America Outdoors Association
America Outdoors Association

March 14, 2012

America Outdoors Association Bulletin

H.R. 4019 Changes Everything for Outfitters in National Forests

Transportation Bill with Van CDL Study Language Expected to Pass Senate Today

Hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources -- Public Lands and Forests Subcommittee

H.R. 4019 Changes Permitting for Outfitters in National Forests

H.R. 4019, the “Federal Forests County Revenue, Schools, and Jobs Act of 2012” proposes big changes for outfitters operating outside of wilderness in National Forests.  The goal of H.R. 4019 is to find a source of funds to replace appropriations for Payments in Lieu of Taxes and Secure Rural School funding, annual payments given each year to rural counties containing National Forests.  Fees from permitted activities on National Forest are proposed as the source of that revenue with increased timber harvesting as one of the primary project goals.  Where there is no commodity production, the burden will fall on other permit holders operating outside of wilderness.   Areas in National Forests designated under The Wilderness Act are exempted from the provisions in H.R. 4019.

H.R. 4019 on the Move in the House. DOA in Senate?
The bill has been approved by the House Committee on Natural Resources and could be considered as part of the Transportation and Infrastructure bill that is expected to pass the Senate this month.  Senator Baucus has already won Senate approval of an amendment to fund rural counties with National Forests but without the permit fees required in H.R. 4019. H.R. 4019 is unlikely to move in the Senate, we hope.

Read excerpts of the bill and why it may require a significant increase in outfitter fees if it passes.

SEC. 104. DETERMINATION OF ANNUAL REVENUE REQUIREMENT AND MINIMUM SALE LEVEL.
Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall determine for each unit of the National Forest System—

(1) the annual revenue requirement for the unit  (equal to 60 percent of the average annual gross receipts derived from the unit during the 20-year period beginning with fiscal year 1980); and
(2) the minimum sale level for the unit.

(4) MAXIMUM NUMBER OF DESIGNATED PROJECTS.—The maximum number of trust projects designated by the Secretary for a unit of the National Forest System for a fiscal year may not exceed the number of projects necessary to meet the annual revenue requirement for the unit.

SEC. 105. COUNTY, SCHOOLS, AND REVENUE TRUST PROJECTS.2) TYPES OF PROJECTS.—Trust projects may include a timber sale, issuance of a grazing permit, issuance of a special use permit involving land use, mineral development, power generation, or recreational use, and projects implementing a community wildfire protection plan.

(3) EXCLUSION OF CERTAIN LAND FROM TRUST PROJECTS.—A trust project shall not be designated on National Forest System land—
(A) that is a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System;

SEC. 106. DISTRIBUTION OF AMOUNTS FROM TRUST PROJECTS.
(a) Percentage Distribution.—The amounts derived from a County, Schools, and Revenue Trust Project shall be distributed as follows:

(1) 65 percent shall be deposited in the County, Schools, and Revenue Trust.
(2) 35 percent shall be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury for use as provided in subsection

Note: the Forest Service will lose permit fees.

Transportation Bill with Van CDL Study Language Expected to Pass Senate Today.

S. 1813, MAP-21, the bill to reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and other non-germane measures tacked on as amendments is expected to pass the Senate today.  The van CDL Study language includes and important provision that considers “(4) the impact on safety benefits and cost from limiting the application of such requirement to certain drivers of such vehicles, such as drivers who are compensated for driving.”  This means limiting the CDL requirement to those who are paid primarily for transportation services or “direct compensation”.  Outfitters transportation is generally considered to be “indirect compensation”.

SEC. 32709. REPORT ON DRIVER'S LICENSE REQUIREMENTS FOR 9- TO 15-PASSENGER VANS.
    (a) In General.--Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit a report to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives that examines requiring all or certain classes of drivers operating a vehicle, which is designed or used to transport not fewer than 9 and not more than 15 passengers (including a driver) in interstate commerce, to have a commercial driver's license passenger-carrying endorsement and be tested in accordance with a drug and alcohol testing program under part 40 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations.
    (b) Considerations.--In developing the report under subsection (a), the Secretary shall consider--
    (1) the safety benefits of the requirement described in subsection (a);
    (2) the scope of the population that would be impacted by such requirement;
    (3) the cost to the Federal Government and State governments to meet such requirement; and
    (4) the impact on safety benefits and cost from limiting the application of such requirement to certain drivers of such vehicles, such as drivers who are compensated for driving.

Hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources -- Public Lands and Forests Subcommittee

Bills considered at the March 13 hearing included
S. 1906: Cabin Fee Act of 2011
S. 1129: Grazing Improvement Act of 2011
S. 1492: Three Kids Mine Remediation and Reclamation Act
S. 2001: Rogue Wilderness Area Expansion Act of 2011
S. 303: A bill to amend the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 to require the Bureau of Land Management to provide a claimant of a small miner waiver from claim maintenance fees with a period of 60 days after written receipt of 1 or more defects is provided to the claimant by registered mail to cure the 1 or more defects or pay the claim maintenance fee, and for other purposes
S. 1635: San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act of 2011
S. 1687: Carson National Forest Boundary Adjustment Act of 2011
S. 2056: Scofield Land Transfer Act
S. 1473: Mesquite Land Conveyances Act of 2011
S. 1774: Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act of 2011
S. 1788: Pine Forest Range Recreation Enhancement Act of 2011
S. 2015: Powell Shooting Range Land Conveyance Act
S. 1559: San Juan Islands National Conservation Area Act

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