CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 4823 is being considered on the House floor under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage on Wednesday, September 22, 2010. This legislation was introduced by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) on March 11, 2010. The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which held a mark up and reported the bill, as amended, by voice vote on July 22, 2010.
H.R. 4823 would designate 160,000 acres of National Forest System land within the Coconino National Forest as the Sedona-Red Rock National Scenic Area. Under the legislation, the Secretary of Agriculture would manage the land in accordance with the requirements of H.R. 4823 and the resource management plan for the Coconino National Forest. In the event of a conflict, the restrictions and requirements of the underlying legislation would take precedent.
The bill would stipulate that the exchange of land within the Sedona-Red Rock National Scenic Area could only occur as follows: (1) if the exchange results in the acquisition of land within the boundaries of the Scenic Area from a willing seller for inclusion in the Scenic Area, (2) there is no net loss of National Forest System land within the boundaries of the Scenic Area, and (3) an environmental analysis is completed before any land exchange within the boundaries of the Scenic Area. Any proceeds from the sale or exchange of land in the Scenic Area would be made available to the Secretary for the acquisition of lands within the National Forest System.
H.R. 4823 states that the establishment of the Scenic Area would not affect any of the following:
According to the Forest Service, the 1.8 million acre Coconino National Forest is one of six segments of the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Forest System segments in Arizona. Activities permitted in the forest include hunting, fishing, horseback riding, boating and camping. According to House Report 111-599, the purpose of the legislation is to specially designate 160,000 acres of the forest as a National Scenic Area so as to restrict land exchanges involving land within the Scenic Area and to manage the land more strictly for conservation purposes.
According to CBO, H.R. 4823 “would have no significant impact on the federal budget” because the land is already managed by the Forest Service.