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114th Congress   }                                    {   Rept. 114-140
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session     }                                    {          Part 1

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



 
        NATIONAL FOREST SMALL TRACTS ACT AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2015

                                _______
                                

  June 8, 2015.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1214]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 1214) to amend the Small Tracts Act to expand 
the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture to sell or 
exchange small parcels of National Forest System land to 
enhance the management of the National Forest System, to 
resolve minor encroachments, and for other purposes, 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. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``National Forest Small Tracts Act 
Amendments Act of 2015''.

SEC. 2. ADDITIONAL AUTHORITY FOR SALE OR EXCHANGE OF SMALL PARCELS OF 
                    NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM LAND.

  (a) Increase in Maximum Value of Small Parcels.--Section 3 of Public 
Law 97-465 (commonly known as the Small Tracts Act; 16 U.S.C. 521e) is 
amended in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by striking ``$150,000'' 
and inserting ``$500,000''.
  (b) Additional Conveyance Purposes.--Section 3 of Public Law 97-465 
(16 U.S.C. 521e) is further amended--
          (1) by striking ``; or'' at the end of paragraph (2) and 
        inserting a semicolon;
          (2) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (3) and 
        inserting a semicolon; and
          (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
          ``(4) parcels of 40 acres or less which are determined by the 
        Secretary to be physically isolated, to be inaccessible, or to 
        have lost their National Forest character;
          ``(5) parcels of 10 acres or less which are not eligible for 
        conveyance under paragraph (2), but which are encroached upon 
        by permanent habitable improvements for which there is no 
        evidence that the encroachment was intentional or negligent; or
          ``(6) parcels used as a cemetery, a landfill, or a sewage 
        treatment plant under a special use authorization issued by the 
        Secretary.''.
  (c) Disposition of Proceeds.--Section 2 of Public Law 97-465 (16 
U.S.C. 521d) is amended--
          (1) by striking ``The Secretary is authorized'' and inserting 
        the following:
  ``(a) Conveyance Authority; Consideration.--The Secretary is 
authorized'';
          (2) by striking ``The Secretary shall insert'' and inserting 
        the following:
  ``(b) Inclusion of Terms, Covenants, Conditions, and Reservations.--
The Secretary shall insert'';
          (3) by striking ``convenants'' and inserting ``covenants''; 
        and
          (4) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
  ``(c) Disposition of Proceeds.--
          ``(1) Deposit in sisk fund.--The net proceeds derived from 
        any sale or exchange conducted under the authority of paragraph 
        (4), (5), or (6) of section 3 shall be deposited in the fund 
        established by Public Law 90-171 (commonly known as the Sisk 
        Act; 16 U.S.C. 484a).
          ``(2) Use.--Amounts deposited under paragraph (1) shall be 
        available to the Secretary until expended, for--
                  ``(A) the acquisition of land or interests in land 
                for administrative sites for the National Forest System 
                in the State from which the amounts were derived;
                  ``(B) the acquisition of land or interests in land 
                for inclusion in the National Forest System in that 
                State, including land or interests in land which 
                enhance opportunities for recreational access;
                  ``(C) the performance of deferred maintenance on 
                administrative sites for the National Forest System in 
                that State or other deferred maintenance activities in 
                that State which enhance opportunities for recreational 
                access; or
                  ``(D) the reimbursement of the Secretary for costs 
                incurred in preparing a sale conducted under the 
                authority of section 3 if the sale is a competitive 
                sale.''.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 1214 is to amend the Small Tracts Act 
to expand the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture to sell 
or exchange small parcels of National Forest System land to 
enhance the management of the National Forest System.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    H.R. 1214 would amend the Small Tracts Act (Public Law 97-
465) to allow for the sale of small isolated parcels as well as 
parcels encumbered with certain special uses such as 
cemeteries. Proceeds from the sale of National Forest System 
lands would be deposited in a Sisk Act account and may be used 
for acquisition of lands for administrative sites or 
recreational access, to address deferred maintenance for 
administrative sites or recreational access or to reimburse the 
agency for administrative costs for preparing the sales.
    H.R. 1214 would allow the Forest Service to more 
efficiently resolve land ownership challenges that exist on 
virtually every Ranger District. The benefits of expanded small 
parcel conveyance authority include the ability to: (1) sell 
parcels under 40 acres that are isolated, inaccessible, and are 
difficult to administer; (2) convey small parcels currently 
authorized under special use permits of a long-term nature with 
accompanying potential liability issues, like cemeteries, 
landfills, and sewage treatment facilities; (3) reduce efforts 
spent addressing individual legislative proposals needed to 
address these issues; (4) resolve certain encroachments of 
permanent, habitable structures which cannot readily be 
resolved under existing authorities; and (5) retain sale 
proceeds which can be used for deferred maintenance for 
recreational access and administrative sites, to acquire lands 
for recreational access or administrative sites, or to 
reimburse for administrative costs of preparing competitive 
sales (acquisitions would be proponent funded for non-
competitive sales).

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 1214 was introduced on March 3, 2015, by Congressman 
Mark E. Amodei (R-NV). The bill was referred to the Committee 
on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Federal Lands. The bill was also additionally 
referred to the Committee on Agriculture. On April 29, 2015, 
the Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The 
Subcommittee on Federal Lands was discharged by unanimous 
consent. No amendments were offered and the bill was ordered 
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by unanimous 
consent on April 30, 2015.

            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. 1214--National Forest Small Tracts Act Amendments Act of 2015

    H.R. 1214 would increase the amount of land the Forest 
Service could sell or exchange under the Small Tracts Act. 
Based on information provided by the agency, CBO estimates that 
enacting the legislation would increase offsetting receipts, 
which are treated as reductions in direct spending, by about $1 
million over the 2016-2025 period. Therefore, pay-as-you-go 
procedures apply. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.
    Under the Small Tracts Act, the Forest Service is 
authorized to sell or exchange parcels of land meeting certain 
criteria specified in the law. Over the 2010-2014 period, the 
agency received proceeds from the sale of lands under that act 
totaling about $250,000. H.R. 1214 would increase the cap on 
the value of lands eligible to be sold under the act from 
$150,000 to $500,000. The bill also would allow the agency to 
use the Small Tracts Act to dispose of certain other types of 
properties, including cemeteries, landfills, and sewage 
treatment plants.
    Based on information provided by the Forest Service, CBO 
estimates that enacting the bill would increase offsetting 
receipts by less than $150,000 a year, on average, over the 
2016-2025 period. CBO expects that allowing the agency to 
dispose of more valuable lands would have a small effect on 
offsetting receipts because there are few parcels eligible for 
disposal under the Small Tracts Act that would be valued above 
the current $150,000 cap. CBO also expects that allowing the 
Forest Service to dispose of cemeteries, landfills, and sewage 
treatment plants would have a minimal effect on offsetting 
receipts because those types of properties generally have low 
market values.
    H.R. 1214 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    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. The Congressional 
Budget Office estimates that enacting the bill would increase 
offsetting receipts by about $1 million over 2016-2025.
    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 amend the Small Tracts Act to 
expand the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture to sell or 
exchange small parcels of National Forest System land to 
enhance the management of the National Forest System.

                           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 Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

                           PUBLIC LAW 97-465


  AN ACT To authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to convey certain 
National Forest System lands, and for other purposes.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


  Sec. 2. [The Secretary is authorized] (a)  Conveyance 
Authority; Consideration._The Secretary is authorized, when the 
Secretary determine it to be in the public interest--
          (1) to sell, exchange, or interchange by quitclaim 
        deed, all right, title, and interest, including the 
        mineral estate, of the United States in and to National 
        Forest System lands described in section 3; and
          (2) to accept as consideration for the lands sold, 
        exchanged, or interchanged other lands, interests in 
        lands, or cash payment, or any combination of such 
        forms of consideration, which, in the case of 
        conveyance by sale or exchange, is at least equal in 
        value, including the mineral estate, or, in the case of 
        conveyance by interchange, is of approximately equal 
        value, including the mineral estate, to the lands being 
        conveyed by the Secretary. [The Secretary shall insert]
  (b) Inclusion of Terms, Covenants, Conditions, and 
Reservations.-- The Secretary shall insert in any such 
quitclaim deed such terms, [convenants] covenants, conditions, 
and reservations as the Secretary deems necessary to ensure 
protection of the public interest, including protection of the 
scenic, wildlife, and recreation values of the National Forest 
System and provision for appropriate public access to and use 
of lands within the System. The preceding sentence shall not be 
applicable to deeds issued by the Secretary to lands outside 
the boundary of units of the National Forest System.
  (c) Disposition of Proceeds.--
          (1) Deposit in sisk fund.--The net proceeds derived 
        from any sale or exchange conducted under the authority 
        of paragraph (4), (5), or (6) of section 3 shall be 
        deposited in the fund established by Public Law 90-171 
        (commonly known as the Sisk Act; 16 U.S.C. 484a).
          (2) Use.--Amounts deposited under paragraph (1) shall 
        be available to the Secretary until expended, for--
                  (A) the acquisition of land or interests in 
                land for administrative sites for the National 
                Forest System in the State from which the 
                amounts were derived;
                  (B) the acquisition of land or interests in 
                land for inclusion in the National Forest 
                System in that State, including land or 
                interests in land which enhance opportunities 
                for recreational access;
                  (C) the performance of deferred maintenance 
                on administrative sites for the National Forest 
                System in that State or other deferred 
                maintenance activities in that State which 
                enhance opportunities for recreational access; 
                or
                  (D) the reimbursement of the Secretary for 
                costs incurred in preparing a sale conducted 
                under the authority of section 3 if the sale is 
                a competitive sale.
  Sec. 3. The National Forest System lands which may be sold, 
exchanged, or interchanged under this Act are those the sale or 
exchange of which is not practicable under any other authority 
of the Secretary, which have a value as determined by the 
Secretary of not more than [$150,000] $500,000, and which are--
          (1) parcels of forty acres or less which are 
        interspersed with or adjacent to lands which have been 
        transferred out of Federal ownership under the mining 
        laws and which are determined by the Secretary, because 
        of location or size, not to be subject to efficient 
        administration;
          (2) parcels of ten acres or less which are encroached 
        upon by improvements occupied or used under claim or 
        color of title by persons to whom no advance notice was 
        given that the improvements encroached or would 
        encroach upon such parcels, and who in good faith 
        relied upon an erroneous survey, title search, or other 
        land description indicating that there was not such 
        encroachment[; or];
          (3) road rights-of-way, reserved or acquired, which 
        are substantially surrounded by lands not owned by the 
        United States and which are no longer needed by the 
        United States, subject to the first right of abutting 
        landowners to acquire such rights-of-way[.];
          (4) parcels of 40 acres or less which are determined 
        by the Secretary to be physically isolated, to be 
        inaccessible, or to have lost their National Forest 
        character;
          (5) parcels of 10 acres or less which are not 
        eligible for conveyance under paragraph (2), but which 
        are encroached upon by permanent habitable improvements 
        for which there is no evidence that the encroachment 
        was intentional or negligent; or
          (6) parcels used as a cemetery, a landfill, or a 
        sewage treatment plant under a special use 
        authorization issued by the Secretary.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

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