CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, April 24, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2157, a bill to facilitate a land exchange involving certain National Forest System lands in the Inyo National Forest, and for other purposes, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority for approval. The bill was introduced on June 13, 2011, by Rep. Howard McKeon (R-CA) and referred to the committee on Natural Resources, which held a mark up and reported the bill by voice vote on February 29, 2012.
H.R. 2157 would authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to exchange 20 acres of National Forest System land located within the boundaries of Inyo National Forest in California to the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (MMSA). The bill would authorize the Forest Service to accept a cash equalization payment greater than the 25 percent cap under current law because the value of the parcels to be acquired by the MMSA exceeds the value of the lands to be exchanged to the Forest Service. Under current law, the Secretary can only exchange federal lands within a national forest for nonfederal lands located within that forest and cannot accept a cash equalization payment greater than 25 percent of the value of the federal lands exchanged. H.R. 2157 would also permit the U.S. Forest Service to acquire lands adjacent to the forest that are currently owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in the process of exchanging lands with the ski area.
According to Committee Report 112-439, the main base of the MMSA currently operates under a special-use permit from the Forest Service and has been working to acquire ownership of the parcel to allow for needed renovations. The Inyo National Forest currently operates facilities on land that is owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power outside the boundary of the forest. H.R. 2157 authorizes the Inyo National Forest to acquire those parcels in the process of exchanging lands with the MMSA. In addition, the value of the parcels to be acquired by the MMSA exceeds the value of the lands to be exchanged to the Forest Service so the legislation authorizes the Forest Service to accept a cash equalization payment greater than the 25 percent cap under current law.
According to CBO, enacting H.R. 2157 would have no significant impact on revenue or future budget deficits.