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108th Congress                                            Rept. 108-666
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1

======================================================================



 
           TO FACILITATE THE EXCHANGE OF SMALL TRACTS OF LAND

                                _______
                                

               September 8, 2004.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Pombo, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 4617]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 4617) to amend the Small Tracts Act to facilitate the 
exchange of small tracts of land, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, report favorably thereon with 
amendments and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
  The amendments are as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. INTERCHANGES.

  (a) Authority.--Secretary of Agriculture shall complete the following 
interchanges:
          (1) An acquisition from Irving N. Christensen of that portion 
        of SW\1/4\NW\1/4\ Section 16, T.19N., R.9E., MDM., lying 
        southwesterly of California State Highway 49 and all that 
        portion of S\1/2\NE\1/4\ Section 17, T.19N., R.9E., MDM., lying 
        southwesterly of California State Highway 49 and northeasterly 
        of the North Fork Yuba River, through interchange of an 
        approximately equal value of National Forest System land lying 
        northerly of California State Highway 49 within the N\1/2\N\1/
        2\ Section 17, T.19N., R.9E., MDM. The Federal land to be 
        interchanged within the specifications of this paragraph shall 
        be agreed upon by the Forest Supervisor and Irving N. 
        Christensen.
          (2) An acquisition from Dennis W. McCreary and Cindy M. 
        McCreary of a portion of Lot 19, Section 35, T. 20 N., R. 10 E, 
        MDM in Downieville, Sierra County, California, through 
        interchange of a portion of National Forest System land in Lot 
        121, Section 35, T. 20 N., R. 10 E, MDM in Downieville, Sierra 
        County, California. The Federal land to be interchanged within 
        the specifications of this paragraph shall be agreed upon by 
        the Forest Supervisor and Dennis W. McCreary and Cindy M. 
        McCreary.
  (b) Descriptions.--The Secretary may modify the descriptions in 
section (a) to correct errors or to reconfigure the properties in order 
to facilitate a conveyance.
  (c) Consideration.--Consideration for a sale of land under this 
section may include cash, land, or a combination of both.
  (d) Valuation.--Any appraisals of land deemed necessary or desirable 
by the Secretary to carry out the purposes of this Act shall conform to 
the Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions.
  (e) Cash Equalization.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 
the Secretary may accept a cash equalization payment in excess of 25 
percent of the value of any land exchanged under this subsection.
  (f) Withdrawal.--Subject to valid existing rights, all lands 
described in section (b) are withdrawn from location, entry, and patent 
under the mining laws of the United States.

SEC. 2. RECEIPTS.

  (a) Deposit Into Fund.--
          (1) The Secretary shall deposit the net receipts of an 
        exchange under this Act in the fund established by Public Law 
        90-171 (commonly known as the ``Sisk Act'', 16 U.S.C. 484a).
          (2) Receipts from any exchange pursuant to this Act shall not 
        be paid or distributed to the State or counties under any 
        provision of law, or otherwise deemed as moneys received from 
        the National Forest for purposes of the Act of May 23, 1908, or 
        the Act of March 1, 1911 (16 U.S.C. 500, as amended), or the 
        Act of March 4, 1913 (16 U.S.C. 501, as amended).
  (b) Use of the Funds.--Funds deposited pursuant to subsection (a) 
shall be available for expenditure, without further appropriation, for 
the acquisition of real property or interest in property for National 
Forest purposes in the State of California.

  Amend the title so as to read:

    A bill to facilitate the exchange of small tracts of land, 
and for other purposes.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    As ordered reported, the purpose of H.R. 4617 is to 
facilitate the exchange of small tracts of land and for other 
purposes.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Initially this legislation would have amended the Small 
Tracts Act to update the law. However, amendments adopted by 
the Committee on Resources removes this portion of the 
legislation and simply authorizes two land exchanges between 
private landowners and the U.S. Forest Service of the 
Department of Agriculture. Specifically, the Secretary of 
Agriculture would acquire two small tracts of land from two 
private landowners in the Tahoe National Forest. While the 
parcels are small enough to be exchanged under the Small Tracts 
Act, other antiquated limitations in that Act would prevent the 
exchange.
    In the first exchange, a private landowner would acquire 
the mineral rights to three acres of the surface estate his 
family has owned since 1939. In exchange, the Forest Service 
would acquire seven acres of land adjacent to the Tahoe 
National Forest's Indian Valley Campground. The Department of 
Agriculture has indicated its interest in obtaining the seven 
acres in correspondence to the landowner.
    Due to boundary adjustment errors in 1935, the second 
exchange involves swapping two .87 acres of land. The first 
parcel is Forest Service land located in the landowner's 
backyard. The second parcel is private land that abuts the 
first .87 acre parcel. This exchange would allow the Forest 
Service to gain access to a trailhead staging area. The Forest 
Service has indicated it would be an attractive exchange in 
correspondence to the landowner.
    Currently, there are no appraisals for the land in 
question. However, any valuation of the land for the Forest 
Service must meet the Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal 
Land Acquisitions. Additionally, any receipts received by the 
Forest Service must be deposited into the fund established by 
the Sisk Act.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 4617 was introduced on June 18, 2004 by Congressman 
John Doolittle (R-CA). The bill was referred primarily to the 
Committee on Resources and additionally to the Committee on 
Agriculture. Within the Committee on Resources, the bill was 
referred to the Subcommittee on Forest and Forest Health. On 
July 14, 2004, the Full Resources Committee met to consider the 
bill. The Subcommittee was discharged from further 
consideration of the bill by unanimous consent. Congressman 
Greg Walden (R-OR) offered an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute which removed language amending the Small Tracts Act 
and simply authorized the exchange of two parcels of land 
identified in the original bill. It was adopted by unanimous 
consent, with the understanding further changes may be needed 
in preparation for passage on the House floor. The bill as 
amended was then ordered favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives by unanimous consent.

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII 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 of the Constitution of the United 
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) 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 this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) 
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 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
    2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2) 
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this 
bill 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 this bill could affect direct spending but any 
such spending would be ``negligible.''
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. This bill does 
not authorize funding and therefore, clause 3(c)(4) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives does not 
apply.
    4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause 
3(c)(3) of rule XIII 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 this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 28, 2004.
Hon. Richard W. Pombo,
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. 4617, a bill to 
facilitate the exchange of small tracts of land, and for other 
purposes.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Megan 
Carroll.
            Sincerely,
                                         Elizabeth Robinson
                               (For Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 4617--A bill to facilitate the exchange of small tracts of land, 
        and for other purposes

    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4617 would have no 
significant impact on the federal budget. The bill could affect 
direct spending, but we estimate that any such effects would be 
negligible. H.R. 4617 would not affect revenues. H.R. 4617 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would have no 
significant impact on the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    H.R. 4617 would require the Secretary of Agriculture to 
convey national forest system land in California to two private 
landowners in exchange for roughly eight acres of land owned by 
those individuals. The bill does not specify the federal land 
to be exchanged, but would require that it be of approximately 
equal value to the private land. If it is not, H.R. 4617 would 
authorize the Secretary to make or accept cash payments to 
equalize the value of property exchanged, subject to the 
availability of appropriated funds. Based on information from 
the Forest Service, CBO expects that any such payments 
exchanged under H.R. 4617 would be negligible.
    Conveying federal land under H.R. 4617 could reduce 
offsetting receipts if, under current law, that land would 
generate income under programs to develop natural resources. 
Based on information from the Forest Service, however, CBO 
expects that any federal land exchanged under H.R. 4617 would 
be highly unlikely to produce any significant income over the 
next 10 years. Hence, we estimate that completing the proposed 
exchanges would not significantly affect offsetting receipts (a 
credit against direct spending).
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Megan Carroll. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.

                        COMMITTEE CORRESPONDENCE

                     U.S. House of Representatives,
                                    Committee on Resources,
                                   Washington, DC, August 25, 2004.
Hon. Bob Goodlatte,
Chairman, Committee on Agriculture,
Longworth HOB, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: On July 14, 2004, the Committee on 
Resources ordered favorably reported with amendments H.R. 4617, 
to amend the Small Tracts Act to facilitate the exchange of 
small tracts of land, and for other purposes. The bill was 
referred primarily to the Committee on Resources, with an 
additional referral to the Committee on Agriculture. The 
additional referral was triggered because the bill amended the 
Small Tracts Act, which affects both forests created from the 
public domain and those which were not. I have forwarded a copy 
of the draft bill report and reported text to your staff for 
review.
    As you will see, the amendments adopted in the Resources 
Committee no longer make changes to the Small Tracts Act. In 
fact, the only language remaining are two small land exchanges 
both involving the Tahoe National Forest in California, a 
forest created from the public domain.
    The author of the bill, Congressman John Doolittle, would 
like to see it considered by the House of Representatives 
before we adjourn the 108th Congress. Knowing that we have only 
a few weeks left at most, I ask that you allow the Committee on 
Agriculture to be discharged from further consideration of the 
bill so that it may be scheduled under suspension of the rules 
as soon as possible. This discharge in no way affects your 
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the original bill and 
it will not serve as precedent for future referrals. In 
addition, I would be pleasedto include this letter and any 
response you might have in the report on the bill to be filed on 
September 7, 2004.
    Thank you for your consideration of my request and I look 
forward to bringing H.R. 4617 to the Floor soon.
            Sincerely,
                                          Richard W. Pombo,
                                                          Chairman.
                                ------                                

                     U.S. House of Representatives,
                                  Committee on Agriculture,
                                 Washington, DC, September 8, 2004.
Hon. Richard Pombo,
Chairman, House Committee on Resources,
Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC
    Dear Mr. Chairman: Thank you for your August 25, 2004 
correspondence regarding H.R. 4617, a bill to amend the Small 
Tracts Act to facilitate the exchange of small tracts of land, 
and for other purposes. As you are aware, the Committee on 
Agriculture was granted an additional referral of this 
legislation.
    Knowing of your interest in expediting this legislation, I 
will discharge H.R. 4617 from further consideration by the 
Committee on Agriculture. I do so with the understanding that 
by discharging these bills the Committee on Agriculture does 
not waive any future jurisdictional claim over these or similar 
measures. In addition, in the event a conference with the 
Senate is requested on this matter, the Committee on 
Agriculture reserves the right to seek appointment of 
conferees, if it should become necessary.
    Thank you very much for your courtesy in this matter and I 
look forward to continued cooperation between our Committees as 
we deal with these issues in the future.
            Sincerely,
                                             Bob Goodlatte,
                                                          Chairman.