CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, June 7, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 3826, the Mount Hood Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act, under suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on October 23, 2015, by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) and was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources which ordered the bill reported, in the Nature of a Substitute, by Unanimous Consent on March 16, 2016.
H.R. 3826 amends the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 to modify provisions relating to certain land exchanges in the Mt. Hood Wilderness in the State of Oregon. Specifically, the bill modifies the terms of a land exchange between the Forest Service and the Mt. Hood Meadows ski area in Oregon by reducing the amount of land the agency is authorized to convey to the ski area from 120 acres to 107 acres. In addition, once the final appraisal by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is determined, the USDA shall not be required to reappraise or update the value of any of the lands for up to three years, unless the land is significantly or substantially altered by fire, windstorm, or other events. Finally, H.R. 3826 requires the exchange to be done within a year of enactment.
Section 1206 of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-11) included an authorization for a land exchange of 120 acres of federal land in Government Camp, Oregon in exchange for 770 acres of non-federal land at Cooper Spur. Despite the Act requiring the exchange to occur within 16 months after the date of enactment, more than six years have passed without completion of the exchange.
On September 30, 2015, the Forest Service and Mt. Hood Meadows engaged in a mediation session in an attempt to resolve the easement terms in dispute. The parties released a joint statement that they arrived at mutually satisfactory terms during the mediation session. H.R. 3826 reflects those terms by updating the details and process for the land exchange to clarify issues relating to land appraisals and the parameters of a wetland conservation easement on the land in conveyance.
According to the bill’s sponsor, “In 2009, Congress passed our bipartisan legislation that clearly stated that the Forest Service should complete the land exchange within 16 months. Now, 85 months later, the agency still has not complied with the law. In fact, they have said that they may need another year or two even under this new plan to complete the transfer. That’s simply unacceptable. Our new bill would force the Forest Service to complete its work in a timely manner.”
 See House Report 114-514 at 3.
 See Rep. Walden’s Press Release, “Greg Walden’s Bill to force Forest Service to complete Mt. Hood land exchange takes major step forward in U.S. House” March 16, 2016.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing the legislation would not have a significant effect on the federal budget and would not affect revenues, therefore pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3826 would not increase direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
For questions about amendments or further information on the bill, contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.