July 25, 2007
America Outdoors E-News
Bills Introduced to Raise Fees from Commercial Activities in National Forests
and in National Parks. Take Action Now!!!
||H.R. 3058, Secure Rural Schools and Community Self
||H.R. 3058, Secure Rural Schools and
Community Self Determination Act, introduced by Representatives DeFazio (D-OR)
and Rahall (D-WV) proposes to raise $4 billion from fees on commercial
activities on national forests and grasslands.
The legislation is being pushed by the National Association of
Counties (NaCO), which wants revenues from commercial activities to replace
receipts lost from timber harvests. Unless the bill is changed and outfitters
are expressly exempted, H.R. 3058 will require dramatically higher fees for all
outfitters and permittees operating under any type of authorization in National
Forests. Congressman Rahall may not intend that the bill apply new and
increased fees to outfitters, but the bill will have to be amended. Even if
amended and outfitters and guides are exempted, floor amendments pushed by NaCO
and the "commercial" interests targeted by the bill could put outfitters back
into the bill. There may not be sufficient sources of revenue from other
commercial activities in national forests to reach the $4 billion goal. Any
shortfalls will have to be made up by successive fee increases to reach the
legislated targets no matter what the impact on a permittees' operation. So, to
be safe, you must register your support for changes to H.R. 3058 to exempt
outfitters and recreation services from the bill.
Here is the current language in HR. 3058: In addition to fee increases, most concessioners and outfitters have
seen dramatic increases in the costs of operations due to increased fuel,
labor, insurance and fees. Note: there is a typo in the introduced version of
H.R. 3058. The new fees are supposed to generate $4 billion, not $4 million as
the bill reads.
(a) Establishment- Not later than 90 days after the
date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary
of Agriculture shall promulgate regulations to establish new fees or fee
increases for commercial activities on Federal lands, National Forest System
lands, and National Grasslands administered by the respective Secretary. Such
fee or fee increases shall apply to any commercial lease or activity that is in
effect on the date final regulations are promulgated under the subsection or
that is issued thereafter.
The bill would begin with a $520 million payout to
counties with federal lands in fiscal 2008, declining by 10 percent each year.
Any county with national forests will qualify for funding. The bill will also
include "transition payments" for Oregon, California and Washington through
2011. Those three states benefit the most from the program. Since this is a new
obligation, under the new rules installed by the Democrats, new revenues are
required to "offset" the expenditures. The legislation must raise $4 billion by
2012. A hearing on the bill is scheduled for the Committee on Natural Resources
on Thursday, July 26.
Call your U.S. Representative today at
202-225-3121 (through the Capitol Switchboard) and ask for your
Representative's office. Outfitters in Oregon should contact Representative
DeFazio's office immediately and directly 202-225-6416.
Ask your Representative to support amendments to HR.
3058 to exempt outfitters and other recreation businesses operating under
permit in national forests and grasslands from the new fees required by H.R.
3058. Tell them you have already seen fee increases or are paying your fair
||H.R. 3094 Proposes to Raise $100 Million
per Year from Commercial Activities to Support NPS
||Representatives Rahall (D-WV) and
Grijalva (D-AZ) have introduced legislation to raise $100 million per year in
new fees from commercial activities on lands managed by the Department of
Interior to fund the National Park Service's Centennial initiative. Any
commercial activity, including outfitting and guiding, on lands managed by the
Secretary of Interior is subject to new or increased fees, as the bill is
currently written. Although the ultimate intent may be to apply the bill to
extractive activities, that is not what the bill says. The only assets managed
by Interior with mining, oil and gas are BLM lands, so using revenues from BLM
lands to benefit NPS may not fly. Those targeted by the legislation may seek to
bring in those exempted through floor amendments, so you must register your
support for changes to the legislation.
See the current language
Establishment of Fund- There is established in the Treasury of the United
States a fund which shall be known as the National Park Centennial Fund. In
each fiscal year from fiscal year 2008 through fiscal year 2017, the Secretary
of the Treasury shall deposit into the Fund all amounts collected from fees
described in subsection (b), totaling $100,000,000 each fiscal year.
Activities Fee- A hearing on the House National Parks Subcommittee is
scheduled for August 2nd.
(1) ESTABLISHMENT- Not later than 90 days after the date of
the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall promulgate regulations to
establish new fees or fee increases for commercial activities, including
leases, on Federal lands administered by the Secretary. Such fee or fee
increases shall apply to any commercial activity, including leases, in effect
on the date final regulations are promulgated under this subsection or
(2) AMOUNT- The amount of
fees shall, in aggregate, result in the receipt by the United States of a total
of not less than $100,000,000 annually for fiscal years 2008 through 2017.
3) OFFSETTING RECEIPTS- New fees or
the portion of revenue generated from increased fees received by the United
States under this section shall be treated as offsetting receipts for the
purposes of this Act.
(4) DEPOSIT OF
AMOUNTS INTO FUND- Amounts received by the United States as fees under this
section shall be deposited into the Fund.
Contact your Congressman today and support changes to H.R. 3094 to
exempt outfitters and concession services from another round of fee increases.
Fees for NPS outfitters and concessions have gone up dramatically in recent
years. Call your U.S. Representative through the Capitol switchboard at
||Return to top of