[Senate Report 115-67]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


                                                       Calendar No. 85
                                                   
                                                       
 115th Congress }                                            { Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session    }                                            { 115-67
                                                       
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   TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE TO MAINTAIN OR REPLACE 
CERTAIN FACILITIES AND STRUCTURES FOR COMMERICAL RECREATION SERVICES AT 
              SMITH GULCH IN IDAHO, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

                  May 16, 2017.--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. 590]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 590) to authorize the Secretary of 
Agriculture to maintain or replace certain facilities and 
structures for commercial recreation services at Smith Gulch in 
Idaho, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that 
the bill do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 590 is to authorize the Secretary of 
Agriculture to maintain or replace certain facilities and 
structures for commercial recreation services at Smith Gulch in 
Idaho.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    Smith Gulch is located within the main Salmon Wild River 
corridor in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in 
Idaho. Both the Wild and Scenic River and Wilderness were 
designated in the Central Idaho Wilderness Act of 1980 (16 
U.S.C. 1132). The Act mandates that the main Salmon River 
corridor be managed according to the requirements of the Wild 
and Scenic Rivers Act.
    In 2004, Congress amended the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act 
(16 U.S.C. 1271 et seq.) to direct the U.S. Forest Service 
(USFS) to continue the established use and occupancy of three 
commercial recreation services including the services at Smith 
Gulch (section 340 of Public Law 108-447). Currently, the USFS 
does not interpret the 2004 Act as providing the authority to 
allow the Lodge at Smith Gulch to make improvements or 
replacements to the facilities and structures needed to provide 
recreational services that require the use of certain 
mechanized equipment.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Senators Risch and Crapo introduced S. 590 on March 9, 
2017.
    On March 9, 2017, an identical bill, H.R. 1482 was 
introduced in the House by Representative Simpson.
    In the 114th Congress, S. 1777, similar legislation, was 
introduced by Senators Risch and Crapo on July 15, 2015. The 
Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining held a 
hearing on S. 1777 on April 21, 2016. The Committee on Energy 
and Natural Resources met in open business session on July 13, 
2016, and ordered S. 1777 favorably reported as amended (S. 
Rept. 114-319). In the House of Representatives, Representative 
Simpson introduced a similar bill, H.R. 2312, on May 13, 2015.
    In the 113th Congress, Representative Simpson introduced a 
similar measure, H.R. 4283. The Subcommittee on Public Lands 
and Environmental Regulation held a hearing on H.R. 4283 on 
June 10, 2014. The Committee on Natural Resources reported H.R. 
4283 favorably with an amendment in the nature of a substitute 
on June 19, 2014. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 
4283, as amended, by a vote of 398-1 on September 8, 2015. No 
similar legislation was introduced in the Senate during the 
113th Congress.
    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met in open 
business session on March 30, 2017, and ordered S. 590 
favorably reported.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on March 30, 2017, by a majority voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 
590.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Maintenance or replacement of facilities and structures at 
        Smith Gulch

    Section 1 provides clarification that the authorization of 
the Secretary of Agriculture to maintain or replace facilities 
and structures for commercial services at Smith Gulch under the 
Wild and Scenic Rivers Act may include improvements or 
replacements that are consistent with the Central Idaho 
Wilderness Act of 1980 and would reduce impacts on wilderness 
or wild and scenic river resources and values. Section 1 also 
authorizes the Secretary to consider including, as appropriate, 
certain other improvements or replacements, including 
hydroelectric generators and associated electrical transmission 
facilities; water pumps for fire suppression, transitions from 
propane to electrical lighting; solar energy systems; 6-volt or 
12-volt battery banks for power storage; and other improvements 
or replacements that are consistent with these that the 
Secretary deems appropriate.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
    S. 590 would authorize the Forest Service to allow three 
providers of commercial recreation services in the Salmon-
Challis National Forest in Idaho to construct or improve 
certain facilities. Those recreation services currently operate 
under special use permits that do not allow those types of 
projects. Under the bill, if the operators of those recreation 
services request authorization to undertake those projects, the 
agency would be required to conduct environmental reviews. Any 
costs to carry out those reviews would be covered by cost-
recovery fees assessed on the recreation services.
    Based on information provided by the Forest Service, CBO 
estimates that enacting the bill would increase offsetting 
receipts from cost-recovery fees and associated direct 
spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, 
CBO estimates that any net effect on direct spending would be 
negligible. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting the legislation would not 
increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of 
the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    S. 590 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION

    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. 590. 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 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 590, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    S. 590, 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

    Because S. 590 is similar to legislation considered by the 
Committee in the 114th Congress, the Committee did not request 
Executive Agency views. The testimony provided by the U.S. 
Forest Service at the hearing before the Subcommittee on Public 
Lands, Forests, and Mining hearing on April 21, 2016, follows:

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

    Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for 
the opportunity to present the views of the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) regarding S. 1777, to amend the Wild and 
Scenic Rivers Act.
    The Department opposes S. 1777 because it would create a 
negative precedent for other commercial recreation service 
providers on wild and scenic rivers across the nation. We hope 
to work with Senator Risch and Senator Crapo to find a solution 
that is mutually beneficial to their constituents and the 
Forest Service.
    More than 200 rivers in 40 states and the Commonwealth of 
Puerto Rico comprise the National Wild and Scenic River System. 
More than 12,000 river miles are protected reflecting 
tremendous geographic diversity, from the remote rivers of 
Alaska, Idaho and Oregon to rivers threading through the rural 
countryside of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Ohio.
    Smith Gulch is located within the Main Salmon Wild River 
corridor, located within the Frank Church-River of No Return 
Wilderness in Idaho. Both the Wild River and Wilderness were 
designated as such by the Central Idaho Wilderness Act of 1980 
(16 U.S.C. 1132). The Act mandates that the Main Salmon River 
corridor be managed according to the requirements of the Wild 
and Scenic Rivers Act.
    Public Law 108-447, enacted in 2004, amended the Wild and 
Scenic Rivers Act, 16 U.S.C. 1274(a)(24)(D), and directed that 
the Forest Service continue to authorize the established use 
and occupancy of three commercial recreation services within 
the Main Salmon River Corridor, including the services at Smith 
Gulch. Such continued authorization is to be subject to such 
reasonable regulation as the Secretary deems appropriate, 
including rules that would provide for revocation for 
noncompliance, and upon revocation, reoffering the concession 
through a competitive process.
    The facilities and structures for commercial recreation 
services at Smith Gulch in Idaho are authorized and operated 
under a 20-year Term Special Use permit to River of No Return 
Lodge, Inc. (Permit #NFK299), issued and administered by the 
Salmon-Challis National Forest. The current permit authorizes 
gas-powered water pumps for emergency fire suppression. The 
permit is authorized under the authority of the Act of March 4, 
1915, as amended July 28, 1956, (16 U.S.C. 497). This permit is 
issued with provisions and terms similar to those of recreation 
facilities throughout the National Forest System. The permit 
takes into account the location and surroundings of facilities 
and improvements, the public values affected by such an 
operation, and any specific public health and safety concerns.
    The Forest Service has in place appropriate policies to 
accommodate the needs of a recreation service business 
operating at this location. Consistent with statutory guidance, 
the policies allow for such facilities and structures needed to 
provide the authorized recreation services. Smith Gulch 
operates under these policies and requirements; just as other 
similarly authorized businesses within the Main Salmon Wild 
River Corridor. For example, the management plan for the Frank 
Church-River of No Return Wilderness already allows for the use 
of chainsaws in the Salmon River corridor by permit; the Smith 
Gulch operation has obtained such a permit annually.
    The Department encourage the operators of the recreation 
service business at Smith Gulch to work with the appropriate 
local Forest Service officials to resolve any issues related to 
their utilizing existing agency regulations, policies and 
authorities. Allowing new facilities at this operation, 
including those that do not conform with the Wilderness Act and 
the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, opens the door to others 
seeking similar exceptions in the wild river corridor of the 
Main Salmon River, elsewhere in the Frank Church-River of No 
Return Wilderness. The Department believes that this would 
create an undesirable precedent for the National Wild and 
Scenic Rivers System.
    This concludes my remarks. I would be happy to answer any 
questions. Thank you for the opportunity to testify.

                        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 
reported.

                                  [all]