[Senate Report 113-97]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


                                                       Calendar No. 175
113th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     113-97

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



 
                         GOOD NEIGHBOR FORESTRY

                                _______
                                

               September 10, 2013.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Wyden, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 327]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 327) to authorize the Secretary of 
Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to enter into 
cooperative agreements with State foresters authorizing State 
foresters to provide certain forest, rangeland, and watershed 
restoration and protection services, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon with an amendment and 
recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
    Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Good Neighbor Forestry Act''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) Authorized restoration services.--The term ``authorized 
        restoration services'' means similar and complementary forest, 
        rangeland, and watershed restoration services carried out--
                  (A) on Federal land and non-Federal land; and
                  (B) by either the Secretary or a Governor pursuant to 
                a good neighbor agreement.
          (2) Federal land.--
                  (A) In general.--The term ``Federal land'' means land 
                in a State located in whole or in part west of the 
                100th meridian that is--
                          (i) National Forest System land; or
                          (ii) public land (as defined in section 103 
                        of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
                        of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1702)).
                  (B) Exclusions.--The term ``Federal land'' does not 
                include--
                          (i) a component of the National Wilderness 
                        Preservation System;
                          (ii) Federal land on which the removal of 
                        vegetation is prohibited or restricted by Act 
                        of Congress or Presidential proclamation 
                        (including the applicable implementation plan); 
                        or
                          (iii) a wilderness study area.
          (3) Forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration services.--
                  (A) In general.--The term ``forest, rangeland, and 
                watershed restoration services'' means--
                          (i) activities to treat insect- and disease-
                        infected trees;
                          (ii) activities to reduce hazardous fuels; 
                        and
                          (iii) any other activities to restore or 
                        improve forest, rangeland, and watershed 
                        health, including fish and wildlife habitat.
                  (B) Exclusions.--The term ``forest, rangeland, and 
                watershed restoration services'' does not include--
                          (i) construction, reconstruction, repair, or 
                        restoration of roads or parking areas; or
                          (ii) construction, alteration, repair or 
                        replacement of public buildings or works.
          (4) Good neighbor agreement.--The term ``good neighbor 
        agreement'' means a cooperative agreement or contract 
        (including a sole source contract) entered into between the 
        Secretary and a Governor to carry out authorized restoration 
        services under this Act.
          (5) Governor.--The term ``Governor'' means the Governor or 
        any other appropriate executive official of an affected State.
          (6) Road.--The term ``road'' has the meaning given the term 
        in section 212.1 of title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (as 
        in effect on the date of enactment of this Act).
          (7) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means--
                  (A) the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to 
                National Forest System land; and
                  (B) the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to 
                Bureau of Land Management land.

SEC. 3. GOOD NEIGHBOR AGREEMENTS.

  (a) Good Neighbor Agreements.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary may enter into a good neighbor 
        agreement with a Governor to coordinate the procurement and 
        implementation of authorized restoration services in accordance 
        with this section.
          (2) Public availability.--The Secretary shall make each good 
        neighbor agreement available to the public.
  (b) Timber Sales.--
          (1) In general.--Subsections (d) and (g) of section 14 of the 
        National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 472a(d) and 
        (g)) shall not apply to services performed under a cooperative 
        agreement or contract entered into under subsection (a).
          (2) Approval of silviculture prescriptions and marking 
        guides.--The Secretary shall provide or approve all 
        silviculture prescriptions and marking guides to be applied on 
        Federal land in all timber sale projects conducted under this 
        Act.
  (c) Retention of NEPA Responsibilities.--Any decision required to be 
made under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.) with respect to any authorized restoration services to be 
provided under this Act on Federal land shall not be delegated to a 
Governor.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 327 is to authorize the Secretaries of 
Agriculture and the Interior to enter into cooperative 
agreements with State foresters authorizing State foresters to 
provide certain forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration 
and protection services on National Forests and public lands.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    In 1998, Forest Service and State Forestry officials in 
Colorado developed a proposal to improve coordination across 
federal, state, and private boundaries during hazardous fuels, 
insect and disease, and watershed restoration projects. As a 
result of those discussions, a rider was added to the Interior 
Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2001 that authorized a 
four-year pilot program. Under the program, ``the Secretary of 
Agriculture, via cooperative agreement or contract (including 
sole source contract) as appropriate, may permit the Colorado 
State Forest Service to perform watershed restoration and 
protection services on National Forest System lands in the 
State of Colorado when similar and complementary watershed 
restoration and protection services are being performed by the 
State Forest Service on adjacent State or private lands.'' 
Public Law 106-291, Sec. 331(a) (2000). The so-called ``Good 
Neighbor'' provision also authorized the State to carry out the 
work ``with subcontracts utilizing State contract procedures,'' 
but required the Forest Service to retain the responsibility to 
comply with NEPA. In 2004, the authority was extended for an 
additional 5 years and was expanded to include the Bureau of 
Land Management and projects in the State of Utah. The 
authority in Utah also was expanded to no longer require 
complementary projects to be performed on adjacent land. Public 
Law 108-447, Sec. Sec. 336-337 (2004).
    Since 2000, the States of Colorado and Utah have used the 
authority to carry out approximately $1.4 million of work on 40 
projects in Colorado and 15 in Utah on 2,800 acres of federal 
land (almost all Forest Service). In February of 2009, the 
Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report (GAO-09-
277) on the use of the authority, its successes, and 
challenges. The GAO reported that Federal and State officials 
in Colorado and Utah believed that the authority increased 
project efficiency and effectiveness, and enhanced federal-
state cooperation. The GAO also cited a number of concerns with 
the use of the authority and considerations that should be 
taken into account if the authority were to be extended or 
expanded.
    The current authority for Good Neighbor pilot projects in 
Colorado and Utah expires on September 30, 2013. S. 327 would 
expand the authority across National Forest and BLM lands in 
the West and include a broader range of eligible projects.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Senators Barrasso, Enzi, Hatch, Lee, Johnson of South 
Dakota, Thune, and Udall of Colorado introduced S. 327 on 
February 13, 2013. The Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, 
and Mining held a hearing on S. 327 on April 25, 2013. At its 
business meeting on June 18, 2013, the Committee ordered the 
bill favorably reported with an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute.
    In the 112th Congress, Senator Barrasso introduced 
identical legislation, S. 375. The Subcommittee on Public Lands 
and Forests held a hearing on S. 375 on May 25, 2011 (S. Hrg. 
112-131). A similar bill, S. 1122, was introduced by Senator 
Barrasso in the 111th Congress. The Subcommittee on Public 
Lands and Forests held a hearing on S. 1122 on October 29, 2009 
(S. Hrg. 111-223).
    Similar ``Good Neighbor'' authority also was included as 
section 6 of S. 2798, a bill to reduce the risk of catastrophic 
wildfire through the facilitation of insect and disease 
infestation treatment of National Forest System and adjacent 
land, and for other purposes, introduced by Senators Udall of 
Colorado, Risch, and Crapo. The Committee reported S. 2798 on a 
voice vote with an amendment in the nature of a substitute on 
September 27, 2010 (S. Rept. 111-313). No further action was 
taken in the Senate on either S. 1122 or S. 2798.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

    The amendment in the nature of a substitute makes three 
major changes in the bill. First, the substitute excludes 
wilderness areas, wilderness study areas, and areas where the 
removal of vegetation is prohibited or restricted by an Act of 
Congress or Presidential proclamation from the definition of 
``federal land'' on which authorized restoration services can 
be performed under the bill. Second, the substitute excludes 
construction, reconstruction, repair, or restoration of roads 
or parking areas, and the construction, alteration, repair, or 
replacement of public buildings or works from the definition of 
``forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration services'' 
eligible for Good Neighbor agreements. Third, the substitute 
requires the Secretary to provide or approve all silviculture 
prescriptions and marking guides in all timber sales conducted 
on Federal land under the Act. The amendment is explained in 
detail in the section-by-section analysis, below.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on June 18, 2013, by a voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 327, if 
amended as described herein.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 provides the short title, ``Good Neighbor 
Forestry Act''.
    Section 2 defines key terms used in the Act.
    Section 3 authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to enter 
into good neighbor agreements with a Governor to carry out 
authorized restoration services.
    Subsection (b) exempts timber sales made under a 
cooperative agreement between the Secretary and a Governor from 
subsections (d) and (g) of section 14 of the National Forest 
Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 472a(d) and (g)).
    Paragraph (2) directs the Secretary to approve all 
silviculture prescriptions and marking guides in all timber 
sale projects conducted under good neighbor agreements on 
Federal land.
    Subsection (c) retains the Federal government's 
responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

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

S. 327--Good Neighbor Forestry Act

    S. 327 would authorize the Department of the Interior and 
the Forest Service to enter into cooperative agreements or 
contracts with state foresters in western states to provide 
forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration and protection 
services on lands administered by those agencies. Based on 
information provided by the affected agencies, CBO estimates 
that implementing the legislation would have no impact on the 
federal budget. Enacting the legislation would not affect 
direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go 
procedures do not apply.
    Under current law, the affected agencies have the authority 
to enter into contracts with private companies to carry out 
various activities to conserve federal lands. S. 327 would 
allow those agencies to contract with state foresters to 
accomplish similar work in areas where state and federal lands 
are located in close proximity. Because the bill provides an 
alternative approach to completing projects that would 
otherwise be carried out by the affected agencies or private 
contractors, CBO estimates that implementing the legislation 
would have no impact on the federal budget.
    Any proceeds from timber sales conducted under an agreement 
authorized by the bill would be treated as receipts to the 
federal government as under current law; therefore, CBO 
estimates that enacting the bill would not affect direct 
spending.
    S. 327 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.
    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 S. 327.
    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 S. 327, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    S. 327, 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 Bureau of Land Management and 
the Forest Service at the April 25, 2013, Subcommittee on 
Public Lands, Forests, and Mining hearing on S. 327 follows:

  Statement of Jamie Connell, Acting Deputy Director, Bureau of Land 
                 Management, Department of the Interior

    Thank you for inviting the Department of the Interior to 
testify on S. 327, the Good Neighbor Forestry Act. The bill 
authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to enter into 
cooperative agreements or contracts with a state forester to 
provide forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration and 
protection services on lands managed by the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM). The Administration supports Good Neighbor 
Authority and we would like to work with the Committee to make 
some minor technical corrections. We welcome opportunities to 
enhance our capability to efficiently manage our natural 
resources through a landscape scale approach that crosses a 
diverse spectrum of land ownerships.


                               background


    The BLM is increasingly taking a landscape-scale approach 
to managing natural resources on the public lands. Recent 
drought cycles, catastrophic fires, large-scale insect and 
disease outbreaks, the impacts of global climate change, and 
invasions of harmful non-native species all threaten the health 
of the public lands. They also tax a land manager's ability to 
ensure ecological integrity, while accommodating increased 
demands for public land uses across the landscape.
    The BLM engages in land restoration and hazardous fuels 
reduction activities with interagency partners and affected 
landowners to expand and accelerate forest ecosystem 
restoration. The ``Good Neighbor'' concept provides a mechanism 
to facilitate treatments across the landscape, inclusive of all 
ownerships, and enhances relationships between Federal, state, 
and private land managers.
    In Fiscal Year (FY) 2001, Congress authorized the U.S. 
Forest Service to allow the Colorado State Forest Service 
(CSFS) to conduct activities such as hazardous fuels reduction 
on U.S. Forest Service lands when performing similar activities 
on adjacent state or private lands. The BLM received similar 
authority in Colorado in FY 2004, as did the U.S. Forest 
Service in Utah. The BLM used this ``Good Neighbor'' authority 
beginning in 2006 in the agency's Royal Gorge Field Office. 
Through an assistance agreement with the CSFS, the BLM 
accomplished a fuels reduction and mitigation project within 
and adjacent to the Gold Hill Subdivision of Boulder County. 
The Gold Hill Project treated a total of 372 acres of wildland 
urban interface consisting of 122 acres of BLM land, 27 acres 
of U.S. Forest Service land, and 223 acres of private land. All 
of these acres were identified as priorities within the Gold 
Hill Community Wildfire Protection Plan. Through the assistance 
agreement, the CSFS delineated the areas to be treated within 
the Gold Hill Project, managed the project, administered 
contracts, monitored firewood removal, and monitored forestry 
and fuels projects on BLM and U.S. Forest Service lands. No 
timber was harvested or sold from the BLM lands. The BLM and 
the U.S. Forest Service conducted the project planning and 
fulfilled NEPA requirements on their respective lands.
    The project area consisted of small parcels of Federal 
lands interspersed with state and private lands. Since all the 
landowners used the same State contract, treatments were 
accomplished concurrently and with consistency in treatment 
methods, thereby achieving hazardous fuels reductions across a 
larger area to reduce the risk of wildfire. Efficiencies were 
also realized by utilizing a single contractor to treat one 
large project area. The BLM also realized savings in personnel 
resources. Although the project area was located nearly 200 
miles from the BLM field office, CSFS personnel were in the 
immediate vicinity and were able to conduct the field work for 
the BLM. In addition, the CSFS regularly worked with private 
landowners in the area and easily gained access through the 
private lands to conduct work on the Federal lands, which 
allowed the work to begin quickly. Simplified state contracting 
procedures also expedited the project. The project was 
completed in 2008.
    A February 2009 GAO report examined state service 
contracting procedures regarding transparency, competitiveness, 
and oversight, and found that the state requirements generally 
addressed each of these areas. (GAO-09-277). The GAO issued two 
recommendations to the BLM: 1) To develop written procedures 
for Good Neighbor timber sales in collaboration with each state 
to better ensure accountability for federal timber; and 2) To 
document how prior experiences with Good Neighbor projects 
offer ways to enhance the use of the authority in the future 
and make such information available to current and prospective 
users of the authority. The BLM completed the final corrective 
action plan incorporating these suggestions in September of 
2010.


                                 s. 327


    S. 327 provides for the Secretaries of Agriculture and 
Interior to enter into cooperative agreements and contracts 
with state foresters in any state west of the 100th meridian, 
to provide forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration and 
protection services on National Forest System land or BLM land. 
The success that the BLM experienced in using the Good Neighbor 
authority in Colorado as a cross-boundary management tool would 
be available under S. 375 to all BLM-managed lands throughout 
the west. The authority provided by the bill is discretionary; 
each BLM office could determine on a case-by-case basis whether 
or not the Good Neighbor authority is a desirable option. All 
Good Neighbor projects would be undertaken in conformance with 
land use plans and comply with the National Environmental 
Policy Act, if applicable.
    Section 3(a) of the bill would authorize the Secretary to 
enter into a cooperative agreement or contract with a state 
Forester. For clarification, the BLM suggests an amendment to 
the language to add ``notwithstanding the Federal Grants and 
Cooperative Agreements Act.''
    The provisions in section 3(b) authorize services to 
include activities that treat insect-infected trees; reduce 
hazardous fuels; and any other activities to restore or improve 
forest, rangeland, and watershed health, including fish and 
wildlife habitat. There is no requirement that the BLM-managed 
lands be adjacent to state or private lands to be eligible for 
services. This expansion of authority could be beneficial in 
watershed restoration projects where state and Federal lands 
might not be immediately adjacent to one another, but are 
within the same watershed.
    Accordingly, this expanded authority could enhance the 
effectiveness of landscape-scale treatment.


                               conclusion


    Thank you for the opportunity to testify about Good 
Neighbor Authority and S. 327. The Department of the Interior 
and the BLM welcome opportunities to engage in efforts that can 
advance cooperation of all landowners, improve the 
effectiveness of restoration and fuels treatments, and provide 
cost-effective tools for managing natural resources. I would be 
happy to answer any questions.
                              ----------                              


  Statement of James M. Pena, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest 
           System, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture

    Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Barrasso, and members of the 
Committee, thank you for inviting me here today to testify 
regarding S. 327, the Good Neighbor Forestry Act.
    S. 327 would authorize the Secretary of Agriculture and the 
Secretary of the Interior to enter into cooperative agreements 
or contracts with State foresters authorizing State foresters 
to provide certain forest, rangeland and watershed restoration 
and protection services in states west of the 100th meridian.
    Activities that could be undertaken using this authority 
include: (1) activities to treat insect infected trees; (2) 
activities to reduce hazardous fuels; and (3) any other 
activities to restore or improve forest, rangeland and 
watershed health, including fish and wildlife habitat. The bill 
would authorize the states to act as agents for the Secretary 
and would provide that states could subcontract for services 
authorized under this bill. The bill would require federal 
retention of decision making under the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). The 
authority to enter into contracts or agreements under the bill 
would expire on September 30, 2019.
    We support Good Neighbor Authority (GNA), but would like to 
work with the Committee to make some minor technical 
corrections. We know our Nation's forests face forest health 
challenges, which must be addressed across diverse land 
ownerships. In these times of limited resources, it is 
important to leverage workforce and technical capacities and 
develop partnerships for forest restoration across all lands. 
To that end, we look forward to continuing our work with the 
committee and states.
    This concludes my testimony and I would be happy to answer 
any questions that 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 S. 327 as ordered reported.