H.R. 3759: BLM Contract Extension Act

H.R. 3759

BLM Contract Extension Act

Sponsor
Rep. Peter A. DeFazio

Date
January 19, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.R. 3759 is being considered on the floor on Tuesday, January 19, 2010, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  This legislation was introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) on October 8, 2009, and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which reported the bill, as amended, by unanimous consent.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3759 would authorize the Secretary of Interior to extend certain contracts for harvesting timber on land controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) by up to three years. The bill would allow the Secretary to extend the contracts for the sale of timber from BLM lands for timber companies that cannot afford to currently remove timber from the lands for economic reasons.

Background

According to House Report 111-394, the economic downturn, especially in the housing market, has had an adverse effect on the timber industry. As housing starts have declined, the need for timber from BLM has declined with it. Companies with timber contracts often are not able to remove the timber at the same rate as negotiated in their contract terms. According to the Committee on Natural Resources, "the U.S. Forest Service has several options for helping timber companies adjust economically unviable timber contracts, but the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) does not have the same authorities." H.R. 3759 would allow BLM to extend contracts with companies that have had their business affected by the economy, allowing the companies to wait for a more opportune business climate to complete the removal of timber.

Cost

According to CBO, H.R. 3759 would "not significantly affect the federal budget" because any receipts from the extended contracts would be small and have an insignificant impact on the deficit.