| Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 2389 (enr) To restore stability and predictability to the annual payments made to States and counties containing National Forest System lands and public domain lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management for use by the counties for the benefit of...
H.R. 2389 (enr) To restore stability and predictability to the annual payments made to States and counties containing National Forest System lands and public domain lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management for use by the counties for the benefit of...
106th CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 2389 _______________________________________________________________________ AN ACT To restore stability and predictability to the annual payments made to States and counties containing National Forest System lands and public domain lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management for use by the counties for the benefit of public schools, roads, and other purposes. 106th CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 2389 _______________________________________________________________________ AN ACT To restore stability and predictability to the annual payments made to States and counties containing National Forest System lands and public domain lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management for use by the counties for the benefit of public schools, roads, and other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS. (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 1999''. (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is as follows: Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents. Sec. 2. Findings and purpose. Sec. 3. Definitions. TITLE I--SECURE PAYMENTS FOR STATES AND COUNTIES CONTAINING FEDERAL LANDS Sec. 101. Determination of full payment amount for eligible States and counties. Sec. 102. Payments to States from Forest Service lands for use by counties to benefit public education and transportation. Sec. 103. Payments to counties from Bureau of Land Management lands for use to benefit public safety, law enforcement, education, and other public purposes. TITLE II--LOCALLY INITIATED PROJECTS ON FEDERAL LANDS Sec. 201. Definitions. Sec. 202. General limitation on use of project funds. Sec. 203. Submission of project proposals by participating counties. Sec. 204. Evaluation and approval of projects by Secretary concerned. Sec. 205. Local advisory committees. Sec. 206. Use of project funds. Sec. 207. Duration of availability of a county's project funds. Sec. 208. Treatment of funds generated by locally initiated projects. TITLE III--FOREST COUNTIES PAYMENTS COMMITTEE Sec. 301. Definitions. Sec. 302. National advisory committee to develop long-term methods to meet statutory obligation of Federal lands to contribute to public education and other public services. Sec. 303. Functions of Advisory Committee. Sec. 304. Federal Advisory Committee Act requirements. Sec. 305. Termination of Advisory Committee. Sec. 306. Sense of the Congress regarding Advisory Committee recommendations. TITLE IV--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS Sec. 401. Authorization of appropriations. Sec. 402. Treatment of funds and revenues. Sec. 403. Conforming amendments. SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE. (a) Findings.--The Congress finds the following: (1) The National Forest System, which is managed by the United States Forest Service, was established in 1907 and has grown to include approximately 192,000,000 acres of Federal lands. (2) The public domain lands known as revested Oregon and California Railroad grant lands and the reconveyed Coos Bay Wagon Road grant lands, which are managed predominantly by the Bureau of Land Management were returned to Federal ownership in 1916 and 1919 and now comprise approximately 2,600,000 acres of Federal lands. (3) Congress recognized that, by its decision to secure these lands in Federal ownership, the counties in which these lands are situated would be deprived of revenues they would otherwise receive if the lands were held in private ownership. (4) Even without such revenues, these same counties have expended public funds year after year to provide services, such as education, road construction and maintenance, search and rescue, law enforcement, waste removal, and fire protection, that directly benefit these Federal lands and people who use these lands. (5) To accord a measure of compensation to the affected counties for their loss of future revenues and for the critical services they provide to both county residents and visitors to these Federal lands, Congress determined that the Federal Government should share with these counties a portion of the revenues the United States receives from these Federal lands. (6) Congress enacted in 1908 and subsequently amended a law that requires that 25 percent of the revenues derived from National Forest System lands be paid to States for use by the counties in which the lands are situated for the benefit of public schools and roads. (7) Congress enacted in 1937 and subsequently amended a law that requires that 50 percent of the revenues derived from the revested and reconveyed grant lands be paid to the counties in which those lands are situated to be used as are other county funds. (8) For several decades during the dramatic growth of the American economy, counties dependent on and supportive of these Federal lands received and relied on increasing shares of these revenues to provide educational opportunities for the children of residents of these counties. (9) In recent years, the principal source of these revenues, Federal timber sales, has been sharply curtailed and, as the volume of timber sold annually from most of the Federal lands has decreased precipitously, so too have the revenues shared with the affected counties. (10) This decline in shared revenues has severely impacted or crippled educational funding in, and the quality of education provided by, the affected counties. (11) In the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, Congress recognized this trend and ameliorated its adverse consequences by providing an alternative annual safety net payment to 72 counties in Oregon, Washington, and northern California in which Federal timber sales had been restricted or prohibited by administrative and judicial decisions to protect the northern spotted owl. (12) The authority for these particular safety net payments is expiring and no comparable authority has been granted for alternative payments to counties elsewhere in the United States that have suffered similar losses in shared revenues from the Federal lands and in the educational funding those revenues provide. (13) Although alternative payments are not an adequate substitute for the revenues, wages, purchasing of local goods and services, and social opportunities that are generated when the Federal lands are managed in a manner that encourages revenue-producing activities, such alternative payments are critically needed now to stabilize educational funding in the affected counties. (14) Changes in Federal land management, in addition to having curtailed timber sales, have altered the historic, cooperative relationship between counties and the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. (15) Both the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management face significant backlogs in infrastructure maintenance and ecosystem restoration that are not likely to be addressed through annual appropriations. (16) New relationships between the counties in which these Federal lands are located and the managers of these Federal lands need to be formed to benefit both the natural resources and rural communities of the United States as the 21st century begins. (b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are-- (1) to provide Federal funds to county governments that are dependent on and supportive of the Federal lands so as to assist such counties in restoring funding for education and other public services that the counties must provide to county residents and visitors; (2) to provide these funds on a temporary basis in a form that is environmentally sound and consistent with applicable resource management plans; (3) to facilitate the development, by the Federal Government and the counties which benefit from the shared revenues from the Federal lands, of a new cooperative relationship in Federal land management and the development of local consensus in implementing applicable plans for the Federal lands; (4) to identify and implement projects on the Federal lands that enjoy broad-based local support; and (5) to make additional investments in infrastructure maintenance and ecosystem restoration on Federal lands. SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS. In this Act: (1) Federal lands.--The term ``Federal lands'' means-- (A) lands within the National Forest System, as defined in section 11(a) of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1609(a)); and (B) the Oregon and California Railroad grant lands revested in the United States by the Act of June 9, 1916 (chapter 137; 39 Stat. 218), Coos Bay Wagon Road grant lands reconveyed to the United States by the Act of February 26, 1919 (chapter 47; 40 Stat. 1179), and subsequent additions to such lands. (2) Eligibility period.--The term ``eligibility period'' means fiscal year 1984 through fiscal year 1999. (3) Eligible county.--The term ``eligible county'' means a county or borough that received 50-percent payments for one or more fiscal years of the eligibility period or a county or borough that received a portion of an eligible State's 25- percent payments for one or more fiscal years of the eligibility period. The term includes a county or borough established after the date of the enactment of this Act so long as the county or borough includes all or a portion of a county or borough described in the preceding sentence. (4) Eligible state.--The term ``eligible State'' means a State that received 25-percent payments for one or more fiscal years of the eligibility period. (5) Full payment amount.--The term ``full payment amount'' means the amount calculated for each eligible State and eligible county under section 101. (6) 25-percent payments.--The term ``25-percent payments'' means the payments to States required by the sixth paragraph under the heading of ``FOREST SERVICE'' in the Act of May 23, 1908 (35 Stat. 260; 16 U.S.C. 500), and section 13 of the Act of March 1, 1911 (36 Stat. 963; 16 U.S.C. 500). (7) 50-percent payments.--The term ``50-percent payments'' means the payments that are the sum of the 50-percent share otherwise paid to a county pursuant to title II of the Act of August 28, 1937 (chapter 876; 50 Stat. 875; 43 U.S.C. 1181f), and the payment made to a county pursuant to the Act of May 24, 1939 (chapter 144; 53 Stat. 753; 43 U.S.C. 1181f-1 et seq.). (8) Safety net payments.--The term ``safety net payments'' means the payments to States and counties required by section 13982 or 13983 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (Public Law 103-66; 16 U.S.C. 500 note; 43 U.S.C. 1181f note). TITLE I--SECURE PAYMENTS FOR STATES AND COUNTIES CONTAINING FEDERAL LANDS SEC. 101. DETERMINATION OF FULL PAYMENT AMOUNT FOR ELIGIBLE STATES AND COUNTIES. (a) Calculation Required.-- (1) Eligible states.--The Secretary of the Treasury shall calculate for each eligible State an amount equal to the average of the three highest 25-percent payments and safety net payments made to that eligible State for fiscal years of the eligibility period. (2) BLM Counties.--The Secretary of the Treasury shall calculate for each eligible county that received a 50-percent payment during the eligibility period an amount equal to the average of the three highest 50-percent payments and safety net payments made to that eligible county for fiscal years of the eligibility period. (b) Annual Adjustment.--For each fiscal year in which payments are required to be made to eligible States and eligible counties under this title, the Secretary of the Treasury shall adjust the full payment amount in effect for the previous fiscal year for each eligible State and eligible county to reflect changes in the consumer price index for rural areas (as published in the Bureau of Labor Statistics) that occur after publication of that index for fiscal year 1999. SEC. 102. PAYMENTS TO STATES FROM FOREST SERVICE LANDS FOR USE BY COUNTIES TO BENEFIT PUBLIC EDUCATION AND TRANSPORTATION. (a) Requirement for Payments to Eligible States.--The Secretary of the Treasury shall make to each eligible State a payment in accordance with subsection (b) for each of fiscal years 2000 through 2006. The payment for a fiscal year shall be made as soon as practicable after the end of that fiscal year. (b) Payment Amounts.--The payment to an eligible State under subsection (a) for a fiscal year shall consist of the following: (1) The 25-percent payments and safety net payments under
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