[House Report 108-293]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



108th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    108-293

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 LAND CONVEYANCE, FARAWAY RANCH, MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST, CALIFORNIA

                                _______
                                

October 2, 2003.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Pombo, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 708]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 708) to require the conveyance of certain National Forest 
System lands in Mendocino National Forest, California, to 
provide for the use of the proceeds from such conveyance for 
national forest purposes, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment 
and recommend that the bill do pass.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 708 is to require the conveyance of 
certain National Forest System lands in the Mendocino National 
Forest, California, to provide for the use of the proceeds from 
such conveyance for national forest purposes, and for other 
purposes.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The Faraway Ranch is a tract of several hundred acres of 
private land in Lake County, California surrounded by Mendocino 
National Forest lands. The original ranch was settled and 
patented as private land in 1884, prior to the establishment of 
the national forest. Various dwellings, roads, fences and other 
improvements were constructed on the ranch over the years.
    An updated survey in the area in the 1990s revealed 
substantial errors in the official historical survey and 
unintentional encroachments of both old and newer ranch 
structures onto neighboring national forest lands. The new, 
corrected survey to which the current ranch owner, Forest 
Service, and Bureau of Land Management have agreed, places the 
boundary line between the ranch and national forest lands 
through some existing structures, including the ranch dwelling 
house.
    The corrected property boundary lines are in an untenable 
location for the ranch owner as well as the public use and 
management of the adjacent national forest lands. This bill 
adjusts the property boundaries to eliminate the encroachments 
and provide a buffer around the ranch dwelling area. A buffer 
will enhance safety and privacy in terms of public hunting, 
camping, and motorized vehicle use on national forest lands in 
the area, particularly in relation to fire risk and discharge 
of firearms. Besides eliminating the encroachments, more 
logical boundary corners and lines will simplify and reduce the 
expense of administration of the area for the Forest Service.
    The bill provides for prompt transfer of the 120 acres of 
specified adjacent national forest lands to the current ranch 
owner, in exchange for a payment equal to the fair market value 
of these lands according to federal appraisal standards. The 
ranch owner will pay the direct costs of the transfer, 
including the title work, survey, and appraisal. The payments 
made will be deposited in the U.S. Treasury fund established by 
Public Law 90-171, known as the Sisk Act. These funds are 
designated in H.R. 708 for the use by the Forest Service to 
purchase non-federal lands adjacent to other national forest 
lands in California that the agency has determined are a 
priority to acquire, and to reimburse agency costs.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 708 was introduced on February 11, 2003, by 
Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health. On June 19, 2003, 
the Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On September 24, 
2003, the Full Resources Committee met to consider the bill. 
The Subcommittee was discharged from further consideration of 
the bill by unanimous consent. No amendments were offered and 
the bill 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 Resources' oversight findings and recommendations 
are reflected in the body of this report.

                   CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United 
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
    2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2) 
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this 
bill does not contain any new budget authority, credit 
authority, or an increase or decrease tax expenditures. 
According to the Congressional Budget Office, proceeds from the 
sale of the land will generate less than $200,000 in 2004 and 
the Forest Service would spend those proceeds over the 2004-
2005 time period. CBO concludes that the ``net change in direct 
spending in those years would be negligible.''
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. This bill does 
not authorize funding and therefore, clause 3(c)(4) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives does not 
apply.
    4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause 
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate 
for this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 25, 2003.
Hon. Richard W. Pombo,
Chairman, Committee on Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 708, a bill to 
require the conveyance of certain National Forest System lands 
in Mendocino National Forest, California, to provide for the 
use of the proceeds from such conveyance for National Forest 
purposes, and for other purposes.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Megan 
Carroll.
            Sincerely,
                                       Douglas Holtz-Eakin,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 708--A bill to require the conveyance of certain National Forest 
        System lands in Mendocino National Forest, California, to 
        provide for the use of the proceeds from such conveyance for 
        National Forest purposes, and for other purposes

    CBO estimates that H.R. 708 would not significantly affect 
the federal budget. The bill would affect direct spending 
(including offsetting receipts), but we estimate that any such 
effects would be negligible. H.R. 708 contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would have no significant 
impact on the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.
    H.R. 708 would direct the Secretary of Agriculture to 
convey to a private landowner about 120 acres of federal lands 
within the Mendocino National Forest in California. The private 
landowner would pay fair market value for those lands. The bill 
would authorize the Secretary to use proceeds from the 
conveyance to cover certain administrative costs and to acquire 
other lands and interests in California.
    According to the Forest Service, the lands to be sold 
currently generate no significant receipts and are not expected 
to do so over the next 10 years. Based on information from the 
agency, CBO estimates that proceeds from the proposed sale 
would total up to $200,000 in 2004 and that the agency would 
spend those proceeds over the 2004-2005 period. Hence, we 
estimate that, under H.R. 708, the net change in direct 
spending in those years would be negligible.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Megan Carroll. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                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 in existing 
law.