CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, April 24, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R.491, a bill to modify the boundaries of Cibola National Forest in the State of New Mexico, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority. The bill was introduced on January 26, 2011, by Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) 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. 491 would transfer administrative jurisdiction of certain federal land from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the Forest Service for inclusion in the Cibola National Forest in the State of New Mexico and would prohibit certain activities, including mineral leasing, from taking place on the affected land. Under the legislation, the Forest Service would assume responsibility for about 900 acres of land currently administered by BLM. In addition, the bill would permit the Agriculture Department to acquire certain private lands, subject to the appropriation of funds, included in that parcel to also become part of the Cibola National Forest.
According to Committee Report 112-435, the bill would direct a transfer of lands between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service. The BLM parcel is to be turned over to the Forest Service to be included in the Cibola National Forest, and is comprised of 917 acres known as the Crest of Montezuma. The parcel has been described as being fairly remote from current BLM managed areas and can be better managed by the Forest Service. This legislation simply adjusts the boundaries of the Cibola National Forest in New Mexico to provide for the inclusion of the Crest of Montezuma.
According to CBO, purchasing private lands under the bill would cost less than $200,000, assuming the availability of appropriated funds.