S. Rept. 109-152 - PUBLIC LANDS CORPS HEALTHY FORESTS RESTORATION109th Congress (2005-2006)
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Calendar No. 244 109th Congress Report SENATE 1st Session 109-152 ====================================================================== PUBLIC LANDS CORPS HEALTHY FORESTS RESTORATION _______ October 19, 2005.--Ordered to be printed _______ Mr. Domenici, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, submitted the following R E P O R T [To accompany S. 1238] The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was referred the bill (S. 1238) to amend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 to provide the conduct of projects that protect forests, and for other purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with amendments and recommends that the bill, as amended, be passed. The amendments are as follows: 1. On page 8, between lines 13 and 14, insert the following: ``(b) Disaster Relief or Prevention Projects-- Notwithstanding subsection (a), any amounts made available under that subsection shall be available for disaster prevention or relief projects.'' 2. On page 8, line 14, strike ``(b)'' and insert ``(c)''. Purpose of the Measure The purpose of S. 1238 is to amend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 to establish a priority for projects aimed at improving forest and watershed health, a preference for disadvantaged youth, a hiring preference for corps members, and a specific authorization of appropriations, and to make other technical and conforming amendments. Background and Need The Public Lands Corps were established in 1993 (Pub. L. 103-82) to carry out a wide range of projects on public lands, including ``any project for the conservation, restoration, construction or rehabilitation of natural cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational, or scenic resources'' on public, Indian, or Hawaiian home lands. 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1722. With the exception of the National Park Service--which has used a portion of its fee-demonstration program revenues to support a wide-range of Public Lands Corps projects since 1998--no other Federal public land management agency has used the Public Lands Corps program. Other agencies have supported the Public Lands Corps program in concept, but defended their failures to implement the program by contending that they have insufficient financial resources to support Public Lands Corps projects. With a focus on forest and watershed health and wildfire activity, there is interest in expanding the role that the Public Lands Corps play in public lands restoration particularly in the context of furthering the purposes of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6501 note). Experience also has demonstrated a need to make a number of technical and conforming improvements to the 1993 law. S. 1238 provides for a focus on these types of projects and would include a number of technical and clarifying improvements to the Public Lands Corps Act. Legislative History Senator Feinstein introduced S. 1238 for herself and Senators Domenici and Bingaman on June 14, 2005. The Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests held a hearing on S. 1238 on July 20, 2005. The Committee favorably reported S. 1238, with an amendment, by unanimous voice vote on September 28, 2005. A identical bill, H.R. 2875, was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Greg Walden on June 14, 2005. The Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health held a hearing on H.R. 2875 on July 14, 2005. The Committee on Resources favorably reported H.R. 2875, with an amendment, by unanimous consent on September 22, 2005. Similar bills were introduced in the 108th Congress by Senator Feinstein (S. 2253) and Representative Greg Walden (H.R. 4338). The Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests held a hearing on S. 2253 on July 21, 2004 (S. Hrg. 108-714). No further action was taken on the bill. The Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health held a hearing in the House on H.R. 4838 on July 22, 2004. The House Committee on Resources favorably reported H.R. 4838, with amendment, by unanimous consent on September 15, 2004. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 4838, as amended, under suspension of the rules on September 28, 2004. Committee Recommendation The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open business session on September 28, 2005, by a voice vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 1238, if amended as described herein. Committee Amendment The Committee adopted an amendment to add authority for the Secretaries to use any funds appropriated under section 211(a) for disaster prevention and relief projects. Section-by-Section Analysis Section 1 provides the short title of the Act. Section 2 amends the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 as follows: Subsection 2(a) adds definitions for the terms, ``priority projects'' and ``Secretary''. Subsection (b) sets forth the terms of a preference for youth or conservation corps with members who are economically, physically, or educationally disadvantaged. Subsection (c) expands the authority of the Public Lands Corps to carry out appropriate projects on Federal, State, local, or private lands as part of Federal disaster prevention or relief efforts. Subsection (d) expands the Secretaries' authority to provide assistance that is appropriate in carrying out the Act, and makes a number of technical and clarifying changes. Subsection (e) expands the Secretaries' discretion to provide each participant in the Public Lands Corps with a living allowance and authorizes the Secretaries to grant members of the Public Lands Corps credit for time served to be used toward future Federal hiring and noncompetitive hiring status for not more than 120 days after the date a member's service in the Corps is complete. Subsection (f) authorizes the appropriations of up to $15 million per year to be used on authorized projects including disaster prevention and relief and clarifies that the authorization of appropriations does not limit the amount that may be expended on the Corps through other appropriations or programs. Subsection (g) sets forth a number of conforming amendments. Cost and Budgetary Considerations The following estimate of costs of this measure has been provided by the Congressional Budget Office. S. 1238--Public Lands Corps Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2005 Summary: S. 1238 would authorize the appropriations of $15 million a year for implementing restoration, conservation, and fire-prevention projects in national parks. Under the bill, the Public Lands Corps would administer the projects, and youth conservation organization would carry out the projects. Assuming appropriation of the specified amounts, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $5 million in 2006 and $60 million over the 2006-2010 period. Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or revenues. S. 1238 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no cost on state, local, or tribal governments. Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated budgetary impact of S. 1238 is shown in the following table. The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 (natural resources and environment). CBO assumes that the bill will be enacted in fiscal year 2006, that the specified amounts will be appropriated for each fiscal year, and that outlays will follow historical trends. CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $5 million in 2006 and by $60 million over the 2006-2010 period for administering restoration, conservation, and fire-prevention projects in national parks. Spending after 2010 would continue at the authorized level of $15 million a year. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- By fiscal year in million of dollars-- -------------------------------------------- 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION Authorization Level \1\............................................ 15 15 15 15 15 Estimated Outlays.................................................. 5 10 15 15 15 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- \1\ The bill would provide a permanent authorization of $15 million a year. Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 1238 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA and would impose no cost on state, local, or tribal governments. Previous CBO estimate: On October 18, 2005, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 2875, the Public Lands Corps Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2005, as ordered reported by the House Committee on Resources on September 22, 2005. The two pieces of legislation are almost identical. However, H.R. 2875 would specify the authorization of appropriation for 2007 and 2011, while S. 1238 would specify a permanent authorization of appropriation. The cost estimates reflect the difference. Estimated prepared by: Federal Costs: Megan Carroll and Melissa Z. Peterson. Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Government: Marjorie Miller. Impact of the Private Sector: Craig Cammarata. Estimated approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis. Regulatory Impact Evaluation In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in carrying out S. 1238. The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of imposing Government-established standards or significant economic responsibilities on private individuals and businesses. No personal information would be collected in administering the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal privacy. Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the enactment of S. 1238. Executive Communications The views of the Administration were included in testimony received by the Committee at a hearing on the bill on July 20, 2005. Statement of Joel Holtrop, Deputy Chief, National Forest System, United States Forest Service, Department of Agriculture Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for giving me the opportunity to present the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on S. 1238, the Public Lands Corps Healthy Forest Restoration Act. The Department supports S. 1238. However, the Department would like to work with the committee and bill sponsors to ensure specific conservation corps would be covered under S. 1238 since we work with several programs that service disadvantaged youths. S. 1238 would amend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 to direct the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior, in carrying out priority projects in a specific area, to give preference, to the maximum extent practicable, to qualified youth or conservation corps located in that specific area that have a substantial portion of members who are economically, physically, or educationally disadvantaged. Priority projects are those that will: (1) reduce wildfire risk to communities, municipal water supplies, or other at risk Federal land; (2) protect a watershed or address a threat to forest and rangeland health, including catastrophic wildfire; (3) address the impact of insect or disease infestations or other damaging agents on forest and rangeland health; (4) protect, restore, or enhance forest ecosystem components to promote recovery of threatened and endangered species, to improve biological diversity, or to enhance productivity and carbon sequestration. It is important to recognize that implementation of some priority projects requires a certain amount of maturity, decision-making capability, perspective and attention to safety. It is both appropriate and necessary to provide the Secretaries the discretion in determining the types of priority projects suitable for the target corps. In many respects, the goals of S. 1238 are consistent with existing authorities that the Department has supported, including the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA) [P.L. 108- 208], the original Public Lands Corps Act of 1993, P.L. 103-82 Title II, and the Youth Conservation Corps Act of 1970, P.L. 91-378. However, the Administration does have concerns about the Committee's expectation regarding the authorization of specific appropriations contained in the bill given current and future budgetary constraints. This concludes my statement, I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have. ------ Statement for the Record of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior Thank you for the opportunity to present for the record the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 1238, a bill to amend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 to provide for the conduct of projects that protect forests and for other purposes. The National Park Service (NPS) has successfully implemented the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993, to expand our youth service opportunities to carry out needed repairs and restoration projects within the National Park System. With the passage of the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program in 1996 (P.L. 104-134; U.S.C. 460l-6a), funding was available to implement the NPS Public Lands Corps program in 1997. As required in the recreation fee demonstration legislation and in the recently passed Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (P.L. 108-447), funds acquired through the recreation fee program may be used only for specific purposes. For that reason, NPS Public Lands Corps projects must focus on repair, maintenance and facility enhancement related directly to visitor enjoyment, education, access, services and health and safety or on habitat restoration related directly to wildlife dependent recreation. The NPS regards the Public Lands Corps Program as an important and successful example of civic engagement and conservation. The program is unique because nonprofit agencies such as the Student Conservation Association and the National Association for Service and Conservation Corps serve as the primary partners in administering the Public Lands Corps program. In addition, any nonprofit youth organization may participate such as the Boy and Girl Scouts, local high schools and job training youth organizations. Each year over 300 parks apply for work grants of up to $25,000. The nonprofit youth organizations assist the NPS in its efforts to attract diverse audiences to the parks by recruiting youth 16 to 25 years of age from all socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Since 1997, the Public Lands Corps has funded more than 2,000 work projects with more than 100 parks participating on an annual basis. S. 1238 would allow the National Park Service to expand the current work it accomplishes with the Public Lands Corps by creating an additional type of project to promote healthy forests and authorize appropriations for these projects. The legislation would not adversely affect the National Park Service's ability to continue its practice of funding other Public Lands Corps projects through the use of proceeds from the recreation fee program. In addition, we would still be able to prioritize projects according to the needs of the parks. Therefore, the Department of the Interior has no objection to this legislation. However, funding for projects authorized by this legislation would be subject to current and future budgetary constraints and the Administration's priority-setting process. Changes in Existing Law In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill S. 1238, as ordered reported, are shown as follows (existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown in roman): Public Law 91-378, as Amended AN ACT To establish a pilot program in the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture designated as the Youth Conservation Corps, and for other purposes. * * * * * * * TITLE II--PUBLIC LANDS CORPS SEC. 201. SHORT TITLE. This title may be cited as the ``Public Lands Corps Act of 1993''. * * * * * * * SEC. 203. DEFINITIONS. For purposes of this title: * * * * * * * (7) Indian tribe.--The term ``Indian tribe'' means an Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Native village, Regional Corporation, or Village Corporation, as defined in subsection (c), (g), or (j), respectively, of section 3 of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1602 (c), (g), or (j)), that is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States under Federal law to Indians because of their status as Indians. (8) Priority project.--The term ``priority project'' means an appropriate conservation project conducted on eligible service lands to further 1 or more of the purposes of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6501 et seq.), as follows: (A) To reduce wildfire risk to a community, municipal water supply, or other at-risk Federal land. (B) To protect a watershed or address a threat to forest and rangeland health, including catastrophic wildfire. (C) To address the impact of insect or disease infestations or other damaging agents on forest and rangeland health. (D) To protect, restore, or enhance forest ecosystem components to-- (i) promote the recovery of threatened or endangered species; (ii) improve biological diversity; or (iii) enhance productivity and carbon sequestration. [(8)] (9) Public lands.--The term ``public lands'' means any lands or waters (or interest therein) owned or administered by the United States, except that such term does not include and Indian lands. [(9)] (10) Quailified youth or conservation corps.-- The term ``qualified youth or conservation corps'' means any program established by a State or local government, by the governing body of any Indian tribe, or by a nonprofit organization that-- (A) is capable of offering meaningful, full- time, productive work for individuals between the ages of 16 and 25, inclusive, in a natural or cultural resource setting; (B) gives participants a mix of work experience, basic and life skills, education, training, and support services; and (C) provides participants with the opportunity to develop citizenship values and skills through service to their community and the United States. [(10)] (11) Resource assistant.--The term ``resource assistant'' means a resource assistant selected under section 206. (12) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means-- (A) with respect to National Forest System land, the Secretary of Agriculture; and (B) with respect to Indian lands, Hawaiian home lands, or land administered by the Department of the Interior, the Secretary of the Interior. [(11)] (13) State.--The term ``State'' means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands of the United States, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. SEC. 204. PUBLIC LANDS CORPS PROGRAM. (a) Establishment of Public Lands Corps.--There is hereby established in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture a Public Lands Corps. (b) Participants.--The Corps shall consist of individuals between the ages of 16 and 25, inclusive, who are enrolled as participants in the corps by the [Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture] Secretary. To be eligible for enrollment in the Corps, an individual shall satisfy the criteria specified in section 137(b) of the National and Community Service Act of 1990. The [Secretaries] Secretary may enroll such individuals in the Corps without regard to the civil service and classification laws, rules, or regulations of the United States. The [Secretaries] Secretary may establish a preference for the enrollment in the Corps of individuals who are economically, physically, or educationally disadvantaged. (c) Qualified Youth or Conservation Corps.--[The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture are] (1) In general.--The Secretary is authorized to enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with any qualified youth or conservation corps to perform appropriate conservation projects referred to in subsection (d). (2) Preference.-- (2) In general.--For purposes of entering into contracts and cooperative agreements under paragraph (1), the Secretary may give preference to qualified youth or conservation corps located in a specific area that have a substantial portion of members who are economically, physically, or educationally disadvantaged to carry out projects within the area. (B) Priority projects.--In carrying out priority projects in a specific area, the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable, give preference to qualified youth or conservation corps located in that specific area that have a substantial portion of members who are economically, physically, or educationally disadvantaged. (d) Projects To Be Carried Out.--[The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture may each] (1) In general.--The Secretary may utilize the Corps or any qualified youth or conservation corps to carry out appropriate conservation projects which such Secretary is authorized to carry out under other authority of law on public lands. [Appropriate conservation] (2) Projects on indian lands.--Appropriate conservation projects may also be carried out under this title on Indian lands with the approval of the Indian tribe involved and on Hawaiian home lands with the approval of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands of the State of Hawaii. [The Secretaries may also authorize appropriate conservation projects and other appropriate projects to be carried out on Federal, State, local, or private lands as part of disaster in response to an emergency or major prevention or relief efforts declared by the President under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.).] (3) Disaster prevention or relief projects.--The Secretary may authorize appropriate conservation projects and other appropriate projects to be carried out on Federal, State, local, or private land as part of a Federal disaster prevention or relief effort. (e) Preference for Certain Projects.--In selecting appropriate conservation projects to be carried out under this title, the [Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture] Secretary shall give preference to those projects which-- (1) will provide long-term benefits to the public; (2) will instill in the enrollee involved a work ethic and a sense of public service; (3) will be labor intensive; (4) can be planned and initiated promptly; and (5) will provide academic, experiential, or environmental education opportunities. (f) Consistency.--Each appropriate conservation project carried out under this title on eligible service lands shall be consistent with the provisions of law and policies relating to the management and administration of such lands, with all other applicable provisions of law, and with all management, operational, and other plans and documents which govern the administration of the area. [SEC. 205. CONSERVATION CENTERS.] SEC. 205. CONSERVATION CENTERS AND PROGRAM SUPPORT. [(a) Establishment and Use.--The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture are each authorized to provide such quarters, board, medical care, transportation, and other services, facilities, supplies, and equipment as such Secretary deems necessary in connection with the Public Lands Corps and appropriate conservation projects carried out under this title and to establish and use conservation centers owned and operated by such Secretary for purposes of the Corps and such projects. The Secretaries shall establish basic standards of health, nutrition, sanitation, and safety for all conservation centers established under this section and shall assure that such standards are enforced. Where necessary or appropriate, the Secretaries may enter into contracts and other appropriate arrangements with State and local government agencies and private organizations for the management of such conservation centers.] (a) Establishment and Use.-- (1) In general.--The Secretary may establish and use conservation centers owned and operated by the Secretary for-- (A) use by the Public Lands Corps; and (B) the conduct of appropriate conservation projects under this title. (2) Assistance for conservation centers.--The Secretary may provide to a conservation center established under paragraph (1) any services, facilities, equipment, and supplies that the Secretary determines to be necessary for the conservation center. (3) Standards for conservation centers.--The Secretary shall-- (A) establish basic standards of health, nutrition, sanitation, and safety for all conservation centers established under paragraph (1); and (B) ensure that the standards established under subparagraph (A) are enforced. (4) Management.--As the Secretary determines to be appropriate, the Secretary may enter into a contract or other appropriate arrangement with a State or local government agency or private organization to provide for the management of a conservation center. (b) Logistical Support.--The [Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture] Secretary may make arrangements with the Secretary of Defense to have logistical support provided by the Armed Forces to the Corps and any conservation center established under this section, where feasible. Logistical support may include the provision of temporary tent shelters where needed, transportation, and residential supervision. (c) Use of Military Installations.--The [Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture] Secretary may make arrangements with the Secretary of Defense to identify military installations and other facilities of the Department of Defense and, in consultation with the adjutant generals of the State National Guards, National Guard facilities that may be used, in whole or in part, by the Corps for training or housing Corps participants. (d) Assistance.--The Secretary may provide any services, facilities, equipment, supplies, technical assistance, oversight, monitoring, or evaluations that are appropriate to carry out this title. SEC. 206. RESOURCE ASSISTANTS. (a) Authorization.--The [Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture are each] Secretary is authorized to provide individual placements of resource assistants with any Federal land managing agency under the jurisdiction of [such Secretary] the Secretary to carry out research or resource protection activities on behalf of the agency. To be eligible for selection as a resource assistant, an individual must be at least 17 years of age. The [Secretaries] Secretary may select resource assistants without regard to the civil service and classification laws, rules, or regulations of the United States. The [Secretaries] Secretary shall give a preference to the selection of individuals who are enrolled in an institution of higher education or are recent graduates from an institution of higher education, with particular attention given to ensure full representation of women and participants from historically black, Hispanic, and Native American schools. (b) Use of Existing Nonprofit Organizations.--Whenever one or more existing nonprofit organizations can provide, in the judgment of the [Secretary of the Interior or Secretary of Agriculture] the Secretary, appropriate recruitment and placement services to fulfill the requirements of this section, the Secretary may implement this section through such existing organizations. Participating nonprofit organizations shall contribute to the expenses of providing and supporting the resource assistants, through private sources of funding, at a level equal to 25 percent of the total costs of each participant in the Resource Assistant program who has been recruited and placed through that organization. Any such participating nonprofit conservation service organization shall be required, by the respective land managing agency, to submit an annual report evaluating the scope, size, and quality of the program, including the value of work contributed by the Resource Assistants, to the mission of the agency. SEC. 207. LIVING ALLOWANCES AND TERMS OF SERVICE. [(a) Living Allowances.--The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture shall provide each participant in the Public Lands Corps and each resource assistant with a living allowance in an amount not to exceed the maximum living allowance authorized by section 140(a)(3) of the National and Community Service Act of 1990 for participants in a national service program assisted under subtitle C of title I of such Act.] (a) Living Allowances.--The Secretary shall provide each participant in the Public Lands Corps and each resource assistant with a living allowance in an amount established by the Secretary. (b) Terms of Service.--Each participant in the Corps and each resource assistant shall agree to participate in the Corps or serve as a resource assistant, as the case may be, for such term of service as may be established by the Secretary enrolling or selecting the individual. (c) Hiring.--The Secretary may-- (1) grant to a member of the Public Lands Corps credit for time served with the Public Lands Corps, which may be used toward future Federal hiring; and (2) provide to a former member of the Public Lands Corps noncompetitive hiring status for a period of not more than 120 days after the date on which the member's service with the Public Lands Corps is complete. * * * * * * * SEC. 210. FUNDING. (a) Cost Sharing.-- (1) Projects by qualified youth or conservation corps.--The [Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture are each] Secretary is authorized to pay not more than 75 percent of the costs of any appropriate conservation project carried out pursuant to this title on public lands by a qualified youth or conservation corps. The remaining 25 percent of the costs of such a project may be provided from nonfederal sources in the form of funds, services, facilities, materials, equipment, or any combination of the foregoing. No cost sharing shall be required in the case of any appropriate conservation project carried out on Indian lands or Hawaiian home lands under this title. (2) Public lands corps projects.--The [Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture are each] Secretary is authorized to accept donations of funds, services, facilities, materials, or equipment for the purposes of operating the Public Lands Corps and carrying out appropriate conservation projects by the Corps. However, nothing in this title shall be construed to require any cost sharing for any project carried out directly by the Corps. (b) Funds Available Under National and Community Service Act.--In order to carry out the Public Lands Corps or to support resource assistants and qualified youth or conservation corps under this title, the [Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture] Secretary shall be eligible to apply for and receive assistance under section 121(b) of the National and Community Service Act of 1990. (c) Other Funds.--Amounts appropriated pursuant to the authorization of appropriations under section 211 are in addition to amounts allocated to the Public Lands Corps through other Federal programs or projects. SEC. 211. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. (a) In General.--There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title $15,000,000 for each fiscal year, of which $10,000,000 is authorized to carry out priority projects. (b) Availability of Funds.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, amounts appropriated for any fiscal year to carry out this title shall remain available for obligation and expenditure until the end of the fiscal year following the fiscal year for which the amounts are appropriated.