[Senate Report 113-149]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


                                                       Calendar No. 360
113th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     113-149

======================================================================



 
               COCONINO NATIONAL FOREST LAND CONVEYANCES

                                _______
                                

                 April 10, 2014.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Ms. Landrieu, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 862]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (H.R. 862) to authorize the conveyance of two 
small parcels of land within the boundaries of the Coconino 
National Forest containing private improvements that were 
developed based upon the reliance of the landowners in an 
erroneous survey conducted in May 1960, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommends that the bill do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of H.R. 862 is to authorize the Secretary of 
Agriculture to convey all right, title, and interest of the 
United States to two parcels of land in the Coconino National 
Forest in Arizona to a person or legal entity that represents a 
majority of landowners with private property adjacent to the 
two parcels to be conveyed.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    In 1960, two sections of land in what is now known as the 
Mountaire Subdivision, near Flagstaff, Arizona, were surveyed 
by private contractors. The subdivision largely abuts a portion 
of the Coconino National Forest. In 2007, surveyors for the 
Bureau of Land Management determined that the 1960 survey was 
incorrect, and as a result, several private tracts were in fact 
partially located on National Forest lands.
    Although the Forest Service has authority under the Small 
Tracts Act to resolve the issue administratively, enactment of 
H.R. 862 will allow for a more efficient conveyance, especially 
given the large number of parcels involved (19), and the small 
total acreage of National Forest lands affected (less than 2.7 
acres).
    Because of the cost involved with resolving each trespass 
issue separately with the affected landowner, the bill 
authorizes the land to be conveyed to a person or entity 
representing all of the landowners and sets a payment price of 
$20,000 for the two parcels to be conveyed, instead of 
requiring appraisals to determine the appropriate value.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 862, sponsored by Representative Kirkpatrick, was 
ordered reported by the Committee on Natural Resources on April 
24, 2013 (H. Rept. 113-75) and passed the House of 
Representatives by a vote of 395-1 on June 17, 2013. The 
Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining held a 
hearing on the bill on July 30, 2013. At its business meeting 
on November 21, 2013, the bill was favorably reported.
    Similar legislation, H.R. 1038 was introduced in the 112th 
Congress by Representative Gosar, and passed the House of 
Representatives by a vote of 421-1 on April 25, 2012.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on November 21, 2013 by a voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 862.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1(a) authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to 
convey by quitclaim deed two parcels of land that are within 
the boundaries of the Coconino National Forest to a person or 
legal entity that represents a majority of the land owners with 
private property adjacent to the two parcels.
    Subsection (b) provides the legal description of the two 
parcels of land referenced in subsection (a), consisting of 
approximately 2.67 acres.
    Subsection (c) requires that the legal entity that 
represents the majority of land owners pay to the Secretary 
$20,000 as consideration for the land conveyed under this Act, 
and that the Secretary deposit these funds into a special 
account in the fund established under Public Law 90-171 
(commonly known as the Sisk Act; 16 U.S.C. 484a) to be used for 
acquisition of land in the National Forest System.
    Subsection (d) revokes any orders withdrawing or disposing 
of the Federal land described in subsection (a) to the extent 
necessary to permit the conveyance of land under this Act.
    Subsection (e) withdraws the land described in subsection 
(a), subject to valid existing rights, from all forms of entry 
and appropriation under public land laws, location, entry, and 
patent under the mining laws, and operation of the mineral 
leasing and geothermal leasing laws until the conveyance is 
completed.
    Subsection (f) requires that the conveyance be subject only 
to those surveys and clearances necessary to protect the 
interests of the United States.
    Subsection (g) provides that the authority provided for 
under this Act shall terminate three years after the date of 
enactment of this Act.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 862--An act to authorize the conveyance of two small parcels of 
        land within the boundaries of the Coconino National Forest 
        containing private improvements that were developed based upon 
        the reliance of the landowners in an erroneous survey conducted 
        in May 1960

    H.R. 862 would authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to 
sell certain federal lands located within the Coconino National 
Forest. Based on information provided by the Forest Service, 
CBO estimates that implementing the act would have a negligible 
impact on the federal budget. Implementing the legislation 
would increase offsetting receipts and associated direct 
spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, 
CBO estimates that those changes would have no significant 
impact on future budget deficits. Enacting H.R. 862 would not 
affect revenues.
    H.R. 862 would authorize the Secretary to sell 19 small 
parcels of federal land totaling less than 3 acres to a 
representative of several private homeowners. The act would 
require the homeowners to pay a total of $20,000 for the 
parcels and to cover any administrative costs associated with 
the sale. The Secretary has the authority to sell the lands 
under current law; however, the act would allow the Secretary 
to sell the parcels in a single transaction rather than through 
separate transactions with each affected homeowner. The act 
also would allow the Forest Service to retain and spend 
proceeds from the sale, without further appropriation, to 
acquire other lands. CBO estimates that the agency would spend 
those proceeds within the next three years.
    H.R. 862 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    On May 15, 2013, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 
862 as ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural 
Resources on April 24, 2013. The two versions of the 
legislation are similar, and the CBO cost estimates are the 
same.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out H.R. 862.
    The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of 
imposing Government-established standards or significant 
economic responsibilities on private individuals and 
businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of H.R. 862, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    H.R. 862, as reported, does not contain any congressionally 
directed spending items, limited tax benefits, or limited 
tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the Standing Rules 
of the Senate.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the Forest Service at the July 
30, 2013, Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining 
hearing on H.R. 862 follows:

Statement of Leslie Weldon, Deputy Chief, National Forest System, U.S. 
               Forest Service, Department of Agriculture

    Chairman Manchin and members of the Subcommittee, thank you 
for the opportunity to appear before you today to provide the 
Department of Agriculture's views on H.R. 862, a bill designed 
to correct an erroneous, private survey on the Coconino 
National Forest in Arizona.
    The Department supports this bill.
    In 1960-61, privately contracted surveyors surveyed two 
sections of land in what is now known as the Mountainaire 
Subdivision, which largely abuts the Coconino National Forest. 
Both surveys were found to be inaccurate when the Bureau of 
Land Management conducted a survey in 2007. The BLM survey 
correctly re-established the boundary of the National Forest 
System lands.
    Because of the erroneous private surveys, approximately 19 
parcels totaling 2.67 acres of National Forest System land now 
have structures built on them. Although the Forest Service has 
authority under the Small Tracts Act (Public Law 97-465) to 
sell this land to the homeowners, H.R. 862 would more quickly 
and efficiently resolve the issue with all property owners at 
the same time.
    Section 1(c) of the bill would provide for consideration in 
a fixed amount of $20,000. To ensure that appropriate 
compensation for the land to be conveyed is recovered on behalf 
of the American taxpayer, an appraisal should be done 
consistent with Federal appraisal standards and the homeowner 
would pay the appraised value. The bill should also provide 
that the homeowner should bear other administrative costs 
associated with the conveyance.
    I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by H.R. 862, as ordered 
reported.