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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
SECTION 1. INTERCHANGES.
(a) Authority.--Secretary of Agriculture shall complete the following
(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.
(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.
(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
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
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.
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
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
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
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Megan
(For Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Director).
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
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
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing
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
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.
Richard W. Pombo,
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
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.