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                                                     Calendar No. 692
115th Congress        }                       {               Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session           }                       {               115-417

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



 
                CROOKED RIVER RANCH FIRE PROTECTION ACT

                                _______
                                

                December 5, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Ms. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2075]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (H.R. 2075) to adjust the eastern boundary of 
the Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls and Deschutes Canyon 
Wilderness Study Areas in the State of Oregon to facilitate 
fire prevention and response activities to protect private 
property, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute and an amendment to the title and recommends that 
the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendments are as follows:
    1. Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection 
Act''.

SEC. 2. BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENT, DESCHUTES CANYON-STEELHEAD FALLS 
                    WILDERNESS STUDY AREA BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENT, OREGON.

    (a) Boundary Adjustment.--The boundary of the Deschutes Canyon-
Steelhead Falls Wilderness Study Area is modified to exclude 
approximately 688 acres of public land, as depicted on the map entitled 
``Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls Wilderness Study Area (WSA) Proposed 
Boundary Adjustment'' and dated September 26, 2018.
    (b) Effect of Exclusion.--
          (1) In general.--The public land excluded from the Deschutes 
        Canyon-Steelhead Falls Wilderness Study Area under subsection 
        (a)--
                  (A) is no longer subject to section 603(c) of the 
                Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 
                U.S.C. 1782(c)); and
                  (B) shall be managed in accordance with--
                          (i) this section;
                          (ii) the Federal Land Policy and Management 
                        Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.); and
                          (iii) any applicable resource management 
                        plan.
          (2) Management.--The Secretary of the Interior shall manage 
        the land excluded from the Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls 
        Wilderness Study Area under subsection (a) to improve fire 
        resiliency and forest health, including the conduct of wildfire 
        prevention and response activities, as appropriate.
          (3) Off-road recreational motorized use.--The Secretary of 
        the Interior shall not permit off-road recreational motorized 
        use on the public land excluded from the Deschutes Canyon-
        Steelhead Falls Wilderness Study Area under subsection (a).
          * * * * * * *
    2. Amend the title so as to read: ``An Act to adjust the 
eastern boundary of the Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls 
Wilderness Study Area in the State of Oregon, and for other 
purposes.''.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of H.R. 2075 is to adjust the eastern boundary 
of the Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls and Deschutes Canyon 
Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) in the State of Oregon.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The Steelhead Falls-Deschutes Canyon WSA is comprised of 
two subunits, which are separated by about 40 acres of U.S. 
Forest Service (Forest Service) and private lands--about 10,230 
acres of Forest Service-managed lands (primarily the Crooked 
River National Grassland) and 3,240 acres of Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM) land. The Steelhead Falls area was part of the 
1978 wilderness inventory, while the Deschutes Canyon area was 
added to the WSA in 1982.
    The total planning area also includes 40 acres of Oregon 
State lands and 4,891 acres of private lands and is about 10 
miles long, with the Crooked River Ranch community abutting 
nearly its entire eastern boundary. The remainder of the WSA is 
bordered by Oregon's Cove Palisades State Park and Lake Bill 
Chinook to the north and private rural and agricultural lands 
to the south and west.
    The Crooked River Ranch is a roughly 16.4 square mile 
subdivision located in Jefferson County, Oregon. With a 
population of over 5,000, it contains more than 2,600 homes and 
has some light industrial, recreation, and commercial 
development. Juniper, sagebrush, cheat grass, and bunch grass 
are the predominate vegetation and the area is at high to 
extreme risk of wildfire. The community's location between the 
Crooked River and the Deschutes River canyons only provides one 
route in and out of the area, increasing the risk to residents 
and visitors in the event of a wildfire.
    Approximately 250 private parcels within Crooked River 
Ranch directly border a narrow swath of the WSA leading up to a 
canyon wall. This flat land between the private lots and canyon 
wall is overstocked with juniper trees, which are extremely 
flammable and often lead to high-intensity fires and fire 
behavior that is extremely unpredictable for firefighter ground 
crews.
    The Crooked River Fire and Rescue and the Crooked River 
Ranch Homeowners Association have proposed to remove 
approximately 688 acres from the WSA in order to facilitate 
mechanized juniper removal, along with other management options 
that may be more difficult, but are not precluded, to carry out 
in an area designated as a WSA. Lands excluded from the WSA 
would remain in Federal ownership and continue to be 
administered and subject to Federal regulations, with off-road 
motorized recreation remaining prohibited.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 2075 was introduced by Representative Walden in the 
House of Representatives on April 6, 2017. The Natural 
Resources Committee reported the bill, as amended, on August 
29, 2017. On July 11, 2018, the House of Representatives passed 
H.R. 2075 by voice vote, as amended, with an amendment to the 
title.
    The Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining held 
a hearing on H.R. 2075 on August 22, 2018.
    In the 114th Congress, Representative Walden introduced a 
similar measure, H.R. 5132, in the House of Representatives on 
April 29, 2016. The Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee 
on Federal Lands held a hearing on the bill on H.R. 5132 on May 
12, 2016.
    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met in 
an open business session on October 2, 2018, and ordered H.R. 
2075 favorably reported, as amended.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on October 2, 2018, by a majority voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 
2075, if amended as described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS

    During its consideration of H.R. 2075, the Committee 
adopted an amendment in the nature of a substitute. The 
substitute amendment strikes the findings, excludes 688 acres 
of public land from the Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls WSA 
(rather than 832 acres that the House-passed bill would exclude 
from the Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls WSA and the 
Deschustes Canyon WSA), requires the Secretary of the Interior 
(Secretary) to manage the excluded lands to improve fire 
resiliency and forest health, and prohibits off-road 
recreational motorized use on the excluded land. The Committee 
also adopted an amendment to the title.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Sec. 1. Short title

    Section 1 sets forth a short title.

Sec. 2. Boundary adjustment, Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls 
        Wilderness Study Area Boundary Adjustment, Oregon

    Subsection (a) adjusts the WSA's boundary to exclude 
approximately 688 acres of public lands as depicted on the 
September 24, 2018 map.
    Subsection (b)(1) specifies that the excluded public land 
is no longer subject to section 603(c) of the 1976 Federal Land 
Policy and Management Act (FLPMA, 43 U.S.C. 1782(c)) but shall 
be managed in accordance with this section, FLPMA, and any 
applicable resource management plan.
    Subsection (b)(2) directs the Secretary to manage the 
excluded lands to improve fire resiliency and forest health.
    Subsection (b)(3) prohibits off-road recreational motorized 
use on the excluded land.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of the costs of this measure has 
been provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
    H.R. 2075 would modify the boundary of the Deschutes 
Canyon-Steelhead Falls Wilderness Study Area in Oregon to 
exclude 688 acres of federal land. Because the act would not 
significantly affect how the Bureau of Land Management would 
administer the excluded land, CBO estimates that implementing 
H.R. 2075 would have no significant effect on the federal 
budget.
    Enacting H.R. 2075 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2075 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    H.R. 2075 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    On August 18, 2017, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for 
H.R. 2075, the Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection Act, as 
ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources on 
July 26, 2017. The two versions of the legislation are similar, 
and CBO's estimates of their budgetary effects are the same.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Janani 
Shankaran. The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
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 H.R. 2075. The Act 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 H.R. 2075, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    H.R. 2075, as ordered reported, does not contain any 
congressionally directed spending items, limited tax benefits, 
or limited tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the Department of the Interior at 
the August 22, 2018, hearing on H.R. 2075 follows:

    Statement of Christopher McAlear, Assistant Director, National 
Conservation Lands & Community Partnerships, Bureau of Land Management, 
                    U.S. Department of the Interior

    Thank you for the opportunity to testify on H.R. 2075, the 
Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection Act. The bill modifies the 
eastern boundary of the Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls 
Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in Jefferson County, Oregon, and 
releases approximately 832 acres from WSA management.
    The Department of the Interior recognizes the significant 
work of various stakeholders to attempt to reach a consensus on 
the future management of public lands in this area, 
particularly with respect to balancing the protection of unique 
resources within the WSA with actions to address wildland fire 
risk for nearby communities. We appreciate the work of the 
sponsor to address concerns raised in our previous testimony.
    The Department supports H.R. 2075, which we believe is 
consistent with the Secretary's priority of being a good 
neighbor and better serving local communities. We also strongly 
support the sponsor's goal of reducing hazardous fuels and 
preventing wildfires that may impact the communities adjacent 
to this WSA. The Department determined that a portion of the 
WSA may fall under the administrative jurisdiction of the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture. As such, we would like to work with 
the sponsor on an amendment to the bill that we believe will 
aid implementation. The Department looks forward to continuing 
to work with the sponsor and local stakeholders to resolve land 
management issues within and surrounding the WSA.
Background
    The Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls WSA was part of the 
original intensive wilderness inventory conducted in 1978 by 
the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Oregon. This WSA is a 
long narrow area located along the upper Deschutes River, 
within and adjacent to the Forest Service-administered Crooked 
River National Grasslands, and consists of approximately 10,230 
acres of forest lands managed by the Forest Service and 
approximately 3,240 acres of public land managed by the BLM. 
The area is surrounded by the Crooked River Ranch (a private 
subdivision) to the east, Lake Billy Chinook to the north, low-
density rural populations to the south, and farmlands to the 
west. The portions of the Deschutes River within this WSA have 
been protected under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act since 1988.
H.R. 2075, the Crooked River Ranch Fire Protection Act
    H.R. 2075 requires the Secretary of the Interior to reduce 
the size of the Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls WSA by 
approximately 832 acres to ``facilitate fire prevention and 
response activities to protect adjacent private property, and 
for other purposes.'' By releasing these 832 acres from WSA 
status, this area would be managed by the BLM for the full 
range of non-wilderness multiple uses under the Federal Land 
Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA). The Department has 
recently determined that the some of the BLM-managed lands that 
would be impacted by H.R. 2075 may fall under the 
administrative jurisdiction of the Forest Service. In order to 
ensure that the legislation fully achieves its objective, the 
BLM would like to work with the sponsor on a technical change 
that would address this discrepancy.
    The Department shares the sponsor's goal of reducing fire 
threats that may impact the life and safety of people and 
private property near the WSA. We also recognize the 
significant work of stakeholders to reach a consensus on the 
future management of public lands in this area, particularly 
with respect to balancing the protection of natural resources 
within the WSA with actions to address wildland fire risk. The 
Department notes that under FLPMA, the Wilderness Act, and 
agency policy, mechanical vegetation treatments, including pre-
fire treatments, are allowed in WSAs as long as they meet the 
non-impairment standard or its emergency or restoration 
exceptions.
    As a matter of policy, the Department strongly supports 
Congressional action to resolve issues of wilderness 
designation and release of WSAs on public lands across the 
West, and we welcome opportunities to further those efforts. 
Only Congress can determine whether to designate WSAs as 
wilderness or to release them for other multiple uses. As such, 
the Department also supports Congress settling the status of 
the remainder of the Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead Falls WSA, 
which would provide certainty to public land users this area. 
In addition, the Department would like to work with the sponsor 
to include standard WSA release language in the bill. This 
would enable the BLM to manage the lands to be released 
consistent with local land use plans. It is the local planning 
process through which the BLM makes important decisions on 
management of these lands, including, among other things, 
conventional and renewable energy production, grazing, mining, 
off-highway vehicle use, hunting, and the consideration of 
natural values.
Conclusion
    The Department of the Interior appreciates the work of the 
sponsor, the Subcommittee, and stakeholders on public land 
management issues in and around the Deschutes Canyon-Steelhead 
Falls WSA. The Department supports H.R. 2075, which we believe 
is consistent with the Secretary's priority of being a good 
neighbor and better serving local communities. We look forward 
to continuing to work with the sponsor and the Subcommittee to 
address some technical issues as this bill moves through the 
legislative process.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by the bill as ordered 
reported.

                                  [all]