Legislation

Jan 28 2014

S. 1966

Official Short: National Forest Jobs and Management Act of 2014

Long Title: To provide for the restoration of the economic and ecological health of National Forest System land and rural communities, and for other purposes.

Sponsors: Mr. Barasso, Mr. Flake and Mr. Heller.

STATUS:

  • January 28, 2014.--Introduced.
  • February 6, 2014.--Committee hearing held.

S.1966

National Forest Jobs and Management Act of 2014 (Introduced in Senate - IS)

S 1966 IS

113th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 1966

To provide for the restoration of the economic and ecological health of National Forest System land and rural communities, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
January 28, 2014

Mr. BARRASSO introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


A BILL

To provide for the restoration of the economic and ecological health of National Forest System land and rural communities, and for 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 `National Forest Jobs and Management Act of 2014'.
    (b) Table of Contents- The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
      Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
      Sec. 2. Purposes.
      Sec. 3. Definitions.
      Sec. 4. Projects in Forest Management Emphasis Areas.
      Sec. 5. Administrative review; arbitration.
      Sec. 6. Distribution of revenue.
      Sec. 7. Performance measures; reporting.
      Sec. 8. Termination.

SEC. 2. PURPOSES.

    The purposes of this Act are--
      (1) to create a predictable wood supply from National Forest System land that can be harvested, processed, and sold as wood products--
        (A) to preserve and create jobs;
        (B) to generate revenue to be shared with counties; and
        (C) to strengthen rural economies;
      (2) to reduce the uncertainty and costs to the Forest Service of planning and implementing timber management, forest restoration, and community wildfire protection projects on National Forest System land; and
      (3) to promote the use of timber harvest as a method to achieve forest management goals on a portion of non-reserved National Forest System land.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
      (1) COVERED PROJECT- The term `covered project' means a project that involves the management or sale of national forest material within a Forest Management Emphasis Area.
      (2) FOREST MANAGEMENT EMPHASIS AREA-
        (A) IN GENERAL- The term `Forest Management Emphasis Area' means National Forest System land identified as suitable for timber production in a forest management plan in effect on the date of enactment of this Act.
        (B) EXCLUSIONS- The term `Forest Management Emphasis Area' does not include National Forest System land--
          (i) that is a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System; or
          (ii) on which removal of vegetation is specifically prohibited by Federal law.
      (3) NATIONAL FOREST MATERIAL- The term `national forest material' means trees, portions of trees, or forest products, with an emphasis on sawtimber and pulpwood, derived from National Forest System land.
      (4) NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM-
        (A) IN GENERAL- The term `National Forest System' has the meaning given the term in section 11(a) of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1609(a)).
        (B) EXCLUSION- The term `National Forest System' does not include--
          (i) the national grasslands and land utilization projects administered under title III of the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act (7 U.S.C. 1010 et seq.); or
          (ii) National Forest System land east of the 100th meridian.
      (5) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary' means the Secretary of Agriculture.

SEC. 4. PROJECTS IN FOREST MANAGEMENT EMPHASIS AREAS.

    (a) Conduct of Covered Projects Within Forest Management Emphasis Areas-
      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary may conduct covered projects in Forest Management Emphasis Areas, subject to paragraphs (2) through (4).
      (2) DESIGNATING TIMBER FOR CUTTING-
        (A) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding section 14(g) of the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 472a(g)), the Secretary may use designation by prescription or designation by description in conducting covered projects under this Act.
        (B) REQUIREMENT- The designation methods authorized under subparagraph (A) shall be used in a manner that ensures that the quantity of national forest material that is removed from the Forest Management Emphasis Area is verifiable and accountable.
      (3) CONTRACTING METHODS-
        (A) IN GENERAL- Timber sale contracts under section 14 of the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 472a) shall be the primary means of carrying out covered projects under this Act.
        (B) RECORD- If the Secretary does not use a timber sale contract under section 14 of the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 472a) to carry out a covered project under this Act, the Secretary shall provide a written record specifying the reasons that different contracting methods were used.
      (4) ACREAGE TREATMENT REQUIREMENTS-
        (A) TOTAL ACREAGE REQUIREMENTS- The Secretary shall identify, prioritize, and carry out covered projects in Forest Management Emphasis Areas that mechanically treat a total of at least 7,500,000 acres in the Forest Management Emphasis Areas during the 15-year period beginning on the date that is 60 days after the date on which the Secretary assigns the acreage treatment requirements under subparagraph (B).
        (B) ASSIGNMENT OF ACREAGE TREATMENT REQUIREMENTS TO INDIVIDUAL UNITS OF THE NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM-
          (i) IN GENERAL- Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act and subject to clause (ii), the Secretary, in the sole discretion of the Secretary, shall assign the acreage treatment requirements that shall apply to the Forest Management Emphasis Areas of each unit of the National Forest System.
          (ii) LIMITATION- Notwithstanding clause (i), the acreage treatment requirements assigned to a specific unit of the National Forest System under that clause may not apply to more than 25 percent of the acreage to be treated in any unit of the National Forest System in a Forest Management Emphasis Area during the 15-year period described in subparagraph (A).
    (b) Environmental Analysis and Public Review Process for Covered Projects in Forest Management Emphasis Areas-
      (1) ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT- The Secretary shall comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) by completing an environmental assessment that assesses the direct environmental effects of each covered project proposed to be conducted within a Forest Management Emphasis Area, except that the Secretary shall not be required to study, develop, or describe more than the proposed agency action and 1 alternative to the proposed agency action for purposes of that Act.
      (2) PUBLIC NOTICE AND COMMENT- In preparing an environmental assessment for a covered project under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall provide--
        (A) public notice of the covered project; and
        (B) an opportunity for public comment on the covered project.
      (3) LENGTH- The environmental assessment prepared for a covered project under paragraph (1) shall not exceed 100 pages in length.
      (4) INCLUSION OF CERTAIN DOCUMENTS- The Secretary may incorporate, by reference, into an environmental assessment any documents that the Secretary, in the sole discretion of the Secretary, determines are relevant to the assessment of the environmental effects of the covered project.
      (5) DEADLINE FOR COMPLETION- Not later than 180 days after the date on which the Secretary has published notice of a covered project in accordance with paragraph (2), the Secretary shall complete the environmental assessment for the covered project.
    (c) Compliance With Endangered Species Act- To comply with the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), the Secretary shall use qualified professionals on the staff of the Forest Service to make determinations required under section 7 of that Act (16 U.S.C. 1536).
    (d) Limitation on Revision of National Forest Plans- The Secretary may not, during a revision of a forest plan under section 6 of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1604), reduce the acres designated as suitable for timber harvest under a covered project, unless the Secretary determines, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, that the reduction in acreage is necessary to prevent a jeopardy finding under section 7(b) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536(b)).

SEC. 5. ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW; ARBITRATION.

    (a) Administrative Review- Administrative review of a covered project shall occur only in accordance with the special administrative review process established by section 105 of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6515).
    (b) Arbitration-
      (1) IN GENERAL- There is established in the Department of Agriculture a pilot program that--
        (A) authorizes the use of arbitration instead of judicial review of a decision made following the special administrative review process for a covered project described in subsection (a); and
        (B) shall be the sole means to challenge a covered project in a Forest Management Emphasis Area during the 15-year period beginning on the date that is 60 days after the date on which the Secretary assigns the acreage treatment requirements under section 4(a)(4)(B).
      (2) ARBITRATION PROCESS PROCEDURES-
        (A) IN GENERAL- Any person who sought administrative review for a covered project in accordance with subsection (a) and who is not satisfied with the decision made under the administrative review process may file a demand for arbitration in accordance with--
          (i) chapter 1 of title 9, United States Code; and
          (ii) this paragraph.
        (B) REQUIREMENTS FOR DEMAND- A demand for arbitration under subparagraph (A) shall--
          (i) be filed not more than 30 days after the date on which the special administrative review decision is issued under subsection (a); and
          (ii) include a proposal containing the modifications sought to the covered project.
        (C) INTERVENING PARTIES-
          (i) DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION; REQUIREMENTS- Any person that submitted a public comment on the covered project subject to the demand for arbitration may intervene in the arbitration under this subsection by submitting a proposal endorsing or modifying the covered project by the date that is 30 days after the date on which the demand for arbitration is filed under subparagraph (A).
          (ii) MULTIPLE PARTIES- Multiple objectors or intervening parties that meet the requirements of clause (i) may submit a joint proposal under that clause.
        (D) APPOINTMENT OF ARBITRATOR- The United States District Court in the district in which a covered project subject to a demand for arbitration filed under subparagraph (A) is located shall appoint an arbitrator to conduct the arbitration proceedings in accordance with this subsection.
        (E) SELECTION OF PROPOSALS-
          (i) IN GENERAL- An arbitrator appointed under subparagraph (D)--
            (I) may not modify any of the proposals submitted under this paragraph; and
            (II) shall select to be conducted--

(aa) a proposal submitted by an objector under subparagraph (B)(ii) or an intervening party under subparagraph (C); or

(bb) the covered project, as approved by the Secretary.

          (ii) SELECTION CRITERIA- An arbitrator shall select the proposal that best meets the purpose and needs described in the environmental assessment conducted under section 4(b)(1) for the covered project.
          (iii) EFFECT- The decision of an arbitrator with respect to a selection under clause (i)(II)--
            (I) shall not be considered a major Federal action;
            (II) shall be binding; and
            (III) shall not be subject to judicial review.
        (F) DEADLINE FOR COMPLETION- Not later than 90 days after the date on which a demand for arbitration is filed under subparagraph (A), the arbitration process shall be completed.

SEC. 6. DISTRIBUTION OF REVENUE.

    (a) Payments to Counties-
      (1) IN GENERAL- Effective for fiscal year 2015 and each fiscal year thereafter until the termination date under section 8, the Secretary shall provide to each county in which a covered project is carried out annual payments in an amount equal to 25 percent of the amounts received for the applicable fiscal year by the Secretary from the covered project.
      (2) LIMITATION- A payment made under paragraph (1) shall be in addition to any payments the county receives under the payment to States required by the sixth paragraph under the heading `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).
    (b) Deposit in Knutson-Vandenberg and Salvage Sale Funds- After compliance with subsection (a), the Secretary shall use amounts received by the Secretary from covered projects during each of the fiscal years during the period described in subsection (a) to make deposits into the fund established under section 3 of the Act of June 9, 1930 (commonly known as the `Knutson-Vandenberg Act') (16 U.S.C. 576b) and the fund established under section 14(h) of the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 472a(h)) in contributions equal to the amounts otherwise collected under those Acts for projects conducted on National Forest System land.
    (c) Deposit in General Fund of the Treasury- After compliance with subsections (a) and (b), the Secretary shall deposit into the general fund of the Treasury any remaining amounts received by the Secretary for each of the fiscal years referred to in those subsections from covered projects.

SEC. 7. PERFORMANCE MEASURES; REPORTING.

    (a) Performance Measures- The Secretary shall develop performance measures that evaluate the degree to which the Secretary is achieving--
      (1) the purposes of this Act; and
      (2) the minimum acreage requirements established under section 4(a)(4).
    (b) Annual Reports- Annually, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives--
      (1) a report that describes the results of evaluations using the performance measures developed under subsection (a); and
      (2) a report that describes--
        (A) the number and substance of the covered projects that are subject to administrative review and arbitration under section 5; and
        (B) the outcomes of the administrative review and arbitration under that section.

SEC. 8. TERMINATION.

    The authority of this Act terminates on the date that is 15 years after the date of enactment of this Act.