[Senate Report 115-366]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

                                                    Calendar No. 653
115th Congress       }                         {            Report
 2d Session          }                         {             115-366


                  ORACLE CABINS CONVEYANCE ACT OF 2018


               November 15, 2018.--Ordered to be printed


  Ms. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2062]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 2062) to require the Secretary of 
Agriculture to convey at market value certain National Forest 
System land in the State of Arizona, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon with amendments and recommends 
that the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
    On page 5, strike lines 3 through 12 and insert the 

    (f) Proceeds From the Sale of Land.--Any payment received by the 
Secretary from the sale of property under this Act shall be deposited 
in the fund established under Public Law 90-171 (commonly known as the 
``Sisk Act'') (16 U.S.C. 484a) and shall be available to the Secretary 
until expended, without further appropriation, for the acquisition of 
inholdings in national forests in the State of Arizona.


    The purpose of S. 2062 is to require the Secretary of 
Agriculture (Secretary) to convey, for fair market value, 
certain National Forest System land in the State of Arizona 
covered by special use residence permits to the holders of 
those permits.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    S. 2062 authorizes the conveyance of certain National 
Forest lands covered by three separate residence special use 
permits to the holders of those permits. The residences were 
initially permitted by the U.S. Forest Service under the Forest 
Service Recreation Residence Program (RPP), which was 
established by Congress in 1915 to encourage family recreation 
in the National Forests. Under the program, a permittee is 
allowed use a parcel of National Forest land for construction 
of a cabin, which is owned by the permittee. The permitee pays 
an annual fee to the Forest Service for the use of the land the 
cabin sits on. There are approximately 14,000 cabins, on 114 
Nations Forests, in the RPP program.
    When one of the permittees covered by the legislation tried 
to sell their cabin in 2008 they asked the Forest Service for 
permission to approve the sale. At that time, the Forest 
Service indicated it would not approve the sale, as their cabin 
was now classified as a ``residence, privately owned building'' 
under a special use permit, which is being phased out over 
    In total, three families with cabins near Oracle have been 
reclassified by the Forest Service as ``residence, privately 
owned building.'' These special use permits, which were 
transitioned from the RPP, now expire in 2028, with no 
opportunity to transfer to a new owner or heir. The current 
cabin owners have expressed an interest in purchasing the 
properties from the Forest Service so that they may either sell 
or pass their cabins on to future generations. S. 2062 directs 
the Forest Service to allow the permittees to purchase the 
small parcels of lands under and surrounding their residences, 
without which they will be forced to demolish or physically 
relocate their homes. The three parcels total approximately 9.5 

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Senator Flake introduced S. 2062 on November 2, 2017. The 
Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining held a 
hearing on the bill on February 7, 2018.
    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met in open 
business session on October 2, 2018, and ordered S. 2560 
favorably reported, as amended.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on October 2, 2018, by a majority voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 
2062, if amended as described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

    During its consideration of S. 2062, the Committee adopted 
an amendment to require any proceeds from property sales made 
pursuant to the Act to be deposited in the fund established by 
the Sisk Act (Public Law 90-171) and be made available for 
acquisition of inholdings in national forests in Arizona, 
rather than directing the proceeds to be used for hazardous 
fuel reduction projects in the State.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Sec. 1. Short title

    Section 1 sets forth the short title.

Sec. 2. Definitions

    Section 2 defines key terms.

Sec. 3. Sale of land

    Subsection (a) directs the Secretary to sell and quitclaim 
all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to 
the three parcels of land, as described on the map, ``Coronado 
National Forest Land Conveyance Act of 2017'' to the permittees 
on those parcels. The sale is subject to valid existing rights 
and is to occur not later than 90 days after the request of a 
    Subsection (b) authorizes the Secretary to set such terms 
and conditions on the sale deemed in the public interest.
    Subsection (c) requires the sale of a property to be for 
cash equal to the fair market value of the property, as 
determined by an appraisal.
    Subsection (d) directs the Secretary to complete an 
appraisal for each property, which will include the value of 
any appurtenant easements and excludes the value of any private 
improvements made by a permittee of the property before the 
date of the appraisal. This subsection also specifies the 
standards for an appraisal.
    Subsection (e) directs the Secretary to pay for the cost of 
the property's conveyance and appraisal.
    Subsection (f) requires that proceeds from the sale of the 
land be deposited in the fund established by the Sisk Act and 
be made available for acquisition of inholdings in national 
forests in Arizona without further appropriation.
    Subsection (g) requires the Secretary to file maps and 
legal descriptions of each parcel as soon as practicable; 
specifies that the filed maps and legal descriptions shall have 
the force of law; and requires the filed maps and legal 
descriptions to be publically available in the Coronado 
National Forest Supervisor's office.


    The following estimate of the costs of this measure has 
been provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
    Three cabins in the Coronado National Forest in Arizona are 
privately owned under special use permits from the Forest 
Service that will expire in 2028. S. 2062 would direct the 
Forest Service to convey the parcels of land that are 
associated with the cabins (roughly 10 acres in total) at fair 
market value if those owners wish to purchase the parcels. CBO 
expects that under the bill, the owners would submit a request 
to buy the available land.
    S. 2062 would require the Forest Service to pay any costs 
associated with the conveyances. Using information from the 
agency, CBO estimates that those costs would be less than 
$500,000; such spending would be subject to the availability of 
appropriated funds.
    Under current law, the permit holders pay annual fees to 
the Forest Service, which are deposited into the Treasury. CBO 
estimates that those fees, which are recorded in the budget as 
offsetting receipts (or reductions in direct spending), will 
total less than $100,000 over the 2019-2028 period. Because the 
Forest Service has no plans to renew the permits when they 
expire, CBO expects that the government will not collect any 
such fees after 2028.
    Under S. 2062, proceeds from the sale of the parcels would 
be available without further appropriation to the Forest 
Service to acquire inholdings (privately held land surrounded 
by federal land) in national forests in Arizona. Those sale 
proceeds would be recorded in the budget as offsetting receipts 
and would be subsequently spent. If the Forest Service conveys 
the parcels in the next few years under the bill, the annual 
permit fees would no longer be collected. On net, CBO 
estimates, enacting S. 2062 would result in an insignificant 
increase in direct spending (from the forgone permit fees) over 
the 2019-2028 period; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures 
apply. The bill would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 2062 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    S. 2062 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Janani 
Shankaran. The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.


    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 2062. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 2062, as ordered reported.


    S. 2062, as ordered reported, does not contain any 
congressionally directed spending items, limited tax benefits, 
or limited tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the Department of Agriculture at 
the February 7, 2018, hearing on S. 2062 follows:

 Statement of Glenn Casamassa, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest 
  System, U.S. Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture

    Chairman Lee, Ranking Member Wyden, members of the 
Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the 
views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding S. 
2062--Oracle Cabins Conveyance Act of 2017. I am Glenn 
Casamassa, Associate Deputy Chief for the National Forest 
System (NFS), USDA Forest Service.
    S. 2062 would require the Secretary of Agriculture to 
convey three parcels of NFS land on the Coronado National 
Forest in Arizona totaling approximately 9.5 acres to persons, 
or their heirs, executors, or assigns, who hold valid permits 
for use of the properties.
    The USDA Forest Service has attempted to determine the 
history of how these three cabins came to be built on the 
Coronado National Forest, but has been unable to definitively 
determine their origin. However, we can confirm they are not 
located within an area designated for recreational cabins, 
which would allow for long-term ownership of improvements and 
occupation on a seasonal basis only. Because they do not fall 
within the category of a recreational residence and because 
they are being used as full-time residences, the type of 
special use permit that has been issued for each of these three 
cabins are for ``residence, privately owned building'', with a 
current expiration date of 2028. We have explored a number of 
potential solutions within our existing authorities. However, 
each has downsides for either the permit holder or for balanced 
and equitable management of the National Forest System.
    Consequently, we appreciate Senator Flake's concerns about 
this situation and his efforts to find a workable outcome for 
the individuals involved and the USDA Forest Service. The 
Forest Service is committed to finding a mutually agreeable 
solution and intends to continue working with the individual 
owners toward that end, within the parameters of applicable 
agency policy and regulations.
    Thank you again for the opportunity to testify on this bill 
and I look forward to your questions at the appropriate time.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by the bill as ordered