CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, December 3, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 1241, a bill to Facilitate a Land Exchange Involving Certain National Forest System Lands in the Inyo National Forest, under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on March 18, 2013 by Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA) and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which ordered the bill reported by unanimous consent.
H.R. 1241 authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture, in any land exchange involving the conveyance of certain National Forest land located in the Inyo National Forest in California, to accept for acquisition in the exchange certain non-Federal lands in California lying outside the boundaries of the Inyo National Forest, if the Secretary determines the acquisition is desirable for National Forest System purposes.
Moreover, this legislation would allow the Secretary to accept a cash payment of any size to equalize the values of the properties being exchanged. Under current law, the Secretary cannot accept a cash equalization payment greater than 25 percent of the value of the federal lands being exchanged.
Under current law, the Secretary can only exchange federal lands within a national forest for nonfederal lands located within that forest. This legislation would allow the Secretary of Agriculture to acquire two parcels of land outside the boundary of the Inyo National Forest in exchange for the conveyance of 20 acres of National Forest System land to the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (MMSA). The MMSA has operated on a special-use permit from the Forest Service since 1953, which has made the process of approval for renovations difficult. Since 1998, the Forest Service and the MMSA have been working to complete a land exchange that would allow these renovations to take place, while providing the Forest Service with desired acquisitions.
Identical legislation passed in the 112th Congress by a vote of 376-2 (See Roll Call #178).
The CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would increase offsetting receipts and associated direct spending. However, the CBO expects that those changes would have no net impact on the deficit over the 2014-2023 period. Furthermore, CBO estimates that “the cash equalization payment would be several million dollars because the federal land is probably more valuable than the private land.”
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.