annual report for 
which the request under this subsection was made.
  (b) National Program Audit.--At the request of any committee chairman 
identified in section 5(c), the Comptroller General shall conduct an 
audit of the national program at the end of the fourth full fiscal year 
following the implementation date.
  (c) Elements of Audit.--The audit under subsection (b) shall include 
an analysis of the following:
          (1) Whether advance recovery projects, the national program, 
        and the administration of the Forest Recovery and Protection 
        Fund were carried out in a manner consistent with the 
        provisions of this Act.
          (2) The impact of the advance recovery projects conducted 
        under section 6 on the development and implementation of the 
        national program.
          (3) The extent to which the recommendations of the Scientific 
        Advisory Panel were used to develop and implement the national 
        program.
          (4) The current and projected future financial status of the 
        Forest Recovery and Protection Fund.
          (5) Any cost savings or efficiencies achieved under the 
        national program.
          (6) Any other aspect of the implementation of this Act 
        considered appropriate by the chairman or chairmen requesting 
        the audit.

SEC. 10. FOREST INVENTORY AND ANALYSIS.

  (a) Program Required.--The Secretary shall establish a program to 
inventory and analyze, in a timely manner, public and private forests 
in the United States.
  (b) Annual State Inventory.--Subject to subsection (c), not later 
than the end of each full fiscal year beginning after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prepare for each State, in 
cooperation with the State forester for that State, an inventory of the 
forests in that State. For purposes of preparing the inventory for a 
State, the Secretary shall measure annually 20 percent of all 
sampleplots that are included in the inventory program for that State. 
Upon completion of each annual inventory, the Secretary shall make 
available to the public a compilation of all data collected from the 
year's measurements of sample plots and any analysis of such samples.
  (c) Modifications.--At the request of the State forester (or 
equivalent State officer) of a State, the Secretary may modify for that 
State the time interval for preparing forest inventories, the 
percentage of sample plots to be measured annually, or the requirements 
for making data available to the public required under subsection (b), 
except that 100 percent of the sample plots in the inventory program 
for that State shall be measured, appropriate analysis of such samples 
shall be conducted, and corresponding data shall be compiled during the 
time intervals described in subsection (d).
  (d) 5-Year Reports.--At intervals not greater than every five full 
fiscal years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary 
shall prepare, publish, and make available to the public a report, 
prepared in cooperation with State foresters, that--
          (1) contains a description of each State inventory of 
        forests, incorporating all sample plot measurements conducted 
        during the five years covered by the report;
          (2) displays and analyzes on a nationwide basis the results 
        of the State reports required by subsection (b); and
          (3) contains an analysis of forest health conditions and 
        trends over the previous two decades, with an emphasis on such 
        conditions and trends during the period subsequent to the 
        immediately preceding report under this subsection.
  (e) National Standards and Definitions.--To ensure uniform and 
consistent data collection for all public and private forest ownerships 
and each State, the Secretary shall develop, in consultation with State 
foresters and Federal land management agencies not within the 
jurisdiction of the Secretary, and publish national standards and 
definitions to be applied in inventorying and analyzing forests under 
this section. The standards shall include a core set of variables to be 
measured on all sample plots under subsection (b) and a standard set of 
tables to be included in the reports under subsection (d).
  (f) Protection for Private Property Rights.--The Secretary shall 
obtain written authorization from property owners prior to collecting 
data from sample plots located on private property pursuant to 
subsections (b) and (c). Nothing in this section shall be construed to 
authorize the Secretary (directly or through the use of State foresters 
or other persons) to regulate privately held forest lands, the use of 
privately held forest lands, or the resources located on privately held 
forest lands.
  (g) Strategic Plan.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prepare and submit to 
Congress a strategic plan to implement and carry out this section, 
including the annual updates required by subsection (b), any 
modifications made to pursuant to subsection (c), and the reports 
required by subsection (d). The strategic plan shall describe in detail 
the following:
          (1) The financial resources required to implement and carry 
        out this section, including the identification of any resources 
        required in excess of the amounts provided for forest 
        inventorying and analysis in recent appropriations Acts.
          (2) The personnel necessary to implement and carry out this 
        section, including any personnel in addition to personnel 
        currently performing inventorying and analysis functions.
          (3) The organization and procedures necessary to implement 
        and carry out this section, including proposed coordination 
        with Federal land management agencies and State foresters.
          (4) The schedules for annual sample plot measurements in each 
        State inventory required by subsection (b), as modified for 
        that State under subsection (c), within the first five-year 
        interval after the date of the enactment of this Act.
          (5) The core set of variables to be measured in each sample 
        plot under subsections (b) and (c) and the standard set of 
        tables to be used in each State and national report under 
        subsection (d).
          (6) The process for employing, in coordination with the 
        Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space 
        Administration, remote sensing, global positioning systems, and 
        other advanced technologies to carry out this section, and the 
        subsequent use of such technologies.

  Amend the title so as to read:

      A bill to address the destruction and degradation of 
important forest resources on Federal lands in the United 
States through a program of recovery and protection consistent 
with the requirements of existing public land management and 
environmental laws, to establish a program to inventory, 
monitor, and analyze public and private forests, and for other 
purposes.

                           Brief Explanation

               section 1: short title; table of contents

                          section 2: findings

    Section 2 presents findings of the Committee based on seven 
separate Committee hearings and various reports and scientific 
assessments.

                         section 3: definitions

    Most of the definitions in this section are straightforward 
in their meaning. The following, however, warrant elaboration.

Overhead expenses

    The Congress has tried to determine for years what the 
Forest Service considers to be overhead expenses. For the 
purposes of this Act, overhead includes common services, 
indirect expenses, and direct and indirect general 
administration as defined by two separate Forest Service 
documents. Also included in the definition are any other costs 
of line management or program support that cannot be directly 
attributable to specific projects or programs. It is the intent 
of the Committee that this definition of overhead, as referred 
to in language included in section 7(e) of this Act, will 
prevent the use of the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund to 
pay for agency bureaucracy, fixed overhead, and other costs 
that have little or nothing to do with the specific programs 
and activities authorized by this Act.

Recovery area

    This term means an area of National Forest System lands, 
identified by the Secretary that has become damaged or degraded 
or is at high risk of becoming damaged or degraded. The 
Committee intends for the identification of recovery areas to 
be principally a function of budget allocation. Hence, under 
section 4(c) of this Act, the Secretary is required to identify 
and prioritize recovery areas as part of the process of 
allocating funds from the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund.

Recovery project

    Recovery projects are on-the-ground projects to improve, 
restore, or protect forest resources within an identified 
recovery area. The intent of Congress is not to be 
prescriptive, but rather to give agency decision makers the 
discretion to use recovery strategies deemed most appropriate 
through the normal interdisciplinary and public participation 
process. These strategies might include any number of 
activities, such as: thinning (i.e., a cultural treatment made 
to reduce stand density of trees primarily to improve growth, 
enhance forest health, or to recover potential mortality); 
salvage (i.e., the removal of dead trees or trees being damaged 
or dying due to injurious agents other than competition, to 
recover value that would otherwise be lost); prescribed fire 
(after appropriate thinning); sanitation (i.e., the removal of 
trees to improve stand health by stopping or reducing actual or 
anticipated spread of insects and disease); integrated pest 
management; riparian restoration; fish and wildlife habitat 
improvement activities; soil stabilization and other water 
quality improvement, including road obliteration or 
rehabilitation; and revegetation, including seedling planting 
and protection.
    The Committee acknowledges the recent confusion and 
controversy surrounding the definition and need for salvage. 
Therefore, it is the intent of the Committee that any salvage 
conducted in recovery areas should be fully justified and 
integrated, as appropriate, with other restoration strategies. 
Nothing in this Act authorizes the harvest of timber for any 
purpose other than the restoration of damaged or at-risk 
forests.

     section 4: national program of forest recovery and protection

    This section establishes a national program for the 
recovery and protection of damaged or degraded resources and 
restoring resilient forest conditions on national forest lands.

Selection of standards and criteria

    In carrying out the national program, the Secretary is 
required first to publish scientifically-based standards and 
criteria to be used in the selection of recovery areas. The 
Scientific Advisory Panel established in section 5 recommends 
standards and criteria to the Secretary, however, the Secretary 
retains the ultimate discretion whether to adopt these 
recommendations or develop standards and criteria of his own. 
The Secretary is required to publish his standards and criteria 
in the Federal Register by the implementation date of the 
national program. The Secretary is required to include in this 
notice a justification of the standards and criteria selected 
and the reasons why any of the recommendations made by the 
Scientific Advisory Panel were not adopted. The Secretary may 
modify the standards and criteria at any time during the 
implementation of the national program through publication in 
the Federal Register.
    It is the intent of the Committee that the Secretary's 
standards and criteria be broad in scope and general enough to 
adapt to the site-specific nuances of each region within the 
National Forest System. Standards and criteria might, by way of 
illustration, provide general guidance regarding forest 
structure, function or composition that issignificantly outside 
the historic range of variability, the loss of wildlife habitat, or the 
degradation of water quality.

Decision-making role of the Secretary and local line officers

    The Committee has been careful to clearly identify the 
decision-making roles of the Secretary and regional foresters, 
or their designees, in the implementation of the national 
program. Under this section, the principal role of the 
Secretary is to (1) identify the standards and criteria which 
will govern the allocation of amounts from the Forest Recovery 
and Protection Fund and (2) allocate amounts from the Fund 
annually to regions of the Forest Service for the purpose of 
conducting recovery projects. At the time monies are allocated 
from the Fund, the Secretary is required to identify and 
prioritize recovery areas in which allocated amounts will be 
used to conduct recovery projects. The identification and 
prioritization of recovery areas are a part of the fund 
allocation process and are, in effect, a public statement of 
the Secretary's priorities relative to such allocations.
    Regional foresters and their designees will, as has been 
historically the case, be responsible for project-level 
decision making, including compliance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act and the regulations governing the 
appeals process for agency decisions. It is the intent of the 
Committee that project-level decisions shall be made at the 
organizational level most appropriate for ensuring timely and 
efficient project planning and implementation.

Agency accountability

    The Committee recognizes the growing public concern for 
agency accountability and the role of Congress in ensuring that 
taxpayer dollars are invested in ways that produce tangible, 
measurable results. For this reason, the Committee has included 
in this section language that requires a high degree of 
accountability by the Secretary and the Forest Service to 
demonstrate the results achieved using amounts allocated from 
the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund.
    The Committee requires, for example, that the Secretary 
identify annually the total acres to be treated in recovery 
areas using amounts allocated from the Fund. The Secretary is 
also required to report to Congress annually on the recovery 
projects selected, including for each project the estimated 
project cost, duration, management objectives (including the 
expected environmental benefits) and economic benefits to local 
communities. Local line officers are required to ensure that 
the recovery projects selected in each recovery area will treat 
in a given fiscal year at least the total acreage in that 
recovery area identified by the Secretary as requiring 
treatment for that fiscal year. For each completed project, the 
Secretary is required to compare estimated and actual project 
costs, duration, management objectives, and economic benefits 
to local communities.
    This performance-based reporting is consistent with both 
the letter and intent of the Government Performance and Results 
Act of 1993 (GPRA). The Committee views the reports required 
under this Act as a practical application of the GPRA and 
anticipate that these reports will become a model for GPRA-
based reporting by the agency in the future.
    To ensure timely agency reporting and decisions, the 
Committee has included deadlines in this section for agency 
reporting, the allocation of amounts in the Forest Recovery and 
Protection Fund, and recovery project selection. It is the 
intent of the Committee that the Secretary strictly adhere to 
these deadlines. To create an incentive for adherence, the 
Committee has added language to section 7 of this Act 
prohibiting use of the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund by 
the Secretary upon failure to meet the annual deadline for 
allocating amounts from the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund 
and submitting reports to Congress, and by regional foresters 
or their designees upon failure to meet the deadlines for 
rendering final decisions on recovery projects.

Community benefits and non-revenue generating recovery projects

    It is the intent of the Committee that recovery projects 
authorized by this Act be carried out in an economic and cost-
efficient manner. To achieve this end, the Committee has 
included language requiring regional foresters, in the 
selection of recovery projects, to consider (1) the economic 
benefits that recovery projects will provide to local 
communities, and (2) the most cost-effective design and method 
of implementation.
    The consideration of economic benefits to local communities 
should be done in a manner consistent with the standards and 
criteria established by the Secretary. Economic benefits 
include, but are not limited to, payments to schools and 
counties, direct and indirect jobs and personal income, state 
and local taxes paid by individuals and companies, local 
investments in new facilities and equipment, and local 
investments in infrastructure for long-term management.
    The Committee recognizes its responsibility to the taxpayer 
to ensure the prudent expenditure of public moneys. However, 
the Committee anticipates that recovery projects may include 
activities that generate little or no revenue. For some of 
these, the revenue generated will not exceed the project costs. 
In these cases, Congress expects the decision-makers to utilize 
the most cost-effective means available to undertake 
theserecovery projects. However, the Committee wishes to emphasize that 
a recovery project need not be precluded simply because it does not 
generate revenues in excess of costs.

Exceptions to agency actions

    The Committee has clearly stated that certain activities do 
not constitute agency actions. These include: (1) the 
establishment and publication in the Federal Register of 
standards and criteria to be used for the identification of, 
and the assignment of priority to, recovery areas, (2) the 
allocation of amounts from the Forest Recovery and Protection 
Fund, the identification and prioritization of recovery areas, 
including any corresponding publications in the Federal 
Register, and (3) the preparation and submission of annual 
reports to Congress.
    The Committee notes that, historically, the publication of 
general agency guidelines, statements of agency priorities, the 
allocation of agency funds, and the submission of reports to 
Congress have not been interpreted to constitute agency action. 
The language in this section is intended to be consistent with 
this interpretation. It is the intent of the Committee that 
since analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act has 
already taken place for existing land and resource management 
plans, and recovery projects must be consistent with these 
plans, the appropriate level for analysis required by NEPA to 
implement the national program is at the project level.

Prohibited project locations

    Though this Act is consistent with all environmental laws, 
public concern about forest management activities has prompted 
the Committee to explicitly preclude entry into or management 
of (1) any Wilderness Area and Wilderness study area, (2) any 
riparian area, late successional reserve or old growth area 
within which the implementation of recovery projects is 
prohibited by the applicable land management plan, and (3) any 
other area in which the implementation of recovery projects is 
prohibited by law, a court order, or the applicable land 
management plan. The overriding purpose of these requirements 
is to ensure strict adherence to existing land and resource 
management plans.

Public participation

    At no other time has there been greater citizen interest in 
and scrutiny of forest management activities. To accommodate 
this heightened awareness, this Act provides interested parties 
an opportunity to petition the Secretary to have specific 
National Forest System lands identified as recovery areas. 
Following the one-time petition deadline, petitions are subject 
to notice of availability by the Secretary, and a public 
comment period. This petition process applies only to the 
identification of recovery areas, and in no way supplants the 
public participation process required on a project basis by 
NEPA.

Community support

    In recent years, many communities have brought together 
diverse interests to find reasonable and broadly-supported 
solutions to forest management issues. In this spirit of 
collaboration, regional foresters and line officers are urged 
to work closely with local communities to increase awareness of 
agency activities and develop local support for management 
initiatives. Furthermore, it is the Committee's intent that 
forest managers work in coordination and cooperation with other 
Federal, State and local resource agencies.

Administrative appeals

    Recovery projects are subject to current administrative 
appeals rules, which are made applicable to the activities 
authorized by this Act.

                  Section 5: Scientific Advisory Panel

    Section 5 establishes a Scientific Advisory Panel to 
provide recommendations to the Secretary on the standards and 
criteria required by the national program, and a monitoring 
plan for the national program.

Description of the Scientific Advisory Panel

    The Scientific Advisory Panel provision was incorporated to 
provide solid scientific underpinnings for restoration 
activities authorized by this Act. Scientific credibility and 
integrity are maintained through a requirement of balanced 
representation of scientific disciplines. The duties of the 
Scientific Advisory Panel are limited to (1) recommendations on 
the standards and criteria for identifying recovery areas, and 
(2) the development of a monitoring plan for the national 
program.

Academic and professional standards

    The 11-member panel is selected from a list prepared by the 
National Academy of Sciences in consultation with scientific 
and professional organizations specializing in natural 
resources. This list prepared by the Academy must consist of 
scientists with expertise in natural resource science and have 
demonstrated this expertise through the publication of peer-
reviewed scientific literature, and State foresters (or persons 
with similar managerial expertise) with expertise demonstrated 
through the publication of peer-reviewed scientific literature 
or other similar evidence of significant scientific or 
professional accomplishment.

Appointment process and time for appointment

    To ensure balanced representation, the Act requires that of 
the 11 panel members, four are appointed by Congress, four are 
appointed by the National Academy of Sciences and three are 
appointed by the Secretary. Since it is critical that the panel 
begin its work as quickly as possible, timelines have been 
stipulated in the Act to ensure the timely appointment of the 
panel's members. The panel may commence its duties when eight 
of its 11 members have been appointed, providing an incentive 
for all parties to meet the timelines set forth in the Act.

Term and vacancies

    The term of service for members of the Scientific Advisory 
Panel begins on the date of appointment and expires on the 
implementation date of the Act. Panel vacancies must be filled 
within 30 days, and in the same manner in which the original 
appointment was made.

Conflict of interests

    It is prohibited for a person with a conflict of interest 
to serve as a member of the panel. Conflicts of interest are 
identified by the Scientific Advisory Panel.

Balanced representation of scientific disciplines

    It is the Committee's objective to provide for a balanced 
representation of scientific disciplines. A multi-disciplinary 
panel will provide the greatest assurances that all forest 
resources are considered in the preparation of the panel's 
recommendations. A hydrologist, wildlife biologist, fisheries 
biologist, entomologist or pathologist, fire ecologist, 
silviculturist, economist, soil scientist and at least one 
State forester (or person with similar managerial expertise) 
must be appointed to the panel.

Duties in connection with implementation

    The Scientific Advisory Panel is responsible for (1) 
preparing and submitting to the Secretary and Congress their 
recommendations on the standards and criteria for identifying 
and prioritizing recovery areas, and (2) preparing and 
submitting to the Secretary and Congress a monitoring plan for 
the national program. Though term of service for members of the 
Scientific Advisory Panel begins on their respective dates of 
appointment and ends on the implementation date, it is the 
Committee's intent that the panel complete its duties within 
one year of the appointment of the eighth panel member. This 
will provide the Secretary ample opportunity to consider the 
recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Panel and allow 
implementation of the national program to proceed according to 
the timelines set forth in the Act.

Considerations

    The Act requires that the Scientific Advisory Panel consult 
with region-specific scientists representing diverse 
disciplines relating to the management of forest resources; 
consider the most current peer-reviewed literature regarding 
the panel's duties; and incorporate information gathered during 
the implementation of the advance recovery projects. The 
Committee further urges the panel to draw upon the expertise of 
State agency specialist employed by any State foresters 
represented on the panel.

Allocation of Forest Service personnel

    The Forest Service is required to allocate administrative 
support staff to the Scientific Advisory Panel to assist the 
panel in accomplishing its duties. It is the Committee's intent 
that amounts in the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund should 
not be allocated to underwrite such support staff.

Federal Advisory Committee Act compliance

    The Scientific Advisory Panel is subject to sections 10 
through 14 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

                  Section 6: Advance Recovery Projects

    Section 6 requires that the Secretary allocate amounts and 
conduct advance recovery projects prior to the implementation 
of the national program.

Description of advance recovery projects

    Recovery projects conducted under the national program will 
not begin prior to the implementation date of the national 
program, roughly 18 months to 2 years after the enactment of 
this Act. Section 6 authorizes advance recovery projects to 
allow restoration projects to commence without delay in those 
areas where the need for recovery is well documented or the 
immediate risk of serious resource damage or harm to human life 
and property is imminent.

Selection of advance recovery projects

    For an 18-month to 2-year period beginning on the date of 
enactment, the Secretary is required to allocate amounts from 
the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund for the purpose of 
conducting a limited number of advance recovery projects on 
Federal forest lands. Advance recovery projects are selected by 
regional foresters (or their designees) in consultation with 
the State forester of the State in which the projects will be 
conducted.

Selection criteria

    Priority is given to projects on Federal forest lands where 
the regional forester (or his designee) has identified 
significant risk of loss to human life and property or serious 
resource degradation or destruction due to wildfire, disease 
epidemic, severe insect infestation, wind, flood, or other 
causes; or on Federal forest lands for which thorough forest 
resource assessments have been completed. Examples of such 
lands include Federal forest lands in the Pacific Northwest, 
the Interior Columbia Basin, the Sierra Nevada, the Southern 
Appalachian Region and the Northern Forests of Maine, Vermont, 
New Hampshire and New York.

Time periods for selection, implementation and completion; failure to 
        comply with time periods

    The Committee has established deadlines by which advance 
recovery projects shall be selected and either initiated or 
awarded. It is the intent of the Committee that such deadlines 
will facilitate expeditious restoration of degraded or at-risk 
forest resources while maintaining compliance with applicable 
environmental laws, and land and resource management plans. In 
the event that the agency fails to meet specified timelines, 
the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund will not be available 
for such projects. Any expenditures made from the Fund for 
advance recovery projects which fail to meet the specified 
timelines must be reimbursed to the Fund.

Reporting requirements

    Consistent with the Committee's objective of increasing 
agency accountability, reports containing components identical 
to those of the national program must be submitted to Congress. 
Reports on advance recovery projects may be included in the 
reports submitted on the implementation of the national program 
following the implementation date.

             Section 7: Forest Recovery and Protection Fund

    Section 7 establishes the Forest Recovery and Protection 
Fund as the principle funding mechanism for the activities 
authorized in this Act. The Fund has several significant 
features, which are outlined below.

Description of the fund

    The Forest Recovery and Protection Fund is created by 
reallocating funds otherwise distributed to the Roads and 
Trails Fund. The Roads and Trails Fund comprises 10% of the 
amounts deposited each year in the National Forest Fund, which 
is a holding fund for the receipts of revenue-generating 
activities on National Forest System lands. These activities 
include timber harvest, grazing, special use permits, 
recreation user fees, mining and power generation.
    The Roads and Trails Fund is a permanently appropriated 
fund established, ostensibly, to build and maintain roads and 
trails in the National Forest System. However, from 1982 until 
1996, appropriations language required that amounts deposited 
in the Roads and Trails Fund be returned to the General Fund of 
the Treasury. Beginning in 1996, this appropriations language 
has been omitted, allowing the fund to accumulate and become 
available for expenditure. According to Forest Service 
estimates, approximately $28 million will be available in the 
fund for expenditure in fiscal year 1999 from fiscal year 1998 
receipts.

Similarities to administration proposals

    In this Fiscal Year 1998 Budget, President Clinton proposed 
the establishment of the Forest Ecosystem Restoration and 
Maintenance (FERM) Fund to ``fund a broad range of ecosystem 
enhancements.'' (Budget of the United States, Fiscal Year 1998, 
Appendix, p. 251) This proposal directed that receipts from the 
Roads and Trails Fund be transferred in 1998 and subsequent 
years to the new FERM Fund. The proposal also required that 
revenues generated from activities conducted using FERM Fund 
moneys be revolved back into the FERM Fund. The FERM Fund 
proposal required new authority from Congress. However, 
legislation to that effect was never transmitted to Congress.
    On February 27, 1998, Secretary of Agriculture Glickman 
transmitted a letter to Chairman Smith of the Committee on 
Agriculture to which was attached a ``concept paper'' outlining 
the Secretary's proposed Watershed and Forest Health 
Restoration Initiative. Like President Clinton's FERM Fund 
proposal, Secretary Glickman's initiative would ``make all 
funds derived from the [Roads and Trails Fund] available for 
expenditure on forest health activities.''
    The Forest Recovery and Protection Fund is similar to both 
President Clinton's FERM Fund and Secretary Glickman's 
Watershed and Forest Health Restoration Fund in that it 
reallocates amounts from the Roads and Trails Fund for 
expenditure on a broad range of forest recovery and protection 
activities.

Revolving feature

    Consistent with President Clinton's FERM Fund proposal, any 
revenues generated from activities conducted using the Forest 
Recovery and Protection Fund will revolve back into the Fund. 
The Committee agrees with President Clinton's view that thebest 
use of revenues generated from activities conducted using the Fund is 
to further recover, enhance and protect damaged or degraded forest 
resources.
    The Committee has included three provisions in this Act 
that address concerns raised by some that the revolving nature 
of the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund creates an incentive 
to maximize revenues generated from recovery projects by 
inappropriately harvesting valuable timber. First, the Fund 
eliminates the requirement in the Roads and Trails Fund statute 
that requires all moneys in the Fund to be spent in the States 
from which they were derived. This removes the potential 
incentive for local managers to increase the return of funds to 
their units by maximizing the revenues derived from recovery 
projects.
    Second, the Committee has included a provision in this Act 
stating explicitly that recovery projects shall not be 
precluded simply because the cost of preparing and implementing 
the project is likely to exceed the revenue derived from the 
project. This clarifies the intent of the Committee that 
projects need not be revenue positive to fall within the scope 
of this Act.
    Third, the Act requires the Secretary to identify recovery 
areas based upon scientific standards and criteria and provide 
annually to Congress a justification for the allocation of 
funds to each recovery area. This increases substantially the 
likelihood that allocations from the Fund will be premised on 
scientifically justifiable need rather than other factors, such 
as a motivation to maximize revenues returned to the Fund.

Payments to counties

    The Committee has included language in the Act requiring 
that revenues generated by recovery projects be subject to 25% 
payments to counties. This preserves the 90-year revenue-
sharing relationship between the Forest Service and the 
communities adjacent to National Forest System lands.

Failure to comply with annual deadlines

    The Committee has included language prohibiting the 
Secretary from allocating amounts from the Forest Recovery and 
Protection Fund for any fiscal year in which the Secretary 
fails to meet the January 15 reporting deadline required by 
subsection (c)(2) or subsection (g)(1) of section 4. It is the 
Committee's intent to ensure that allocations from the Forest 
Recovery and Protection Fund and the annual reports to Congress 
describing the results achieved from such allocations are made 
in a timely manner.
    The Committee has also included language prohibiting the 
use of the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund to carry out 
recovery projects for which a final decision is not rendered 
within 120 days of the date on which the Secretary is required 
to make his annual allocations from the Fund. It is the 
Committee's intent to ensure the timeliness of final decisions 
on recovery projects, taking into account a reasonable amount 
of time that will be required to prepare appropriate 
environmental documentation and to solicit public comment as 
required by law. The Committee expects that some of the 
recovery projects selected and carried out pursuant to this Act 
will be projects for which much of the environmental analysis 
has been done, and for which there has been inadequate funding 
available for project implementation.

Restrictions on overhead

    The Committee recognizes the need to maximize the 
availability of monies from the Forest Recovery and Protection 
Fund for on-the-ground activities. The Committee is also aware 
of criticisms regarding the use by the Forest Service of 
permanent appropriations for indirect expenses, direct and 
indirect administrative costs, and other agency overhead 
expenses that cannot be directly attributable to specific 
projects or programs.
    To respond to both of these issues, the Committee has 
included language that prohibits the allocation of overhead 
expenses to the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund or to any 
of the programs or projects authorized in section 4 through 
section 9 of this Act. These programs and projects include, by 
way of illustration, the work of the Scientific Advisory Panel, 
the identification of recovery areas and the allocation of 
funds to regions of the Forest Service within which recovery 
areas are located, the selection, preparation and 
implementation of recovery projects, and the preparation of 
reports to Congress.

Termination of Secretary's authority to use amounts in the fund

    It is the intent of the Committee that the Secretary's 
authority to use amounts in the Forest Recovery and Protection 
Fund to undertake the activities authorized by this Act shall 
terminate upon the expiration of the authorization of 
appropriations as provided in section 8. The Committee has, 
therefore, included language under subsection (c) of this 
section which sunsets the authority of the Secretary to carry 
out the national program, to plan, carry out, and administer 
recovery projects under sections 4 and 6 of this Act, and to 
administer the Scientific Advisory Panel, upon the expiration 
of the authorization of appropriations specified under section 
8(a). Pursuant to subparagraph (g) of this section, upon the 
expiration of the authorization of appropriations, amounts 
deposited in the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund shall 
thereafter be deposited in the Roads and Trails Fund.
    It is the intent of the Committee that the continuation of 
the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund, and the activities for 
which the allocation of amounts in the Fund are authorized by 
this Act, should only continue if the Secretary is able to 
demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Congress that such 
continuation is warranted. Thus, the continued use of the Fund 
is made contingent upon a thorough evaluation by Congress of 
the Secretary's performance pursuant to the authorities granted 
by this Act and, thereafter, an affirmative act of Congress to 
extend such authorities.

               Section 8: Authorization of Appropriations

    Section 8 authorizes, for deposit into the Forest Recovery 
and Protection Fund, such funds as may be necessary to carry 
out the provisions of this Act for the fiscal year in which 
this Act is enacted and for each ensuing fiscal year through 
the fifth full fiscal year after the implementation date.

Authorization of appropriations and activities authorized by this act

    As stated previously, the Secretary's authority to allocate 
moneys from the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund to 
undertake the activities authorized by this Act shall terminate 
upon the expiration of the authorization of appropriations 
specified in subsection (a) of this section.

Effect on existing projects

    To ensure that contracts let by the Secretary pursuant to 
the authorities provided by this Act may be carried out to 
completion, the Committee has included language authorizing 
these contracts to continue, pursuant to their terms, beyond 
the date on which the authorization of appropriations expires.

                     Section 9: Audit Requirements

    It is the intent of the Committee to obtain an independent, 
third-party evaluation of the implementation of this Act prior 
to rendering a decision to extend the authorities provided 
under this Act into the future. The role of the Comptroller 
General is to provide that objective analysis to Congress.
    The Comptroller General is authorized, at the request of 
any chairman of a committee of relevant jurisdiction, to 
undertake two specific activities under this section: (1) to 
verify the accuracy of the annual reports submitted to Congress 
by the Secretary, and (2) to conduct a comprehensive audit of 
the implementation of this Act at the conclusion of the fourth 
full fiscal year after the implementation date. The Committee 
anticipates that the Comptroller General will use the annual 
report verifications as an opportunity to analyze key 
information in preparation of the comprehensive audit. The 
Committee further anticipates that the Comptroller General will 
prepare the comprehensive audit expeditiously so as to provide 
Congress sufficient time to fully consider the audit's contents 
prior to determining whether to extend the authorities provided 
under this Act.

               Section 10: Forest Inventory and Analysis

    Section 10 requires the Secretary to inventory and analyze 
public and private forests and their resources at least every 
five years as compared with the current eight to ten years. The 
Secretary shall also prepare a State forest inventory for each 
State. At least every five years, the Secretary shall prepare a 
report that contains a description of the State forest 
inventories, analyzes the results of the annual nationwide 
reports, and analyzes trends in forest conditions.

Strategic plan required

    This section requires the U.S. Forest Service, in 
cooperation with the State forester or head of the forestry 
agency in each State, to conduct an annual inventory of each 
State's forests. It is the intent of the Committee that this 
process be carried out through the development and 
implementation of a strategic plan, in coordination with 
Federal land management agencies, State foresters, the forest 
industry, and other important interest groups.
    The Committee expects that the Secretary, in cooperation 
with the State foresters and the forestry community, shall use 
the strategic plan to prioritize the States for purposes of 
collecting annual inventory data. The Committee recognizes that 
some States may not require an annual inventory update based on 
the size of the forest resource, unique conditions and 
circumstances, and other factors. The Committee urges the 
Secretary to accommodate such circumstances, when requested by 
the State forester, and to describe in the strategic plan the 
reasons for each such accommodation.
    Confidentiality of Data.--The Committee recognizes that 
confidentiality of information gathered from private land is 
essential to the continued success of the Forest Inventory and 
Analysis program. The Committee acknowledges that the inventory 
information gathered by Forest Service personnel is currently 
aggregated at a regional and State level in order to ensure 
this strict confidentiality. It is the intent of the Committee 
that this confidentiality continue during the administration of 
the improved Inventory and Analysis program established under 
this Act.
    Mission of the Program.--The Forestry Inventory and 
Analysis Program mission has historically been to improve the 
understanding and management of our nation's forests by 
maintaining a comprehensive inventory of key data used by 
forest planners and land owners. These data include forest tree 
species type, current inventory, forest tree and vegetation 
growth, mortality and removals. It is the expectation of the 
Committee that the collection and analysis of such data will 
continue to be the principal focus of the improved Forest 
Inventory and Analysis Program. The Committee further expects 
that any change, expansion or shift in program emphasis will be 
made in close cooperation with State foresters, forest 
landowners and other primary constituents of the program.
    Protection of Private Property Rights.--The Committee has 
included two provisions to ensure that the Forest Inventory and 
Analysis Program continues to be carried out in a manner that 
preserves the rights of private property owners. The first of 
these requires the Forest Service to obtain written 
authorization from property owners prior to collecting data 
from private land. The second emphasizes that nothing in this 
section shall be construed to authorize the Secretary, either 
directly or through another person, to regulate privately held 
forest lands, the use of privately held forest lands, or the 
resources located on privately held forest plans.
    Written Authorization.--The Committee expects the Forest 
Service to efficiently administer the requirement to obtain 
written authorization prior to collecting forest inventory data 
on private lands under this section. Subject to the preference 
of the property owner, written authorization may consist of 
either (i) written correspondence granting authority to enter 
private property prepared and signed by the property owner or 
his designee, (ii) written correspondence requesting permission 
to enter private property prepared by the Forest Service and 
signed by the property owner or his designee, or (iii) written 
correspondence, prepared by the Forest Service and signed by 
the property owner or his designee, confirming that oral 
permission to enter private property was granted by the 
property owner. The Committee acknowledges the existence of a 
variety of State and local entities through which the agency 
can quickly and positively identify property owners and urges 
the agency to work cooperatively with such entities.

                            Purpose and Need

                           Current Situation

    There is a developing consensus among forest scientists and 
forest managers that increases in both the number and severity 
of wildfire, insect infestation, and disease outbreaks on 
Federal forest lands are occurring as a result of high tree 
densities, species composition, and structures that are outside 
the historic range of variability due, primarily, to the 
exclusion or suppression of fire. The estimated 40 million 
acres of Federal forest lands that are at high risk of 
catastrophic wildfire pose a significant threat of destruction 
to human life and property as well as important forest 
resources. All regions of the country are experiencing varying 
degrees of forest destruction or degradation.

                         National Effort Needed

    A comprehensive, nationwide effort is needed to restore and 
protect important forest resources in an organized, timely, and 
scientific manner. Restoration and protection strategies 
require active forest management tailored to region-specific 
needs involving a range of activities, including thinning, 
salvage, prescribed fire (after appropriate thinning), 
sanitation and other insect and disease control, riparian and 
other habitat improvement, soil stabilization and other water 
quality improvement, and seedling planting and protection. 
Immediate Federal action is needed to improve the areas of 
Federal forest lands where serious resource degradation has 
been thoroughly identified and assessed or where serious 
resource destruction or degradation by natural disturbance is 
imminent.

                                Funding

    Adequate funding, structured to maximize the allocation of 
monies for on-the-ground projects, is needed to address a 
growing backlog of restoration needs in an efficient, cost-
effective way. However, due to concerns about agency 
accountability, additional funding to address the backlog of 
recovery projects in the National Forest System must be 
accompanied by performance standards and accountability 
mechanisms that will clearly demonstrate the results achieved 
by any additional investment of taxpayer dollars.

                            Better Inventory

    Frequent inventory and analysis of the status and trends in 
the conditions of forests and their resources are needed to 
identify and reverse the destruction or degradation of 
important forest resources in a timely and effective manner. 
The present average twelve to fifteen-year cycle of forest 
inventory and analysis to comply with existing statutory 
requirements is too prolonged to provide forest managers with 
the data necessary to make timely and effective management 
decisions, particularly decisions responsive to changing forest 
conditions.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

               Section 1: Short Title; Table of Contents

    This Act may be cited as the ``Forest Recovery and 
Protection Act of 1998''.

                          Section 2: Findings

    (1) There are tradeoffs in values associated with 
proactive, passive, or delayed forest management. The values 
gained by proactive management outweigh the values gained by 
delayed or passive management of certain Federal forest lands.
    (2) Increases in both the number and severity of wildfire, 
insect infestation, and disease outbreaks on Federal forest 
lands are occurring as a result of high tree densities, species 
composition, and structure that are outside the historic range 
of variability. These disturbances cause or contribute to 
significant soil erosion, degradation of air and water quality, 
loss of watershed values, habitat loss, and damage to other 
forest resources.
    (3) Serious destruction or degradation of important forest 
resources occurs in all regions of the United States. 
Management activities to restore and protect these resources in 
perpetuity are needed in each region and should be designed to 
address region-specific needs.
    (4) According to the Chief of the United States Forest 
Service, between 35 and 40 million of the 191 million acres of 
Federal forest lands managed by the Forest Service are at an 
unacceptable risk of destruction by catastrophic wildfire. The 
condition of these forests can pose a significant threat of 
destruction to human life and property as well as fish and 
wildlife habitats, public recreation areas, timber, watersheds, 
and other important forest resources.
    (5) Restoration and protection of important forest 
resources require active forest management involving a range of 
management activities, including thinning, salvage, prescribed 
fire (after appropriate thinning), sanitation and other insect 
and disease control, riparian and other habitat improvement, 
soil stabilization and other water quality improvement, and 
seedling planting and protection.
    (6) Many units of the National Forest System have an 
increasing backlog of unfunded projects to restore and protect 
degraded forest resources. Adequate funding, structured so as 
to maximize the allocation of monies for on-the-ground 
projects, is needed to address this backlog in an efficient, 
cost-effective way.
    (7) A comprehensive, nationwide effort is needed to restore 
and protect important forest resources in an organized, timely, 
and scientific manner. There should be immediate action to 
improve the areas of Federal forest lands where serious 
resource degradation has been thoroughly identified and 
assessed or where serous resource destruction or degradation by 
natural disturbance is imminent.
    (8) Congress and the Comptroller General have identified 
the need to increase agency accountability for achieving 
measurable results at all levels of government, both in the 
management of fiscal resources and in carrying out statutory 
mandates. Additional funding to address the backlog of recovery 
projects in the National Forest System must, therefore, be 
accompanied by performance standards and accountability 
mechanisms that will clearly demonstrate the results achieved 
by any additional investment of taxpayer dollars.
    (9) Frequent forest inventory and analysis of the status 
and trends in the conditions of forests and their resources are 
needed to identify and reverse the destruction or degradation 
of important forest resources in a timely and effective manner. 
The present average twelve to fifteen-year cycle of forest 
inventory and analysis to comply with existing statutory 
requirements is too prolonged to provide forest managers with 
the data necessary to make timely and effective management 
decisions, particularly decisions responsive to changing forest 
conditions.

                         Section 3: Definitions

    (1) Federal forest lands.--This term means lands within the 
National Forest System.
    (2) Fund.--This term and ``Forest Recovery and Protection 
Fund'' mean the fund established under section 7.
    (3) Implementation date.--This term means January 15, 2000, 
or the first day of the 19th full month following the date of 
the enactment of this Act, whichever is later. If the 
implementation date under the second option would occur within 
six months of the next January 15, the Secretary may designate 
that January 15 as the implementation date.
    (4) Land management plan.--This term means 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 for Federal forest lands under 
the jurisdiction of the Secretary.
    (5) National program.--This term means the National Program 
of Forest Recovery and Protection required by section 4.
    (6) Overhead expenses.--This term and ``overhead'' mean--
          (a) common services and indirect expenses, as such 
        terms are defined by expense items 1-10 in Appendix E 
        of the United States Forest Service Timber Cost 
        Efficiency Study Final Report, dated April 16, 1993 
        (pages 125-126);
          (b) direct and indirect general administration, as 
        such terms are identified in Appendix D of the United 
        States Forest Service Forest Management Program Annual 
        Report, Fiscal Year 1996 (FS-614), dated December, 1997 
        (pages 110-111); and
          (c) any other cost of line management or program 
        support that cannot directly attributable to specific 
        projects or programs.
    (7) Recovery area.--This term means an area of Federal 
forest lands, identified by the Secretary under section 4(c)--
          (a) that has experienced disturbances from wildfires, 
        insect infestations, disease, wind, flood, or other 
        causes, which have caused or contributed to significant 
        soil erosion, degradation of water quality, loss of 
        watershed values, habitat loss, or damage to other 
        forest resources of the area; or
          (b) in which the forest structure, function, or 
        composition has been altered so as to increase 
        substantially the likelihood of wildfire, insect 
        infestation, or disease in the area and the consequent 
        risks of damage to soils, water quality, watershed 
        values, habitat, and other forest resources from 
        wildfire, insect infestation, disease, wind, flood, or 
        other causes.
    (8) Recovery project.--This term means a project designed 
by the Secretary to improve, restore, or protect forest 
resources within an identified recovery area, including 
thinning, salvage, prescribed fire (after appropriate 
thinning), sanitation and other insect and disease control, 
riparian and other habitat improvement, soil stabilization and 
other water quality improvement, and seedling planting and 
protection.
    (9) Scientific advisory panel.--This term means the 
advisory panel appointed under section 5.
    (10) Secretary.--This term means the Secretary of 
Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service.

     Section 4: National Program for Forest Recovery and Protection

    Section 4 requires the Secretary of Agriculture to--
          (1) establish, with the advice of an independent 
        panel of scientists, national standards and criteria 
        for identifying and prioritizing forest recovery areas 
        within the national forest system;
          (2) consistent with the standards and criteria, 
        identify and prioritize, on or before January 15th of 
        each calendar year, recovery areas within which forest 
        recovery projects would be appropriate and allocate 
        moneys from the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund to 
        the appropriate regions of the U.S. Forest Service for 
        the purposes of conducting recovery projects in those 
        areas;
          (3) select (through the appropriate regional forester 
        or his designees) recovery projects within the recovery 
        areas identified by the Secretary within 120 days of 
        the date on which the Secretary identifies recovery 
        areas; and
          (4) ensure that recovery projects (i) are consistent 
        with all environmental laws and the applicable land 
        management plans. (ii) both improve forest resources 
        and provide economic benefits to local communities, but 
        only to the extent consistent with the Secretary's 
        standards and guidelines, and (iii) are not conducted 
        in designated wilderness areas, roadless areas 
        designated by Congress for possible inclusion in the 
        wilderness preservation system, or any riparian, late 
        successional reserve, or old growth area in which a 
        recovery project would be prohibited by law, court 
        order, or applicable land management plan.
    The Secretary is further required to submit an annual 
report to Congress by January 15 of each year on the 
implementation of the national program that shall include, (1) 
justifications for the recovery areas identified; (2) the 
objectives and estimated costs and duration of recovery 
projects; (3) a comparison of the projected and actual 
achievements, costs and duration of completed recovery 
projects; (4) an accounting of the management of the Forest 
Recovery and Protection Fund; and (5) a description of any 
additional resources or authorities needed to implement the 
national program.
    Local communities and private citizens are provided a one-
time opportunity to petition the Secretary directly to 
designate local national forest lands, which meet the 
established standards and criteria established by the 
Secretary, as recovery areas. The Secretary is required to 
provide for public notice and comment on all submitted 
petitions.

                  Section 5: Scientific Advisory Panel

    Section 5 establishes an 11 member scientific advisory 
panel, selected by Congress, the Secretary and the National 
Academy of Sciences, to advise the Secretary on the standards 
and criteria for identifying and prioritizing forest recovery 
areas and recommend a monitoring plan for the national program.
    The science panel is required to consist of a balanced 
representation of scientific and professional disciplines 
including hydrology, wildlife biology, fisheries biology, 
entomology (or pathology), fire ecology, silviculture, 
economics, soil science and managerial expertise. The panel is 
also required, in developing its recommendations to the 
Secretary, to consult with regional experts from a broad range 
of scientific disciplines, survey the most current scientific 
literature, and assess the effectiveness of advance recovery 
projects.

                  Section 6: Advance Recovery Projects

    Section 6 requires the Secretary (through Regional 
Foresters in cooperation with State foresters) to immediately 
undertake a limited number of advance forest recovery projects 
prior to the implementation date of the national program. 
Priority is given to projects in areas--
          (1) that pose a significant risk of loss to human 
        life and property or serious resource degradation or 
        destruction due to wildfire, disease epidemic, severe 
        insect infestation, wind, flood, or other causes, or
          (2) for which thorough scientific assessments and 
        inventories have been completed. Annual reports to 
        Congress, consistent in timing and content with those 
        required under section 4, are also required.

             Section 7: Forest Recovery and Protection Fund

    Section 7 establishes a fund called the Forest Recovery and 
Protection Fund from which the Secretary shall allocate moneys 
to pay for the implementation of the national program, advance 
recovery projects, and the scientific advisory panel. The fund 
is replenished annually by amounts otherwise allocated to the 
Roads and Trails Fund established by the Act of March 4, 1913 
(16 U.S.C. 501). Such funds constitute 10% of the moneys 
deposited in the National Forest Fund from revenue generating 
activities within the national forest system.
    Amounts in the fund are available to implement the national 
program only upon the Secretary meeting the deadlines for (1) 
identifying recovery areas and submitting reports to Congress 
and (2) rendering a final decision on recovery projects. 
Overhead expenses, as defined in section 3, may not be 
allocated to the fund or any of the activities authorized by 
section 4 through section 9 of this Act.

               Section 8: Authorization of Appropriations

    Section 8 authorizes the appropriations of such sums as may 
be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act in the 
fiscal year in which the Act is enacted and each subsequent 
fiscal year through the fifth full fiscal year following the 
implementation date. Contracts regarding recovery projects 
entered into before the date on which the authorization of 
appropriations expires are authorized to remain in effect 
beyond that date pursuant to their terms.

                     Section 9: Audit Requirements

    Section 9 requires the Comptroller General, at the request 
of the chairperson(s) of the appropriate committees of 
jurisdiction, to verify the accuracy of annual reports 
submitted by the Secretary to Congress, and, at the conclusion 
of the fourth full fiscal year of the national program, to 
conduct a comprehensive audit of the Secretary's implementation 
of the national program and administration of the Forest 
Recovery and Protection Fund.

               Section 10: Forest Inventory and Analysis

    Section 10 requires the Secretary, in conjunction with 
state foresters, to establish, in cooperation with state 
foresters, a program to inventory and analyze forest lands in 
the United States in a timely and efficient manner. In doing 
so, the Secretary shall publish annual inventory updates for 
each state and a comprehensive national inventory report at the 
end of each five year period. The Secretary must establish 
national standards and definitions to be applied to the 
collection and analysis of data obtained from the inventory of 
forest lands. The Secretary is also required to submit to 
Congress a strategic plan for carrying out the improved forest 
inventory and analysis program outlining all relevant 
schedules, resource needs and technologies to be employed to 
carry out the provisions of this section.

                        Committee Consideration

                              I--Hearings

    H.R. 2515 is a product of seven Full Committee hearings on 
forest resource conditions in the United States, in which the 
Committee heard testimony from the administration, scientists, 
academics, lawmakers, State foresters, land managers, 
professional societies, labor, local elected officials, 
environmentalists and the forest products industry.

Hearing 1 (Management of the National Forest System in the Pacific 
        Northwest)--Jan. 16, 1997, in Sunriver, OR

    The hearing at Sunriver began a year-long inquiry into the 
condition of Federal forest resources throughout the country. 
At Sunriver, the Committee learned that, over the past 100 
years, we have significantly increased our knowledge about 
forest ecology, management and the dynamic, ever-changing 
conditions of America's forests. This is especially true in 
areas where intensive regional assessments have been conducted.
    Fire suppression, drought, and inactive management have 
left certain Federal forests in conditions significantly 
outside the range of historic variability. This has reduced the 
resilience of these forests and placed them at much greater 
risk of destruction or degradation due to larger and more 
severe wildfires, insect attack, wind, flood or other causes. 
There are trade-offs in values associated with proactive, 
passive or delayed forest management, but the values which will 
be lost without proactive management are greater than any 
values gained by delayed or passive management of some forest 
lands.
    A landscape-level strategy, based on sound science, must 
include both harvest activities, such as the removal of dead 
and dying timber and thinning to reduce forest density, and 
non-harvest activities to restore riparian areas, enhance fish 
and wildlifehabitat and protect water quality. In most areas, 
time is of the essence to capture economic value and reduce risk from 
catastrophic loss. Unfortunately, however, a dedicated funding source 
is presently unavailable for many important restoration activities.
    Chairman Smith, Governor Kitzhaber of Oregon, and Forest 
Service Chief Dombeck agreed that: (1) the highest priority is 
to protect and restore the health of the land; (2) active 
hands-on forest management is essential to restoring the health 
of the land; (3) a plan is needed for how management should 
proceed; and (4) any hope of a successful outcome on the ground 
hinges on good faith cooperation among local communities, the 
States, Congress, and the administration.

Hearing 2 (Forest Ecosystem Health in the United States)--April 9, 1997 
        in Washington, DC

    This was a joint hearing with the Committee on Resources to 
hear the findings of a report entitled ``Report on Forest 
Health of the United States by the Forest Health Science 
Panel'' prepared by Dr. Chad Oliver of the University of 
Washington and a team of scientists including David L. Adams 
(Professor, University of Idaho), Thomas M. Bonnicksen 
(Professor, Texas A&M; University), Jim L. Bowyer (Director, 
Forest Products Management Development Institute, University of 
Minnesota), Frederick W. Cubbage (Professor, North Carolina 
State Unversity), Neil Sampson (Senior Fellow, American 
Forests), Scott E. Schlarbaum (Professor, University of 
Tennessee), Ross Whaley (President, SUNY--Environmental Science 
and Forestry), and Harry V. Wiant (President, Society of 
American Foresters). The report characterized the present 
condition of our forests and emphasized that much of our 
forests in all regions consist of trees of small diameter which 
are overly crowded, which make them increasingly susceptible to 
insects, diseases, and catastrophic fires. These overly crowded 
forests do not provide high quality timber or habitat 
diversity, exacerbating many endangered species problems.
    The Forest Health Science Panel also found that forest 
health was a value-laden term for which there was no one 
correct, scientific definition. According to the Forest Health 
Science Panel, ``forest health'' is a function of the forest 
values desired by the public and the tradeoffs inherent in the 
production of these values. Science can better inform the 
decision making process by providing information on the 
tradeoffs in various management approaches.
    The Forest Health Science Panel further found that there 
are clearly irreversible consequences to delaying management 
decisions. These include: (1) loss of species through loss of 
habitat; (2) loss of watershed integrity, increase of 
atmospheric carbon dioxide, and danger to people and property 
because of the impending catastrophic wildfires; (3) loss of 
infrastructure of roads, labor, equipment, and timber 
processing facilities for any form of active management of 
forests; (4) an increase in exotic insect and disease damage 
both from resident exotics and from new ones arriving on 
imported wood; (5) an increased harvest of wood from elsewhere 
in the world, and in eastern regions of the United States, with 
reduced harvest of national forests; and (6) an increased use 
of more polluting wood substitutes, which produce more carbon 
dioxide and consume more fossil fuel in their production than 
does wood. Furthermore, forest management decisions at the 
local and regional levels can have far-reaching national and 
international impacts. In short, the consequences of inaction 
far outweigh the costs of restoration.

Hearing 3 (Forest Ecosystem Health in the United States)--June 5, 1997

    This hearing provided an opportunity to improve the 
scientific understanding of the conditions and options for 
management for the United States' forests by listening and 
learning from a group of accomplished scientists who reviewed 
the report of the Forest Health Science Panel. Although some 
scientists had suggestions for improving the report, none 
disagreed with the basic contents and all endorsed the report 
as a framework for discussing what Americans want from their 
forests and the tradeoffs involved in different management 
strategies. The Committee learned that it would be appropriate 
to begin applying integrated management approaches in high risk 
areas in each region of the country, giving priority to those 
areas for which comprehensive assessments have been completed. 
In many areas, swift action is needed to avoid irretrievable 
losses.

Hearing 4 (Forest Ecosystem Health in the United States (Pacific Coast 
        and Southern Regions))--June 12, 1997

    This was another hearing to review the findings of the 
Forest Science Panel, focusing on forest conditions in the 
Pacific Coast and Southern Regions. There has been significant 
documentation of the need for forest recovery activities, 
including the implementation of aggressive, active management 
regimes, in both of these regions. Again, the Committee was 
informed that it took a long time to achieve the present 
conditions that are outside the range of historic variability 
and will take a long time tocorrect them. Any strategy to 
restore and improve degraded forests should increase management 
flexibility, manage risk, increase funding, improve accountability, 
provide for monitoring, and employ a collaborative, landscape approach.

Hearing 5 (Forest Ecosystem Health in the United States (Inland West 
        and Northeast))--June 19, 1997

    This hearing was designed to focus on forest health 
problems in the Inland West and Northeast. The committee 
received testimony that highlighted the degraded conditions of 
fire dependent forest ecosystems in the Inland West as a result 
of fire exclusion, and the inability of many forests in the 
Northeast to meet public expectations due to expanding 
urbanization, public policies that discourage long-term 
investment and management, and other factors. Again, the idea 
was forwarded that the national forests should serve as an 
example to the public and private landowners of an integrated 
management approach. Chief Dombeck echoed this sentiment when 
he stated that ``* * * restoring forest ecosystem health is not 
simply a forestry issue. A healthy forest is one that maintains 
the function, diversity, and resiliency of all its components, 
such as wildlife and fish habitat, riparian areas, soils, 
rangelands, and economic potential and will require active 
management.'' ``We must use all available tools and continue 
our search for new ones.'' The Committee was told that 
proactive forest management costs money but avoids even 
costlier loss of resources. A need was identified for more 
complete and timely data through the Forest Service's Forest 
Inventory and Analysis so that States can make more informed 
decisions about their resources.

Hearing 6 (Wildfire Management in the United States)--July 15, 1997

    This hearing focused on the increasing risk of large, 
unnatural fires in many of the nation's forests as well as 
specific management recommendations to reduce risks and protect 
precious resources, ensure public and community safety, and 
minimize costs. The Committee was informed that fire is part of 
the natural cycle of the forest, however, years of fire 
exclusion, particularly in the Inland West, have created 
overstocked forests (about 40 million acres, nationally) at 
high risk of loss to catastrophic wildfire due to high fuel 
loads. Given the fuel conditions present in many parts of the 
country, not all unwanted wildfires can be safely or 
efficiently suppressed. Although 98 percent of all wildfires 
are suppressed during initial attack, those large fires that do 
escape are becoming more dangerous and costly.
    The U.S. Forest Service emphasized the need for a 
multifaceted approach of fuels management using the whole array 
of tools for fuels management and fire suppression to reduce 
the threats of catastrophic fire over time. Although prescribed 
fire is one of the tools available, the Forest Service 
estimates that up to 90 percent of the acreage in need of 
restoration may require mechanical fuel treatments prior to 
burning to reduce the risk of catastrophic loss.

Hearing 7 (The Forest Recovery and Protection Act of 1997)--October 7, 
        1997

    Chairman Smith explained that the purpose of this hearing 
and subsequent Committee action was to fine-tune and improve 
H.R. 2515--The Forest Recovery and Protection Act of 1997. 
Chairman Smith explained that H.R. 2515 is a plan for 
addressing deteriorating forest conditions throughout the 
country in a timely, organized, scientific, and environmentally 
responsible way. Most of the panelists were supportive of the 
bill and some offered suggestions for improvement. Issues of 
concern expressed by the panelists included the structure of 
the science panel, burdensome procedural requirements, the 
reallocation of $50 million from the amounts appropriated for 
fire operations, opportunities for public participation, the 
apparent centralized nature of the decision making process, and 
the use of an off-budget account that could potentially create 
incentives to maximize revenue at the local level. Secretary 
Glickman agreed with the concepts of the bill and pledged his 
willingness to sit down with the Chairman and work through 
areas of disagreement.

                           ii--subcommittees

    Full Committee Chairman Smith called the Subcommittee on 
Forestry, Resources Conservation, and Research meeting to order 
on November 5, 1997, for the purpose of marking up H.R. 2515, 
the Forest Recovery and Protection Act of 1997, a bill 
introduced by Messrs. Smith of Oregon, Stenholm, Combest, 
Bishop, Callahan, Peterson of Pennsylvania and Mrs. Emerson.
    Chairman Smith made opening comments and submitted his 
statement for the record. Ranking Minority Member Dooley was 
recognized for an opening statement of which he indicated that 
some Members of the Minority had significant concerns with H.R. 
2515 that would need to be addressed prior to the bill's 
consideration before the Full Committee.
    Chairman Smith recognized counsel for a brief explanation 
of the bill and gave Members an opportunity to make comments 
and ask questions to counsel.
    Ms. Stabenow questioned the designation process of forest 
recovery areas. Discussion occurred and Chairman Smith 
confirmed that the Secretary of Agriculture has full discretion 
to designate recovery areas for such time periods as he deem 
appropriate.
    Ms. Stabenow was then recognized to offer an amendment 
regarding revenues generated by certain recovery projects for 
the Forest Recovery and Protection Fund. Discussion occurred 
and Ms. Stabenow expressed her desire to work with the Chairman 
to find creative ways to fund the program without excessive 
cost. The Chairman pledged to work with Ms. Stabenow and, 
without objection, the amendment was withdrawn.
    Mr. Dooley was then recognized who raised his concern with 
the composition of the scientific panel and suggested that the 
National Academy of Sciences propose a scientific panel, 
composed of required expertise, remaining as nonpolitical as 
possible. The Chairman indicated that he also had a personal 
interest in balancing the panel and would work with Mr. Dooley 
in Full Committee on the issue.
    Mr. Dooley then moved that H.R. 2515 be reported to the 
Full Committee with recommendations that it do pass. By voice 
vote, and in the presence of a quorum, H.R. 2515 was ordered 
reported, without amendment, to the Full Committee.
    Without objection, staff was given permission to make any 
necessary clerical, technical, or conforming changes as 
appropriate without changing the substance of the legislation 
and Chairman Smith adjourned the meeting subject to the call of 
the Chair.

                          III--Full Committee

    The Committee on Agriculture met, pursuant to notice, with 
a quorum present, on March 4, 1998, to consider H.R. 2515, the 
Forest Recovery and Protection Act of 1997, and other pending 
business.
    Chairman Smith placed before the Committee an Amendment in 
the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 2515 and without objection 
the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute was considered as 
original text for purposes of amendment and would be open for 
amendment for any point.
    Chairman Smith presented an opening statement, and 
recognized Ranking Minority Member Stenholm, Mr. Brown, and Ms. 
Stabenow who also gave brief opening comments.
    Ms. Stabenow thanked the Chairman and the staff for working 
with her to address the issue of incentives and the off-budget 
source of funding, but Ms. Stabenow indicated that she 
continued to have concerns over these issues.
    Professional Staff was then recognized to present an 
overview and explanation of the bill as introduced and the 
Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute.
    Mr. Farr was recognized to offer and explain an amendment 
that would modify the definition of ``recovery project'' and 
would expand the locations where recovery projects would be 
prohibited. Discussion occurred with the Chairman opposing to 
the amendment, and by a voice vote the amendment was not 
adopted.
    Chairman Smith called for a vote on the Amendment in the 
Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 2515, and by a voice vote and in 
the presence of a quorum, H.R. 2515, as amended, was adopted.
    Mr. Combest was then recognized and moved that H.R. 2515, 
as amended, be ordered reported favorable to the House with a 
recommendation that it do pass. Mr. Combest's motion was agreed 
to by a voice vote of the Committee.
    Without objection, a unanimous consent request by Mr. 
Combest to authorize the Chairman to offer such motions as may 
be necessary in the House to go to conference with the Senate 
on the bill H.R. 2515 or a similar Senate bill was agreed to.
    Chairman Smith asked if any Member wished to file 
supplemental, minority, or additional views to H.R. 2515, and 
Mr. Brown indicated that he would. Chairman Smith stated that 
other Members would be protected if they wished to file 
comments within three days.
    Without objection, staff was given permission to make any 
necessary clerical, technical, or conforming changes in the 
bill as ordered reported.
    Chairman Smith then requested by unanimous consent that the 
title of the bill as indicated in Substitute be amended and the 
meeting was adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.

                   Reporting the Bill--Rollcall Votes

    In compliance with clause 2(l)(2) of rule XI of the House 
of Representatives, H.R. 2515, as amended, was reported by 
voice vote with a majority quorum present. There was no request 
for a recorded vote.

           Budget Act Compliance (Sections 308, 403, and 424)

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

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, March 11, 1998.
Hon. Robert F. Smith,
Chairman, Committee on Agriculture,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2515, the Forest 
Recovery and Protection Act of 1998.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Victoria V. 
Heid (for federal costs) and Marjorie Miller (for the state and 
local impact).
            Sincerely,
                                         June E. O'Neill, Director.
    Enclosure.

               congressional budget office cost estimate

H.R. 2515--Forest Recovery and Protection Act of 1998

    Summary: H.R. 2515 would direct the Secretary of 
Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service, to 
implement a nationwide program to restore and protect forest 
resources on federal land within the National Forest System 
through recovery projects within identified recovery areas. CBO 
estimates that enacting H.R. 2515 would decrease direct 
spending by about $7 million over the 1999-2003 period. Because 
H.R. 2515 would affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go 
procedures would apply. In addition, we estimate that enacting 
the bill would result in additional discretionary outlays of 
about $14 million in fiscal year 1999 and about $86 million 
over the 1999-2003 period, assuming appropriation of the 
estimated amounts.
    H.R. 2515 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: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 2515 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and the environment). For purposes of this 
estimate, CBO assumes the bill would be enacted by the start of 
fiscal year 1999.

                                    [By fiscal year, in millions of dollars]                                    
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        1998      1999      2000      2001      2002      2003  
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION                                       
                                                                                                                
Baseline Spending Under Current Law for Forest and                                                              
 Rangeland Research:                                                                                            
    Estimated authorization level \1\...............       188       196       203       211       218       226
    Estimated outlays...............................       187       202       206       211       218       224
Proposed Changes:                                                                                               
    Estimated Authorization level...................         0        18        18        18        18        18
    Estimated outlays...............................         0        14        18        18        18        18
Spending Under H.R. 2515 for Forest and Rangeland                                                               
 Research:                                                                                                      
    Estimated authorization level...................       188       214       221       229       236       244
    Estimated Outlays...............................       187       216       224       229       234       242
                                                                                                                
                           CHANGES IN DIRECT SPENDING (including Offsetting Receipts)                           
                                                                                                                
Estimated budget authority..........................         0         0        -4        -1        -1        -1
Estimated outlays...................................         0         0        -3        -2        -1        -1
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The 1998 level is the amount appropriated for that year. The amounts for subsequent years are CBO baseline  
  projections, assuming increases to match anticipated inflation.                                               

    Basis of estimate: H.R. 2515 would direct the Secretary of 
Agriculture to implement a nationwide program to restore and 
protect forest resources on federal land within the National 
Forest System through recovery projects. The implementation 
date for the nationwide program would be January 15, 2000 (or 
the first day of the nineteenth full month following enactment, 
whichever is later). The bill also would direct the Secretary 
to begin advance recovery projects during the 18-month period 
beginning on the date of enactment. The bill would require the 
Secretary to report to the Congress annually on the recovery 
project program.
    H.R. 2515 would establish a Forest Recovery and Protection 
Fund to be available to the Secretary, without further 
appropriation, to carry out the recovery program until 
September 30, 2005 (or September 30 of the fifth full fiscal 
year following the implementation date, whichever is later). 
The bill would credit to that fund: amounts appropriated to the 
fund; unobligated amounts in the Roads and Trails Fund; all 
amounts that would otherwise be deposited to the Roads and 
Trails Fund after enactment; and the federal share of receipts 
generated by recovery projects (states would receive 25 percent 
of suchreceipts). The bill would authorize the appropriation of 
such sums as may be necessary to carry out its provisions.
            Spending subject to appropriation
    The Forest Service has identified about 150,000 sample 
plots for on-the-ground surveys and a much larger area for 
aerial surveys in public and private forests. It monitors those 
areas in order to assess forest conditions. Section 10 of the 
bill would require the Secretary to inventory and analyze 20 
percent of that area each year, to report the results annually 
to states, and to report every five years on forest health 
conditions nationwide. Under current law, the Forest Service 
conducts this type of inventory and analysis on approximately a 
ten-year cycle, inventorying about 10 percent of the inventory 
area annually. H.R. 2515 would therefore require the Forest 
Service to inventory and analyze twice the area required under 
current law. Furthermore, the bill's requirement to inventory 
areas in each state every year, rather than rotating the 
inventory among states, would increase administrative and 
travel costs. CBO estimates that enacting these provisions 
would increase discretionary outlays by about $14 million in 
fiscal year 1999 and by about $18 million each year thereafter, 
assuming appropriation of the estimated amounts.
            Direct spending (including offseting receipts)
    Under current law, we estimate that about $30 million per 
year of timber receipts will be credited to the Roads and 
Trails Fund and spent, under permanent authority, to build and 
maintain roads and trails in the national forest. Under H.R. 
2515, those amounts would be credited to the Forest Recovery 
and Protection Fund each year during the 1999-2005 period and 
would be available for spending.
    The bill also would credit to the new fund the federal 
share of any receipts generated by recovery projects, after 
payment of the 25 percent state share. CBO estimates that 
enacting H.R. 2515 would generate offsetting receipts from 
recovery projects totaling about $5 million in fiscal year 2000 
and about $43 million during the 1999-2005 period. We estimate 
associated payments to states would be about $1 million per 
year in fiscal year 2000 and 2001 and about $2 million per year 
from 2003 to 2005. The additional receipts, net of payments to 
states, would be credited to the Forest Recovery and Protection 
Fund and spent in the following year. Because of the lag 
between the receipt and the spending of these funds, net 
outlays would decline slightly, relative to current law. CBO 
estimates that net outlays would fall by $7 million over the 
2000-2003 period.
    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. The net changes in outlays that are subject to 
pay-as-you-go procedures are shown in the following table. They 
would result from changes in spending and offsetting receipts 
stemming from the establishment of the Forest Recovery and 
Protection Fund. Enacting H.R. 2515 would not affect 
governmental receipts. For the purposes of enforcing pay-as-
you-go procedures, only the effects in the current year, the 
budget year, and the succeeding four years are counted.

                                                        [By fiscal year, in millions of dollars]                                                        
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   1998    1999    2000    2001    2002    2003    2004    2005    2006    2007    2008 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Changes in outlays..............................................       0       0      -3      -2      -1      -1      -1       0       1       0       0
Changes in receipts \1\.........................................                                                                                        
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Not applicable.                                                                                                                                     

    Estimated impact on State, local, and tribal governments: 
H.R. 2515 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in 
UMRA and would impose no costs on State, local, or tribal 
governments. States generally receive 25 percent of timber 
receipts from national forests. Because CBO expects that this 
bill would result in increased timber receipts, we expect that 
these payments to States would also increase--by about $1 
million in fiscal year 2000 and by about $10 million over the 
2000-2005 period.
    Estimated impact on the private sector: This bill would 
impose no new private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.
    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.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

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

                          Oversight Statement

    No summary of oversight findings and recommendations made 
by the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight as provided 
for in clause 2(l)(3)(D) of rule XI, and under clause 4(c)(2) 
of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives was 
available to the Committee with reference to the subject matter 
specifically addressed by H.R. 2515, as amended.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

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

                        Committee Cost Estimate

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

                      Advisory Committee Statement

    Section 5 of this legislation creates a ``Scientific 
Advisory Panel'' which is subject to sections 10-14 of the 
Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) (5 U.S.C. App.). Pursuant 
to section 5 of FACA, the Committee on Agriculture has 
determined that the functions of the proposed Scientific 
Advisory Panel are not and can not be performed by one or more 
agencies, by an existing advisory committee, or by enlarging 
the mandate of an existing advisory committee. Furthermore, the 
Committee on Agriculture has determined that this legislation 
meets all the requirements of section 5(b)(1)-(5) of FACA.

                Applicability to the Legislative Branch

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

                       Federal Mandates Statement

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

                        Committee Correspondence

                                    Committee on Resources,
                                     Washington, DC, March 6, 1998.
Hon. Bob Smith,
Chairman, Committee on Agriculture,
Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: I understand that the Committee on 
Agriculture has ordered favorably reported H.R. 2515, the 
Forest Recovery and Protection Act of 1997. This bill was 
referred primarily to the Committee on Agriculture and 
additionally to the Committee on Resources because it affects 
forest management on forests created from the public domain.
    I have reviewed the text of the bill as reported. Because 
of the close working relationship between our two committees 
and after conferring with Chairman Chenoweth of the 
Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, I would be pleased 
to have the Committee on Resources discharged from further 
consideration of this measure. This will allow its timely 
consideration by the entire House of Representatives during 
this short session of the 105th Congress.
    Of course, this letter should in no way be considered as 
waiving the Committee on Resources' jurisdiction over H.R. 2515 
or prejudicing the Committee's claims against similar 
provisions in other bills. In addition, I ask that if this bill 
or a companion Senate measure should go to conference that the 
Committee on Resources be represented on that conference. 
Finally, I note that Chairman Chenoweth also has a 
complementary forest health bill before your committee, H.R. 
2458, and I hope that she would enjoy a similar courtesy when 
her bill has moved through the Committee on Resources.
    Congratulations on this important legislative initiative to 
benefit our Nation's forests. I look forward to voting for it 
on the Floor soon.
            Sincerely,
                                               Don Young, Chairman.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3 of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by the 
bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is printed 
in italic and existing law in which no change is proposed is 
shown in roman):

                          ACT OF MARCH 4, 1913

    CHAP. 145.--An Act making appropriations for the Department of 
Agriculture for the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred 
                             and fourteen.

          * * * * * * *

                            FOREST SERVICE.

          * * * * * * *
  That hereafter, an additional ten per centum of all moneys 
received from the national forests during each fiscal year 
shall be available at the end thereof, to be expended by the 
Secretary of Agriculture for the construction and maintenance 
of roads and trails within the national forests in the States 
from which such proceeds are derived; but the Secretary of 
Agriculture may, whenever practicable, in the construction and 
maintenance of such roads, secure the cooperation or aid of the 
proper State of Territorial authorities in the furtherance of 
any system of highways of which such roads may be made a part; 
In sales of logs, ties, poles, posts, cordwood, pulpwood, and 
other forest products the amounts made available for schools 
and roads by this Act shall be based upon the stumpage value of 
the timber. During the term of the Forest Recovery and 
Protection Fund, as established by section 7 of the Forest 
Recovery and Protection Act of 1998, amounts reserved under the 
authority of this paragraph shall be deposited into that Fund.
          * * * * * * *

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    I am strongly opposed to H.R. 2515, the ``Forest Recovery 
and Protection Act of 1997,'' which I believe is an unnecessary 
piece of legislation, based on an extremely dubious scientific 
hypothesis that logging will alleviate the forest health 
``crisis'' on our national forests. The diagnosis is faulty, as 
is the prescribed cure. I have four major objections to this 
bill.
    First, the bill approaches forest health issues from a 
decidedly silvicentric perspective. It assumes that the best 
way to make forests healthy is to cut them down. There is 
little scientific support for the proposition that more logging 
will make forests healthier. One of the lessons of the Salvage 
Rider is that logging is not a solution to forest health 
problems. H.R. 2515 is premised on a pseudo-scientific forest 
health report prepared by foresters and silviculturalists 
without involvement from biologists, hydrologists, ecologists, 
and other scientists who could have comprised a full-spectrum 
team of experts to examine forest ecosystem health issues in a 
holistic manner.
    This same fundamental flaw extends to the composition of 
the Scientific Advisory Panel, which will be the primary agent 
for making recommendations on the designation of recovery areas 
and the management of those areas. While I have always argued 
for increased scientific input into the management of our 
public lands, this bill will politicize the scientific input by 
mandating that the Chairmen of the House and Senate Agriculture 
and Resources Committees and the Secretary of Agriculture will 
choose all eleven members of the panel. Additionally, the bill 
specifically allows that at least one, but as many as five of 
the members will be State Foresters, or persons with similar 
``management'' experience. If this is truly to be a scientific 
advisory panel, rather than a management panel, it should be 
made up entirely of natural resource scientists.
    Second, H.R. 2515 gives the Secretary of Agriculture 
discretion to designate ``recovery areas'' and authorize 
``recovery projects'' in our national forests without any 
limitation on the number or size of the recovery areas. The 
bill claims that management activities, mostly logging, 
thinning, and salvage, are needed to restore forest health 
because ``between thirty-five and forty million acres of 
Federal forest lands . . . are at an unacceptable risk of 
destruction by catastrophic wildfire.'' Thirty-five to forty 
million acres represent a majority of the entire timber base on 
our national forests. The bill so broadly defines the criteria 
for designating ``recovery areas'' that there is hardly a 
forested area in our national forest system that could not 
quality for inclusion. Even roadless areas, which exist more or 
less in a ``natural'' state and do not need active management, 
could be included in ``recovery areas'' and slated for logging. 
Only those roadless areas protected under Wilderness 
designation or under applicable land management plans would be 
off limits. Unfortunately, an amendment offered by 
Representative Sam Farr that would have protected all roadless 
areas over 1000 acres was defeated in Committee mark-up.
    There are also no clearly defined limits on the ways in 
which these areas could be managed. The findings state that our 
forest problems are a result of tree density, composition, and 
structure, but make absolutely no mention of fire suppression 
or logging, and the role that those activities have 
historically played, and continue to play, in contributing to 
forest health problems. In fact, scientists with the Sierra 
Nevada Ecosystem Project (SNEP) concluded that logging has 
increased fire severity more than ``any other human activity,'' 
due to increased fuel accumulation and changes in local 
microclimate.
    Third, the funding mechanism in H.R. 2515 ensures that 
logging will be the focus of forest heath recovery. The bill 
contains several mechanisms that seek to steer ``recovery 
projects'' in the direction of cutting more and bigger trees. 
For the funding of recovery projects, the bill establishes a 
revolving fund that will rely almost entirely on revenues 
generated by recovery projects. The only activities that can 
generate revenue are commercial timber sales of healthy, green 
trees. The Forest Service will once again be trapped in a 
vicious cycle in which the only way to fund forest health 
improvement projects is to cut down healthy forests in the 
process.
    The vast majority of activities most likely to be effective 
at thinning overdense forests--prescribed burning, and pre-
commercial thinning--cost money for the government and do not 
make a profit. Even though selective cutting in some areas is 
desirable, it is not always economical. The Congressional 
Research Service estimated that ``thinning'' just 10 percent of 
western national forests would cost $3.5 billion. Any true 
remedy for dangerous fire potential would have to include: 
logging or burning out openings in many of the hundreds of 
thousands of acres of ``tree farms'' which, if left in place, 
could ignite and spread fire very fast; removing or control 
burning the lower elevation chaparral which acts like kindling; 
hand piling of natural and post-logging slash; and removal of 
non-commercial sized crowded thickets such as small white fir. 
All of these measures are expensive.
    The changes that were made to the structure of the 
revolving fund during mark-up of this bill do not in any way 
address this problem. The revolving fund will still rely on 
revenues from commercial logging in order to administer 
recovery projects. If there is truly a ``crisis'' on our 
national forests, as the supporters of this bill contend, the 
Congress should appropriate funds specifically to address the 
problems. The types of reverse incentives that are present in 
this bill have failed in the past and have seriously biased the 
management of our national forests. Rather than repeating past 
mistakes, we should be moving in a new direction of forest 
management, and we should fund programs that will legitimately 
alleviate forest health problems.
    Fourth, this legislation gives government agencies broad 
discretion to short-cut environmental laws and limit meaningful 
citizen participation in forest management decision-making. For 
example, it states that decisions by the Secretary to identify 
``recovery areas'' and to allocate funds toward ``recovery 
projects'' do not constitute ``agency actions,'' and therefore 
these decisions are exempted from the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA), administrative appeal, and judicial review. 
The bill requires the agencies to make final decisions 
regarding the identification of forest health areas and 
authorization of forest health projects within 120 days. This 
deliberate truncating of the time-frames established for public 
participation under the NEPA appears intended to create a de 
facto exclusion of both meaningful public participation and 
critical scientific analysis about the potential effects of the 
proposed projects.
    Any decisions to increase the use of logging in our 
National Forests as a method of improving the health of our 
forest ecosystems should be based on a scientific consensus 
that it has been effective in controlling fire and that it is 
of benefit to the forest ecosystem. With no real scientific 
justification, H.R. 2515 offers up increased logging as a 
solution to a questionable problem. The bill gives wide 
discretion to the Forest Service to designate recovery areas, 
limits public participation and administrative appeals, and 
creates perverse economic incentives to cut large, profitable 
trees. Therefore, I strongly oppose this legislation.

                                               George E. Brown, Jr.