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115th Congress   }                                  {   Rept. 115-1086
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session      }                                  {           Part 1

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



 
                  PUBLIC LANDS TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT

                                _______
                                

               December 20, 2018.--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. 2425]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 2425) to support the establishment and 
improvement of communications sites on or adjacent to Federal 
lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior 
or the Secretary of Agriculture through the retention and use 
of rental fees associated with such sites, 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 ``Public Lands Telecommunications Act''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) Communications site.--The term ``communications site'' 
        means an area of Federal lands available for communications 
        use.
          (2) Communications use.--The term ``communications use'' 
        means the placement or operation of infrastructure for wireline 
        or wireless telecommunications, including cable television, 
        television, and radio communications, regardless of whether 
        such placement or operation is pursuant to a license issued by 
        the Federal Communications Commission or on an unlicensed basis 
        in accordance with the regulations of the Commission. The term 
        includes any ancillary activities, uses, or facilities directly 
        related to such placement or operation.
          (3) Communications use authorization.--The term 
        ``communications use authorization'' means a right-of-way, 
        permit, or lease granted, issued, or executed by a Federal land 
        management agency for the primary purpose of authorizing the 
        occupancy and use of Federal lands for communications use.
          (4) Federal land management agency.--The term ``Federal land 
        management agency'' means the National Park Service, the United 
        States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land 
        Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Forest Service.
          (5) Federal lands.--The term ``Federal lands'' means lands 
        under the jurisdiction and management of a Federal land 
        management agency.
          (6) Rental fee.--The term ``rental fee'' means any fee 
        collected by a Federal land management agency related to the 
        occupancy and use authorized by a communications use 
        authorization pursuant to and consistent with authorizing law.

SEC. 3. COLLECTION AND RETENTION OF RENTAL FEES ASSOCIATED WITH 
                    COMMUNICATIONS USE AUTHORIZATIONS ON FEDERAL LANDS 
                    AND FEDERAL LAND MANAGEMENT AGENCY SUPPORT FOR 
                    COMMUNICATION SITE PROGRAMS.

  (a) Special Account Required.--The Secretary of the Treasury shall 
establish a special account in the Treasury for each Federal land 
management agency for the deposit of rental fees received by a Federal 
land management agency for communications use authorizations on Federal 
lands granted, issued, or executed by the Federal land management 
agency.
  (b) Competitively Neutral.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
law, any rental fees collected pursuant to this Act shall be imposed on 
a competitively neutral, technology-neutral, and nondiscriminatory 
basis with respect to other uses of the communication site.
  (c) Deposit and Retention of Rental Fees.--Rental fees received by a 
Federal land management agency shall--
          (1) be deposited in the special account established for that 
        Federal land management agency; and
          (2) remain available for expenditure under subsection (d), to 
        the extent and in such amounts as are provided in advance in 
        appropriation Acts.
  (d) Expenditure of Retained Fees.--Amounts deposited in the special 
account for a Federal land management agency shall be used for Federal 
land management agency activities related to communications sites, 
including the following:
          (1) Administering communications use authorizations, 
        including cooperative agreements under section 4.
          (2) Preparing needs assessments or other programmatic 
        analyses necessary to establish communications sites and 
        authorize communications uses on or adjacent to Federal lands.
          (3) Developing management plans for communications sites on 
        or adjacent to Federal lands on a competitively neutral, 
        technology-neutral, nondiscriminatory basis.
          (4) Training for management of communications sites on or 
        adjacent to Federal lands.
          (5) Obtaining, improving access to, or establishing 
        communications sites on or adjacent to Federal lands.
  (e) No Effect on Other Fee Retention Authorities.--This Act shall not 
limit or otherwise affect fee retention by a Federal land management 
agency under any other authority.

SEC. 4. COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT AUTHORITY.

  (a) Department of the Interior.--The Secretary of the Interior may 
enter into cooperative agreements to carry out the activities described 
in section 3(d).
  (b) Forest Service.--The Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the 
Chief of the Forest Service, may enter into cooperative agreements to 
carry out the activities described in section 3(d).

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 2425 is to support the establishment 
and improvement of communications sites on or adjacent to 
federal lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the 
Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture through the retention 
and use of rental fees associated with such sites.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    H.R. 2425, the Public Lands Telecommunications Act, seeks 
to expand the development of telecommunications infrastructure 
on and near federal lands, with the underlying goal of 
expanding the availability of broadband connectivity to rural 
areas. The bill is modelled after a successful law providing 
fee retention authority to federal land managers, with the idea 
being that rental fees collected from service providers and 
retained by the agency are reinvested to expand broadband and 
telecommunications deployment.
    High speed broadband in the United States is crucial for 
economic development, public safety and quality of life. 
Federal programs have been established to incentivize and 
subsidize broadband infrastructure investment in unserved and 
underserved rural areas. The Connect America Fund at the 
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) subsidizes the 
operation of both fixed and mobile broadband networks in rural 
areas. In addition, Rural Utilities Service programs at the 
Department of Agriculture provide loans and grants to private 
and public entities seeking to deploy broadband networks in 
rural areas.
    According to the FCC's 2016 Broadband Progress Report, both 
rural and tribal communities lag significantly behind urban 
areas in terms of access to fixed, advanced broadband networks. 
The report notes that more than 39 percent of Americans living 
in rural areas lack access to fixed broadband, as compared to 
just 4 percent of those living in urban areas. Similarly, 41 
percent of Americans living on tribal lands lack access to 
advanced broadband.\1\ Of the approximately 34 million 
Americans who lack access to advanced broadband, nearly 25 
million live in rural areas or on tribal lands. Additionally, 
of those Americans living in rural areas who do have access to 
advanced telecommunications, only 13 percent have access to 
more than one provider.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Federal Communications Commission, ``2016 Broadband Progress 
Report'', page 34. Accessed June 19, 2017 http://apps.fcc.gov/
edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-16-6A1.pdf.
    \2\Id., page 38.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    When advanced broadband access is compared to demographics, 
the portion of the population without access, on average, is 
highest in counties with the lowest median household income, 
the lowest population density, the highest rural population 
rate and the highest poverty rate.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Id., page 42.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to the connectivity needs of rural and tribal 
areas, federal land management agencies increasingly recognize 
that improving communications infrastructure on public lands is 
essential to their mission in the 21st century. Connectivity 
can improve visitor access, experience, and safety, as well as 
aid in efficient land management.
    According to the Bureau of Land Management, ``A wide range 
of communications facilities and related technologies (e.g., 
radio, television, cellular, microwave, etc.) may be located on 
public land.''\4\ Each federal land management agency has a 
complex set of statutory authorities, regulations, and internal 
policies that govern the siting and monitoring of 
telecommunications sites under the agency's jurisdiction. For 
example, under 54 U.S.C. 100902, the National Park Service 
(NPS) can issue permits for rights-of-way for 
telecommunications facilities on NPS lands. NPS' permitting 
procedures are guided by regulations at 36 C.F.R. Part 14, and 
policy guidance is found in NPS Management Policies 2006, 
Section 86.4.3. Additionally, NPS Director's Order #53 and its 
accompanying Reference Manual #53 give further policy direction 
on utility rights-of-way.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Bureau of Land Management, ``Lands and Realty, Communications 
Sites''. Accessed June 19, 2017. https://www.blm.gov/programs/lands-
and-realty/right-of-way/communications-sites.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The federal land management agencies collect both cost 
reimbursements and rental fees for telecommunications siting. 
While the agencies are authorized to retain the cost 
reimbursements to cover costs of administering the use 
authorizations, the rental fees themselves go into the general 
treasury. In some cases, agencies have reported that the lack 
of rental fee retention authority is a disincentive to 
collecting the fees.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\National Park Service, ``RM-53 Reference Manual Special Park 
Uses'', page A5-8. Accessed June 19, 2017. http://www.nps.gov/policy/
dorders/rm53.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 2425 directs the Department of the Treasury to 
establish special accounts for the NPS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and 
the U.S. Forest Service for the deposit of rental fees received 
by the agencies for communications use authorizations on 
federal lands. These fees are to remain available for 
expenditure, as provided in advance in appropriations acts, for 
agency activities related to communications sites. The bill 
also authorizes the Department of the Interior and the 
Department of Agriculture to enter into cooperative agreements 
to carry out activities related to communications sites.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 2425 was introduced on May 16, 2017, by Congressman 
Jared Huffman (D-CA). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and additionally to the Committee on 
Agriculture. Within the Natural Resources Committee, the bill 
was referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands. On May 23, 
2017, the Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On June 27, 
2017, the Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. 
The Subcommittee was discharged by unanimous consent. 
Congressman Huffman offered an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute designated 050. Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT) 
offered an amendment designated 017 to the amendment. It was 
adopted by unanimous consent. No further amendments to the 
amendment in the nature of a substitute were offered, and the 
amendment in the nature of a substitute, as amended, was 
adopted by unanimous consent. The bill, as amended, was 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 Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

      COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII AND CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT

    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, August 16, 2017.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2425, the Public 
Lands Telecommunications Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jeff LaFave.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 2425--Public Lands Telecommunications Act

    Summary: H.R. 2425 would make most fees collected by the 
federal government from firms with communications equipment on 
federal lands available to be spent, subject to appropriation, 
by federal land management agencies (Bureau of Land Management, 
Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, and Bureau of Reclamation). Those agencies could use 
those amounts to carry out certain administrative activities.
    Assuming appropriation of the amounts expected to be 
available under the bill, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 
2425 would cost $104 million over the 2018-2022 period. 
Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or revenues; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting the bill would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 2425 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 2425 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             2017      2018      2019      2020      2021      2022    2017-2022
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Estimated Authorization Level............         0        21        21        22        22        23        109
Estimated Outlays........................         0        16        21        22        22        23        104
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R. 
2425 will be enacted near the end of fiscal year 2017 and that 
the amounts estimated to be available under the bill would be 
appropriated each year. Estimated outlays are based on 
historical spending patterns for similar activities.
    Under H.R. 2425, any amounts collected by the federal 
government from firms with communication sites located on 
federal lands, excluding amounts that can be spent under 
current law, would be available to cover the costs of planning 
and managing communications sites. In 2016, the federal land 
management agencies collected fees totaling $21 million. Of 
those amounts, about $1 million was spent using existing 
authorities. The remaining $20 million was deposited in the 
Treasury. Because CBO expects that similar amounts (adjusted 
for inflation) would be collected annually over the next five 
years, CBO estimates that a total of $109 million would be 
available to be appropriated under the bill over the 2018-2022 
period. Assuming appropriation of those amounts, CBO estimates 
that implementing H.R. 2425 would cost $104 million over that 
period.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: None.
    Increase in long-term direct spending and deficits: CBO 
estimates that enacting H.R. 2425 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 2425 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would benefit state, local, and tribal 
governments by supporting the development of telecommunications 
infrastructure on or near federal lands. Any costs incurred by 
public entities under cooperative agreements with federal 
agencies would result from voluntary commitments.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Jeff LaFave; Impact on 
state, local, and tribal governments: Jon Sperl; Impact on the 
private sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate approved by: H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. 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 support the establishment and 
improvement of communications sites on or adjacent to Federal 
lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior 
or the Secretary of Agriculture through the retention and use 
of rental fees associated with such sites.

                           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. This bill does not contain any 
directed rule makings.
    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 to existing 
law.

                                  [all]