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...


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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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