H. Rept. 113-368 - 113th Congress (2013-2014)
February 28, 2014, As Reported by the Natural Resources Committee

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House Report 113-368 - LAND DISPOSAL TRANSPARENCY AND EFFICIENCY ACT




[House Report 113-368]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


113th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     113-368

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



 
             LAND DISPOSAL TRANSPARENCY AND EFFICIENCY ACT

                                _______
                                

 February 28, 2014.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 2095]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 2095) to prohibit an increase in the lands 
administered by the Bureau of Land Management until a 
centralized database of all lands identified as suitable for 
disposal by Resource Management Plans for lands under the 
administrative jurisdiction of the Bureau is easily accessible 
to the public on a website of the Bureau, 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 all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. PROHIBITION ON ACQUISITION OF LAND.

  (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Land Disposal 
Transparency and Efficiency Act''.
  (b) Prohibition on Acquisition of Land.--No land or interests in land 
may be added by acquisition, donation, transfer of administrative 
jurisdiction, or otherwise to the inventory of land and interests in 
land administered by the Bureau of Land Management until a centralized 
database of all lands identified as suitable for disposal by Resource 
Management Plans for lands under the administrative jurisdiction of the 
Bureau is easily accessible to the public on a website of the Bureau. 
The database required under this subsection shall be updated and 
maintained to reflect changes in the status of lands identified for 
disposal under the administrative jurisdiction of the Bureau.
  (c) Report.--Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment 
of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall provide to the 
Committee on Natural Resources in the House of Representatives and the 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in the Senate a report 
detailing the status and timing for completion of the database required 
by subsection (b).

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 2095 is to prohibit an increase in the 
lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management until a 
centralized database of all lands identified as suitable for 
disposal by Resource Management Plans for lands under the 
administrative jurisdiction of the Bureau is easily accessible 
to the public on a website of the Bureau.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Section 203 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
of 1976 (FLPMA) allows for the sale of public lands identified 
through the inventory and land use and planning process and 
found in one of the 157 various resource management plans 
(RMP). Puzzlingly, any BLM lands identified for disposal are 
typically only made available to the public in the 
corresponding RMP found only at the local BLM office.
    While the BLM and other federal land management agencies 
regularly emphasize a desire for land acquisition and the 
importance of land acquisition programs like the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund, there remains a clear imbalance and 
inadequate focus on the disposal of federal lands identified 
for disposal. Freezing BLM's land acquisitions until the public 
can easily access lands identified for disposal will be a small 
step toward restoring the balance and promote federal land 
sales.
    H.R. 2095 will prohibit an increase in the lands 
administered by the Bureau of Land Management until such time 
as a centralized database of all lands identified as suitable 
for disposal by RMPs is easily accessible to the public on a 
website of the Bureau. During Committee consideration of H.R. 
2095, the Committee adopted an amendment that would ensure the 
database is kept current and to require a report, within 90 
days, detailing the status and timing for completion of the 
database.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 2095 was introduced on May 22, 2013, by Congressman 
Rob Bishop (R-UT). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee 
on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation. On July 19, 2013, 
the Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On January 28, 
2014, the Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. 
The Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation 
was discharged by unanimous consent. Congressman Rob Bishop (R-
UT) offered an amendment designated .040 to the bill; the 
amendment was adopted by voice vote. The bill as amended was 
then adopted and ordered favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives by a roll call vote of 24 to 17, as follows:
<GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT>

            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 Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) 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)(2)(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. 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:

H.R. 2095--Land Disposal Transparency and Efficiency Act

    H.R. 2095 would prohibit the Bureau of Land Management 
(BLM) from acquiring new lands until the agency develops a 
public database of all BLM lands that have been identified for 
disposal. Based on information provided by the agency, CBO 
expects that BLM would need less than a year to construct the 
database, and we expect that the agency would defer the 
purchase of some lands during that period. Because enacting the 
legislation would affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go 
procedures apply; however, we estimate that the net impact on 
direct spending would be negligible. Enacting H.R. 2095 would 
not affect revenues.
    Under current law, BLM has the authority to spend receipts 
from the sale of federal lands in southern Nevada to purchase 
environmentally sensitive lands. Because CBO expects that the 
bill would require BLM to defer the purchase of lands using 
those funds, we estimate that enacting the bill would reduce 
direct spending by about $7 million in 2015 and increase direct 
spending by that amount in 2016. Overall, we estimate that 
enacting H.R. 2095 would have no net impact on direct spending.
    H.R. 2095 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    On February 6, 2014, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for 
H.R. 2954, the Public Access and Lands Improvement Act, as 
posted to the website of the House Committee on Rules on 
January 30, 2014 (Committee Print 113-35). Title IV of H.R. 
2954 and H.R. 2095 contain similar provisions, and the 
estimated costs are the same.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. the 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. Section 308(a) of 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, spending authority, credit authority, or an increase 
or decrease in revenues or tax expenditures. CBO expects that 
BLM would need less than a year to construct the database, and 
they expect that the agency would defer the purchase of some 
lands during that period. CBO estimates that the net impact on 
direct spending would be negligible and enacting H.R. 2095 
would not affect revenues.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to prohibit an increase in the lands 
administered by the Bureau of Land Management until a 
centralized database of all lands identified as suitable for 
disposal by Resource Management Plans for lands under the 
administrative jurisdiction of the Bureau is easily accessible 
to the public on a website of the Bureau.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       COMPLIANCE WITH H. RES. 5

    Directed Rule Making. The Chairman does not believe that 
this bill directs any executive branch official to conduct any 
specific rule-making proceedings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                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.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    H.R. 2095 will tie the hands of the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM) from doing their job by creating an unneeded 
bureaucratic process to ultimately lead to a massive land 
disposal. This bill is duplicative and unnecessary as there is 
already an established process for BLM land disposal. 
Republicans have claimed that the BLM does not have accurate 
inventory of public land which is not the case. Land managers 
know what they are managing and have the tools to dispose of 
parcels they deem fit for disposal. Furthermore, the bill 
requires that BLM create a centralized database of all lands 
fit for disposal that is accessible to the public. However, the 
BLM would be barred from all land acquisitions until such a 
database is established.
    During the legislative hearing, BLM testified that they 
could support some aspects of the bill such as providing access 
to a centralized database of all lands suitable for disposal, 
however they would like to see flexibility to use their 
existing land disposal process, and strongly oppose the land 
acquisition ban. Such a ban would preclude the benefits that 
such land acquisitions would bring to improve manageability and 
recreational access.
    Currently, the BLM is allowed to identify lands as 
potentially available for disposal if lands consisting of 
scattered, isolated tracts that are difficult or uneconomic to 
manage or lands that were acquired for a specific purpose and 
are no longer needed for that purpose. Also, lands that could 
serve important public objectives, such as community expansion 
and economic development, that outweigh other public objectives 
and values that could be served by retaining the land in 
Federal ownership. BLM uses a public process developed and 
implemented locally through individual Resource Management 
Plans (RMPs). Among the decisions made during that land use 
planning process is the identification of lands that are to be 
retained and those that may be available for disposal under the 
criteria listed above.
    H.R. 2095 is another bad policy proposal, and we oppose 
H.R. 2095, as written.
                                   Peter A. DeFazio,
                                           Ranking Member, Committee on 
                                               Natural Resources.
                                   Raul M. Grijalva,
                                           Ranking Member, Subcommittee 
                                               on Public Lands and 
                                               Environmental 
                                               Regulation.