[House Report 115-336]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


115th Congress    }                                    {        Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                    {       115-336

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



 
       PERSHING COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND CONSERVATION ACT

                                _______
                                

 September 28, 2017.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1107]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 1107) to promote conservation, improve public 
land management, and provide for sensible development in 
Pershing County, Nevada, 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. 1107 is to promote conservation, 
improve public land management, and provide for sensible 
development in Pershing County, Nevada.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    H.R. 1107, the Pershing County Economic Development and 
Conservation Act, is the result of over a decade of 
negotiations between locally-elected officials, miners, 
conservationists, sportsmen, ranchers, and residents in 
Pershing County, Nevada. The bill consolidates over 300,000 
acres of checkerboard federal land previously identified for 
disposal by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM); conveys land 
for mining and public purposes, including the transfer of a 
cemetery to the County; creates 136,072 acres of new wilderness 
areas; and releases roughly 48,600 acres of Wilderness Study 
Areas (WSA) to benefit conservation, recreation, and economic 
development in Pershing County, Nevada.
    In Pershing County, 75% of the land is federally owned, 
with over 300,000 acres identified for disposal under the BLM's 
Winnemucca District Resource Management Plan. H.R. 1107 allows 
for the sale of up to 150,000 acres of checkerboard land 
previously identified for disposal by the BLM. The County will 
work jointly with BLM to identify high-priority land sales 
along the I-80 corridor, east of the Rye Patch State Recreation 
Area, near the Humboldt River Ranch and West Humboldt Range to 
resolve the federal-nonfederal checkerboard pattern of 
ownership throughout the County. The sale and transfer of lands 
will streamline BLM's management of the area and provide the 
County and State with additional revenues to jumpstart economic 
development.
    H.R. 1107 includes several land conveyances for public 
purposes and to consolidate mining operations in Pershing 
County. Several local companies will have the ability to 
acquire land from the BLM where they already own mining claims, 
millsites, or tunnel sites. According to one local mining 
company, allowing the consolidation and expansion of mining 
operations will lead to ``greater investments, additional 
development and production from these lands, and important for 
Pershing County--economic development and jobs.''\1\ The bill 
also conveys the Unionville Cemetery to Pershing County. 
Established in the 1870s, the 10-acre cemetery is still in use, 
although the BLM currently prohibits any additional burials. 
Transferring the land would ensure its continued use and allow 
residents of the County to bury their loved ones nearby.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Coeur Mining, ``Economic Development and Conservation Act 
Proposal--Pershing County, Nevada'', 06/27/16.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Of the proceeds from the sale, 5% will go to the State for 
educational purposes and 10% will go to Pershing County. The 
remaining 85% of the proceeds will be deposited in the Pershing 
County Special Account and fund reimbursements for land sales; 
wildlife habitat conservation projects; reimbursements for 
County drought projects; wildfire pre-suppression and 
restoration projects; future acquisition of environmentally 
sensitive land or lands that secure recreational access for the 
public; and surveys related to wilderness designations.
    H.R. 1107 also designates 136,072 acres of wilderness and 
releases approximately 48,600 acres of WSA. The new wilderness 
designations include 11,855 acres of the Mount Limbo WSA; 
13,875 acres in North Sahwave; 24,900 acres in the Bluewing 
Mountains; 22,822 acres in the Selenite Mountains WSA; 14,942 
acres in Fencemaker; 35,339 acres in Grandfathers encompassing 
the majority of two WSAs; and 12,339 acres known as Cain 
Mountain in the Augusta Mountain WSA. The bill also releases 
48,600 acres of WSA studied since the early 2000s in Augusta 
Mountain, China Mountain, Mount Limbo, Selenite Mountains, and 
Tobin Range.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 1107 was introduced on February 16, 2017, by 
Congressman Mark E. Amodei (R-NV). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Federal Lands. On May 23, 2017, the 
Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On June 22, 2017, the 
Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The 
Subcommittee was discharged by unanimous consent. No amendments 
were offered, and the bill was ordered favorably reported to 
the House of Representatives by unanimous consent on June 27, 
2017.

            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 Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

      COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII AND CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT

    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 27, 2017.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1107, the Pershing 
County Economic Development and Conservation Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jeff LaFave.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1107--Pershing County Economic Development and Conservation Act

    H.R. 1107 would establish a process to sell or exchange up 
to 400,000 acres of federal land administered by the Bureau of 
Land Management (BLM) in Pershing County, Nevada, and also 
would designate 136,000 acres of other federal lands as 
wilderness.
    The bill would require BLM to conduct a mass appraisal of 
the affected lands. Based on an analysis of information 
provided by the Department of the Interior's Office of 
Valuation Services, CBO estimates that conducting the appraisal 
would cost roughly $1 million in 2019; that spending would be 
subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
    Title I would direct BLM to work with Pershing County to 
jointly select parcels from roughly 300,000 acres of federal 
land that would be conveyed to the county through sale or 
exchange. Because BLM has already identified those lands for 
disposal, CBO expects that any lands conveyed in this region 
eventually will be conveyed under current law. Under the bill, 
the agency would only be required to sell lands valued at more 
than $500 an acre. CBO expects that lands valued at less than 
$500 an acre would be exchanged. The bill would authorize the 
agency to spend any proceeds from the sale of land, which would 
increase direct spending; however, based on information from 
BLM regarding the amount of similar lands sold state-wide in 
Nevada over the last five years (between 1,000 and 3,000 acres) 
and the value of those lands (between $100 and $300 an acre), 
CBO estimates that any proceeds generated by the sale of the 
affected lands and the associated direct spending would be 
insignificant over the 2018-2027 period.
    Title II would require BLM to offer mining claims covering 
roughly 100,000 acres in Pershing County for sale at fair 
market value. However, CBO expects that few individuals or 
firms would elect to purchase those lands because under current 
law they would have the option to patent their mining claims 
after 2017. Mineral patents allow individuals and firms to 
acquire title to hardrock minerals and the associated surface 
rights under a federal mining claim at below-market rates. Each 
year since 1994, the Congress has included provisions in annual 
appropriations acts that prohibit BLM from accepting or 
processing applications for mineral patents. Because patents 
are prohibited only in the year the appropriations acts are 
enacted, BLM will be authorized to issue mineral patents 
beginning in 2018; the Congress would have to extend that 
prohibition in subsequent legislation. CBO expects that 
individuals or firms seeking to acquire title to federal mining 
claims generally would opt for a patent rather than purchase 
the claims using the process established under the bill. Thus, 
CBO estimates that enacting that provision would have no 
significant budgetary effect.
    Title III would designate 136,000 acres of federal land as 
wilderness. Designating federal land as wilderness could have 
an effect on the budget if the property generates receipts for 
the government and collection of those receipts would end under 
the wilderness designation. Because the bill would preserve 
existing grazing rights on the affected lands and CBO does not 
expect those lands to generate any other proceeds over the next 
10 years, we estimate that enacting that provision would have 
no effect on the federal budget.
    Because enacting H.R. 1107 would affect direct spending, 
pay-as-you-go procedures apply; however, CBO estimates that the 
net effect on direct spending would not be significant. 
Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1107 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 1107 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. The 
bill would benefit the governments of Pershing County, Nevada, 
and the State of Nevada by directing proceeds generated from 
federal land transactions to support environmental, land 
management, and education projects for those governments. Any 
costs incurred by public entities associated with land 
transactions would result from voluntary commitments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to promote conservation, improve 
public land management, and provide for sensible development in 
Pershing County, Nevada.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       COMPLIANCE WITH H. RES. 5

    Directed Rule Making. This bill does not contain any 
directed rule makings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                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.

                                  [all]