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105th Congress                                             Rep. 105-816
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 2d Session                                                      Part 1
_______________________________________________________________________


 
 CONDITIONS ON SUSPENSION OF ROAD CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES IN ROADLESS 
                    AREAS OF NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM

                                _______
                                

                October 12, 1998.--Ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


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

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 3297]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 3297) to suspend the continued development of a roadless 
area policy on public domain units and other units of the 
National Forest System pending adequate public participation 
and determinations that a roadless area policy will not 
adversely affect forest health, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that 
the bill as amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
    Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. CONDITIONS ON SUSPENSION OF ROAD CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES IN 
                    ROADLESS AREAS OF NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM.

  (a) Implementation Delayed Pending Public Participation.--(1) Except 
in accordance with this section, no interim rule or final rule to 
suspend, or to temporarily suspend, road construction activities, 
including the construction of temporary roads, in roadless areas on 
public domain units and other units of the National Forest System may 
be issued.
  (2) An interim rule referred to in paragraph (1) includes, but is not 
limited to, the notice of proposed interim rule published in the 
Federal Register on January 28, 1998 (63 Fed. Reg. 4351).
  (b) Exception After Public Participation and Report.--Subsection (a) 
shall be effective with regard to each interim rule and final rule 
described in subsection (a) until the Secretary of Agriculture--
          (1) conducts a public hearing on the rule in each public 
        domain unit and other unit of the National Forest System (and 
        at which the regional forester for the region in which the unit 
        is located, or the Chief of the Forest Service, is in 
        attendance); and
          (2) issues and submits to Congress a report, based on the 
        record of each hearing conducted under paragraph (1), which 
        details the effect of the rule on each of the following:
                  (A) Forest health in each public domain unit and 
                other unit of the National Forest System.
                  (B) Multiple use activities in each public domain 
                unit and other unit of the National Forest System.
                  (C) States, counties, and local communities dependent 
                on a public domain unit or other unit of the National 
                Forest System.
                  (D) Such other issues as may be raised in the public 
                hearings.
  (c) Location and Purpose of Public Hearing.--(1) The public hearing 
for each public domain unit and other unit of the National Forest 
System shall be held at a location in the unit that will facilitate the 
widest possible public participation. If there is no suitable location 
in the unit for the public hearing, the Secretary of Agriculture may 
hold the hearing at a suitable location near the unit.
  (2) The public hearing for a public domain unit or other unit of the 
National Forest System shall serve as a forum to discuss the potential 
effect of the suspension of road construction activities on the unit 
generally, on multiple use activities in the unit, on forest management 
and forest health, and on States, counties, and local communities 
dependent on the unit.
  (d) Effect of Issuance Before Enactment.--If an interim rule or final 
rule described in subsection (a) is issued before the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall immediately 
suspend the operation of the rule until the Secretary complies with the 
conditions specified in this section.
  (e) Federal Obligation.--Any implementation or application of an 
interim rule or final rule described in paragraph (a) concerning road 
construction in roadless areas in public domain units or other units of 
the National Forest System shall not in any way affect Federal 
obligations, including contracts, leases, and permits.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 3297 is to suspend the continued 
development of a roadless area policy on public domain units 
and other units of the National Forest System pending adequate 
public participation and determinations that a roadless area 
policy will not adversely affect forest health.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    H.R. 3297 would suspend the U.S. Forest Service's Roadless 
Area Moratorium initiative, that would halt construction of 
roads in national forests until public hearings are held in 
each unit of the National Forest System to allow for adequate 
public input. The Forest Service announced the Roadless Area 
Moratorium initiative on January 22, 1998. Under the 
initiative, the Forest Service plans to place a moratorium on 
the building or reconstruction of roads in roadless areas and 
other ``special areas'' in national forests for 18 months. It 
will also revise the regulations concerning the management of 
the National Forest System transportation system to address 
changes in how the road system is developed, used, maintained 
and funded.
    On February 24, 1998, the Forest Service announced that the 
public comment period on the proposed interim regulation to 
temporally suspend road construction in roadless areas has been 
extended until March 30, 1998. The Forest Service is conducting 
25 ``open houses'' nationwide rather than one in each national 
forest. These ``open houses'' provide a forum for the Forest 
Service to educate the public about their proposed action 
rather than allowing for substantive comments from interested 
individuals. In response to the Forest Service's lack of 
commitment to allow for proper public input from interested and 
affected citizens, Congressman John Peterson (R-PA) introduced 
legislation that would compel the Forest Service to hold such 
hearings.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 3297 was introduced on February 26, 1998, by 
Congressman Peterson. The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Agriculture and in addition to the Committee on Resources. 
Within the Committee on Resources, the bill was referred to the 
Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health. On March 17, 1998, 
the Subcommittee held a hearing on H.R. 3297, where the 
Administration testified in opposition to H.R. 3297, stating 
that they believe the Administrative Procedure Act provides 
adequate flexibility to address public participation, and that 
they have moved to broaden public participation opportunities. 
They do not believe that holding public hearings in each 
national forest is appropriate.
    On March 25, 1998, the Committee on Resources met to 
consider H.R. 3297. The Subcommittee on Forests and Forest 
Health was discharged from further consideration of the bill by 
unanimous consent. Congressman Peterson offered an amendment in 
the nature of a substitute which requires the Forest Service to 
detail the impact of the moratorium on the forest health, 
multiple-use and state and local communities. The amendment was 
adopted by voice vote. The bill as amended was then ordered 
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by a 
rollcall vote of 18-14, as follows:
    Roll No. 1.
    Bill No. H.R. 3297.
    Short title: Suspend development of roadless area policy on 
public domain units of National Forest System final passage.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Member                 Yea       Nay     Present         Member          Yea       Nay     Present
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Young (Chairman)...........        X   ........  .........  Mr. Miller.......  ........        X   .........
Mr. Tauzin.....................  ........  ........  .........  Mr. Markey.......  ........  ........  .........
Mr. Hansen.....................        X   ........  .........  Mr. Rahall.......  ........  ........  .........
Mr. Saxton.....................        X   ........  .........  Mr. Vento........  ........        X   .........
Mr. Gallegly...................  ........  ........  .........  Mr. Kildee.......  ........        X   .........
Mr. Duncan.....................  ........  ........  .........  Mr. DeFazio......  ........        X   .........
Mr. Hefley.....................        X   ........  .........  Mr. Faleomavaega.  ........        X   .........
Mr. Doolittle..................        X   ........  .........  Mr. Abercrombie..  ........        X   .........
Mr. Gilchrest..................        X   ........  .........  Mr. Ortiz........  ........  ........  .........
Mr. Calvert....................        X   ........  .........  Mr. Pickett......  ........  ........  .........
Mr. Pombo......................        X   ........  .........  Mr. Pallone......  ........        X   .........
Mrs. Cubin.....................        X   ........  .........  MR. Dooley.......  ........  ........  .........
Mrs. Chenoweth.................        X   ........  .........  Mr. Romero-        ........        X   .........
                                                                 Barcelo.
Mrs. Linda Smith...............        X   ........  .........  Mr. Hinchey......  ........        X   .........
Mr. Radanovich.................  ........  ........  .........  Mr. Underwood....  ........  ........  .........
Mr. Jones......................        X   ........  .........  Mr. Farr.........  ........        X   .........
Mr. Thornberry.................        X   ........  .........  Mr. Kennedy......  ........        X   .........
Mr. Shadegg....................  ........  ........  .........  Mr. Adam Smith...  ........        X   .........
Mr. Ensigh.....................  ........  ........  .........  Mr. Delahunt.....  ........  ........  .........
Mr. Bob Smith..................  ........  ........  .........  Mr. John.........  ........  ........  .........
Mr. Cannon.....................  ........  ........  .........  Ms. Green........  ........        X   .........
Mr. Brady......................  ........  ........  .........  Mr. Kind.........  ........        X   .........
Mr. Peterson...................        X   ........  .........  Mr. Doggett......  ........  ........  .........
Mr. Hill.......................        X   ........  .........
Mr. Schaffer...................        X   ........  .........
Mr. Gibbons....................        X   ........  .........
Mr. Crapo......................        X   ........  .........
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

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

                   CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    Article I, section 8 and Article IV, section 3 of the 
Constitution of the United States grant Congress the authority 
to enact H.R. 3297.

                        COST OF THE LEGISLATION

    Clause 7(a) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs which would be incurred in carrying out 
H.R. 3297. However, clause 7(d) of that rule provides that this 
requirement does not apply when the Committee has included in 
its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the bill 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
under section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

                     COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XI

    1. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(B) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, H.R. 
3297 does not contain any new budget authority, credit 
authority, or an increase or decrease in revenues or tax 
expenditures. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 
enactment of H.R. 3297 would affect direct spending, but this 
effect would be zero.
    2. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(D) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee has received no report of oversight findings and 
recommendations from the Committee on Government Reform and 
Oversight on the subject of H.R. 3297.
    3. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(C) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the 
Committee has received the following cost estimate for H.R. 
3297 from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office.

               CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, April 3, 1998.
Hon. Don Young,
Chairman, Committee on Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3297, a bill to 
suspend the continued development of a roadless area policy on 
public domain units and other units of the National Forest 
System pending adequate public participation and determinations 
that a roadless area policy will not adversely affect forest 
health.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Victoria V. 
Heid.
            Sincerely,
                                         June O. O'Neill, Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3297--A bill to suspend the continued development of a roadless 
        area policy on public domain units and other units of the 
        National Forest System pending adequate public participation 
        and determinations that a roadless area policy will not 
        adversely affect forest health

    Summary: H.R. 3297 would prohibit the Administration from 
issuing a rule to suspend road construction activities, 
including the construction of temporary roads, in roadless 
areas within the National Forest System. Under the bill, the 
prohibition would be in effect until the Secretary of 
Agriculture conducts public hearings on the rule in every unit 
of the National Forest System and reports to the Congress on 
those hearings. The bill also provides that if a rule to 
suspend road construction is issued before the bill is enacted, 
the Secretary shall suspend implementation of the rule until 
the hearings and reports described in the bill are completed.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3297 would have no 
significant budgetary impact. It is possible, however, that 
enacting the bill would lead to significant changes in either 
discretionary spending or direct spending, depending on what 
actions the Administration would take under current law and 
under the bill. (The alternative scenarios are discussed 
below.) Because enacting H.R. 3297 could affect direct spending 
by increasing offsetting receipts, pay-as-you-go procedures 
would apply, but we estimate that the direct spending effect 
would be zero. H.R. 3297 contains no intergovernmental or 
private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA).
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The Forest 
Service has published in the Federal Register a proposed 
interim rule that would, if adopted, temporarily suspend road 
construction and reconstruction in certain roadless areas in 
the National Forest System. Under the current law baseline, CBO 
did not assume that theAdministration would implement the 
proposed interim rule. Furthermore, we expect that the most likely 
outcome of enacting the bill would be that the Administration would not 
attempt to implement the proposed rule. Therefore, relative to the 
baseline, we estimate that enacting H.R. 3297 would maintain the status 
quo and would not affect either receipts from the sale of timber or 
discretionary spending by the Forest Service.
    Other outcomes are possible, however. Depending on what 
policy the Administration chooses to pursue, both under current 
law and under the bill. enacting H.R. 3297 could reduce direct 
spending by increasing offsetting receipts from timber sales, 
or increase discretionary spending by $50 million or more over 
the next two or three fiscal years to cover the costs of 
conducting public hearings and issuing subsequent reports. The 
scenarios that would lead to those alternative budgetary 
results are as follows:
    One might assume that, under current law, the 
Administration would implement its proposed rule. If so, 
offsetting receipts from timber harvesting and payments to 
states based on a percentage of such receipts would both likely 
decrease because timber purchasers would have restricted access 
to timber in roadless areas. If, under the constraints of H.R. 
3297, the Administration would decide not to impose the 
proposed rule, the potential decrease in offsetting receipts 
would be avoided.
    Alternatively, once might assume that the Administration 
would implement the rule it has proposed under current law and 
would seek to do so as well pursuant to H.R. 3297. Under this 
scenario, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would increase 
discretionary costs by $50 million or more over the next two or 
three years to carry out public hearings and reports on those 
hearings for each of more than 225 units in the National Forest 
System. In addition, enacting the bill would delay the 
potential decrease in offsetting receipts from implementing the 
rule, and offsetting receipts would be higher over the next two 
to three years than would otherwise be the case.
    Potential costs of this legislation would fall within 
budget functions 300 (natural resources and the environment) 
and 800 (general government).
    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. Because enacting H.R. 3297 could affect direct 
spending by increasing offsetting receipts, pay-as-you-go 
procedures would apply. Relative to the CBO baseline, we 
estimate that enacting the bill would not change offsetting 
receipts from timber sales; therefore, we estimate that there 
would be no effect on direct spending.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact; H.R. 3297 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. Because the proposed rule regarding roadless 
areas is not currently in force, enactment of this bill would 
not change the amount of timber receipts paid to states or 
otherwise affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Victoria V. Heid.
    Estimate approved by: Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    H.R. 3297 contains no unfunded mandates.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, H.R. 3297 would make no changes in existing 
law.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    We strongly oppose this legislation as a transparent attack 
on the Forest Service's policies concerning new roadbuilding in 
roadless areas of our national forests.
    The bill's mandate that Forest Service hold hearings in 
every national forest unit is unnecessary. Amendments to cut 
federal funding for new timber roads have been intensely 
debated in Congress and by the involved public. the Forest 
Service's proposal for a temporary moratorium on new road 
building was widely covered by the media when announced by the 
Forest Service in January. It is published in the Federal 
Register and available on a web site. Twenty-five public forums 
on the proposed policy by the agency have been conducted across 
the nation. Thousands of public comments have been received 
during an extended comment period.
    Directing that over 120 additional public hearings be 
conducted, as the bill proposes, would unduly delay the 
rulemaking and add significant costs to the taxpayers. In 
seeking to establish this unprecedented barrier to agency 
action, the Majority ironically fails to follow its own 
standards, reporting legislation affecting national matters 
with only cursory public hearings and restricted numbers of 
public witnesses. Moreover, they incorrectly presume in the 
bill that only those people who reside near national forests 
have an interest in how federal tax dollars are spent and how 
those public lands are managed.
    The driving force behind this legislation is not a new-
found Majority obsession with public process. Rather, this bill 
is a vehicle to obstruct the Forest Service from developing new 
road system polices in order to continue the old ways of 
building environmentally harmful, taxpayer-subsidized timber 
roads.
    The current leadership of the Forest Service has inherited 
a major fiscal and environmental mess with the maze of existing 
national forest roads. This road system covers over 373,000 
miles, eight times the length of the Interstate Highway System, 
enough to circle the globe 16 times. The Forest Service 
estimates a $10.5 billion backlog of maintenance and repair 
costs for the passenger vehicle roads which comprise 86,000 
miles or only 23 percent of the system.
    As Forest Service Chief Dombeck testified at the 
Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 3297 On March 17, 1998, ``it 
simply does not make sense to construct new roads in roadless 
areas when we cannot take care of the road system we already 
have.''
    It also does not make sense to construct new, expensive 
roads in roadless areas when there is strong scientific 
evidence that roadless areas provide the cleanest water, the 
best fish and wildlife habitat, and valuable recreational 
opportunities. Road building causes extensive environmental 
harm, with the damage extenuated when roads are not maintained. 
As the Forest Service stated when proposing the roadless area 
moratorium:
          ``A growing body of scientific information 
        demonstrates that road construction in sensitive areas, 
        such as roadless areas, may cause the introduction of 
        exotic plant species, disrupt wildlife habitat, and 
        otherwise compromise the attributes that make roadless 
        areas ecologically important and often unique. Roadless 
        areas are often aquatic strongholds for fish of great 
        recreational and commercial value. These areas also 
        often provide critical habitat and migration routes for 
        many wildlife species. * * * The effects of road 
        construction may persist for decades. Many of the 
        remaining roadless areas within the National Forest 
        System are in areas with steep slopes that surround 
        headwater streams. Road construction increases the 
        risks of erosion, landslides, and slope failure which 
        may compromise critically important water quality.''
    H.R. 3297 is an attempt to cloak the Majority's desires to 
continue logging and roadbuilding subsidies under a thin veil 
of public process. The Forest Service should be given the 
opportunity to develop new policies on roadbuilding--taking 
into account the extensive public comment already received--
without additional hurdles promoted by those who seek to 
perpetuate the fiscally and environmentally irresponsible 
policies of the past. H.R. 3297 should be rejected by the 
House.

                                   George Miller.
                                   Maurice Hinchey.
                                   Bruce Vento.