Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?

114th Congress    }                                     {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                     {      114-769




 September 20, 2016.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed


Mr. Conaway, from the Committee on Agriculture, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 470]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Agriculture, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 470) to authorize the sale of certain National Forest 
System land in the State of Georgia, having considered the 
same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend 
that the bill do pass.

                           BRIEF EXPLANATION

    The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land Adjustment 
Act, H.R. 470, authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to sell 
or exchange any or all interest of the United States in 30 
tracts of National Forest System land in Georgia totaling 
approximately 3,841 acres.


    Currently, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) owns numerous 
tracts of land in Georgia that exist as small isolated parcels, 
disconnected from the core lands of the Chattahoochee-Oconee 
National Forest. Intervening growth and development hinders 
efforts to bridge gaps between the core National Forest and 
outlying lands and, thus, is the primary reason that many of 
these tracts no longer warrant Federal ownership. The Committee 
believes managing these tracts for public benefit and use is a 
waste of taxpayer money.
    At the same time, the USFS has identified critical 
inholdings, edge-holdings, and connections that if added to 
National Forest lands, would streamline land management, better 
protect flora and fauna, and add value to the National Forest 
as a recreational asset.
    H.R. 470, the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land 
Adjustment Act of 2015, will allow the sale of these isolated 
parcels (30 in total; 3,841 acres; as identified as desired 
disposal by the USFS). The proceeds from the sale of these 
parcels will go into a Federal account that the USFS may use 
only to buy critical inholdings from willing sellers. The funds 
could only be spent inside the existing USFS proclamation 
boundary in Georgia.
    Georgia's lone National Forest is a huge economic 
generator. Opportunities for hunting, fishing and hiking will 
improve with the consolidation of Federal lands. H.R. 470 is a 
pragmatic way to make the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest 
a better place to recreate.


Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 of the bill designates the title of the bill as 
the ``Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land Adjustment Act 
of 2015.''

Section 2. Findings and definitions

    Section 2 of the bill provides Congressional findings 
related to the public interest of disposing of certain tracts 
of land in the National Forest System. The section further 
defines the term ``Secretary'' as the Secretary of Agriculture.

Section 3. Land conveyance authority

    Subsection (a) of section 3 gives the Secretary general 
authority to sell or exchange rights, title, and interest of 
the United States in certain National Forest System lands.
    Subsection (b) identifies such land as 30 tracts, totaling 
approximately 3,841 acres, in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National 
Forest. The subsection further requires maps of such lands to 
be on file and available for public inspection. Finally, the 
subsection allows the Secretary to modify boundaries for the 
purpose of land management considerations.
    Subsection (c) requires the Secretary to sell the land by 
quitclaim deed and allows for the reservation of rights-of-way 
and other rights necessary for protecting the public interest.
    Subsection (d) requires that the land be sold for no less 
than market value, as determined by either appraisal or 
competitive bid.
    Subsection (e) requires cash consideration for the sale or 
a cash equalization payment in excess of 25% of the value of 
land in an exchange.
    Subsection (f) establishes method of sale options and 
allows for solicitations for sale or exchange of land.
    Subsection (g) allows the use of brokers or third parties, 
including the payment of any reasonable commission or fee.

Section 4. Treatment of proceeds

    Subsection (a) of section 4 directs that upon the sale of 
the land, any proceeds be deposited into the Sisk Act fund.
    Subsection (b) requires that the Secretary may only use 
such proceeds to purchase other tracts of land within the State 
of Georgia.

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

I. Hearings

    No hearings were held by the Committee on the 
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land Adjustment Act of 

II. Full Committee

    The Committee on Agriculture met, pursuant to notice, with 
a quorum present, on September 14, 2016, to consider H.R. 470, 
the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land Adjustment Act of 
    Chairman Conaway asked unanimous consent that the 
Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry be discharged from 
further consideration of H.R. 470, and without objection, it 
was so ordered. H.R. 470 was then placed before the Committee 
for consideration. Without objection, a first reading of the 
bill was waived and it was open to amendment at any point.
    Chairman Conaway, Mr. Peterson, and Mr. Allen were 
recognized for statements. There being no amendments, Mr. 
Peterson was recognized to offer a motion that the bill H.R. 
470 be reported favorably to the House with recommendation that 
it do pass. The motion was subsequently approved by voice vote.
    At the conclusion of the meeting, Chairman Conaway advised 
Members that, pursuant to the rules of the House of 
Representatives, Members had until September 16, 2016 to file 
any supplemental, minority, additional, or dissenting views 
with the Committee. Without objection, staff was given 
permission to make any necessary clerical, technical or 
conforming changes to reflect the intent of the Committee. 
Chairman Conaway thanked all the Members and adjourned the 

                            COMMITTEE VOTES

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the House of 
Representatives, H.R. 470 was reported by voice vote with a 
majority quorum present. There was no request for a recorded 


    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee on Agriculture's 
oversight findings and recommendations are reflected in the 
body of this report.

           BUDGET ACT COMPLIANCE (SECTIONS 308, 402, AND 423)

    The provisions of clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 308(a)(1) of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (relating to estimates of new 
budget authority, new spending authority, new credit authority, 
or increased or decreased revenues or tax expenditures) are not 
considered applicable. The estimate and comparison required to 
be prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
under clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and sections 402 and 423 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974 submitted to the Committee prior to the 
filing of this report are as follows:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 16, 2016.
Hon. K. Michael Conaway,
Chairman, Committee on Agriculture,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 470, the 
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land Adjustment Act of 
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jeff LaFave.
                                                        Keith Hall.

H.R. 470--Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land Adjustment Act of 

    H.R. 470 would authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to 
convey, through sale or land exchange, roughly 3,800 acres of 
National Forest System land in Georgia.
    Enacting H.R. 470 would increase offsetting receipts, which 
are treated as reductions in direct spending, from proceeds 
generated by the sale of the affected lands and associated 
direct spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. 
However, CBO estimates that any net effect on direct spending 
would be negligible. Enacting the bill would not affect 
    CBO expects that the Forest Service would seek to sell the 
affected lands rather than exchange them for nonfederal forest 
lands. Based on an analysis of real estate listings for 
comparable land in northern Georgia, CBO estimates that the 
affected lands could be sold for an average of about $5,000 per 
acre; the receipts from the sale of all 3,800 acres would total 
about $20 million However, because the bill would authorize the 
Forest Service to retain and spend any proceeds from such 
sales, the net effect on the federal budget over the 2017-2026 
period would be negligible.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 470 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
    H.R. 470 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 H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.


    H.R. 470 does not authorize funding, therefore clause 
3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable.

                        COMMITTEE COST ESTIMATE

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee report incorporates the 
cost estimate prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to sections 402 and 423 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.


    No advisory committee within the meaning of section 5(b) of 
the Federal Advisory Committee Act was created by this 


    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act (Public Law 

                       FEDERAL MANDATES STATEMENT

    The Committee adopted as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act (Public Law 104-4).

                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

    H.R. 470 does not contain any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives.


    This bill does not establish or reauthorize a program of 
the Federal Government known to be duplicative of another 
Federal program, a program that was included in any report from 
the Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to 
section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a 
program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance.


    The Committee does not believe that the legislation directs 
an executive branch official to conduct any specific rule 
making proceedings within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 551.