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H.R.652  Appropriations for Land Acquisitions BAD NEWS  Looks like an addendum to HR-488 and the Wildlands Project to me.  [Clarice Ryan]  Note acquisition of large wildland areas, closing all grazing, mineral rights not owned by U.S., road closures, etc. as part of first round of Forest Service land and resource management plan. 2/16/03

                                                       H.R.652

National Forest Ecosystem Protection Act of 2002 (Introduced in House)

(a) DECLARATION OF POLICY- In order to assure that the American people have large areas of land in healthy natural condition throughout the country, which lands maximize wildland recreational opportunities for people, maximize habitat protection for native wildlife and natural plant communities, and contribute to a preservation of water for use by downstream metropolitan communities and other users, it is hereby declared to be the policy of Congress to secure for present and future generations of Americans the enduring resource of protected large wild lands.

(c) ESTABLISHMENT- To help achieve the policy declared in subsection (a), there is hereby established a National Forest Ecosystem Protection Program to be composed of lands within existing units of the National Forest System that contain one or more large existing wilderness areas as a core area and a primitive area extending outward therefrom, both of which will be designated as Ecosystem Protection Areas by this Act or a subsequent Act of Congress.

SEC. 3. SPECIAL MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS.

(a) WILDERNESS AREA MANAGEMENT- Within the Ecosystem Protection Areas, the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Forest Service (in this Act referred to as the `Secretary'), shall manage the wilderness areas as provided by the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.) and other applicable laws, except that commercial grazing shall be eliminated therein.

(b) PRIMITIVE AREA MANAGEMENT- Within the Ecosystem Protection Areas, the Secretary shall manage the primitive areas so that primitive recreation and habitat for wildlife will be the paramount considerations and that all other multiple use activities will only be used to reinforce the paramount considerations. Commercial grazing shall be eliminated therein.

(c) PROTECTION AND RESTORATION- The Secretary, in consultation with State wildlife officials and through the use of a public participation process, shall promote the reestablishment or protection of as many animal and plant species native to the designated Ecosystem Protection Areas as practical.

SEC. 4. LAND ACQUISITION.

(a) LAND ACQUISITION AUTHORITY- The Secretary shall strive to acquire all private lands, all mineral rights not owned by the United States, and all other interests in lands not owned by the United States, on a willing-seller/willing-buyer basis, located within any wilderness area named in this Act and within the primitive areas delineated pursuant to this Act.

(b) EFFECT OF ACQUISITION- For each acre of land acquired by the Secretary under this section, a payment in lieu of taxes shall be made to the county in which the property is located equal to $1.50 per acre per year, plus an increase every year based on the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index. For these newly acquired acres, no other payment shall be made to the county based on any other Federal law.

SEC. 5. PERMANENT PHASE OUT OF COMMERCIAL GRAZING.

(a) GRAZING PHASE OUT TIMETABLE- The Secretary shall provide for the elimination of commercial grazing on all allotments located wholly or partially in wilderness areas or primitive areas within the Ecosystem Protection Areas. Within allotments located wholly within the core wilderness areas, grazing shall be eliminated in 10 years. Within allotments having more than 50 percent, but less than 100 percent, of their area in core wilderness areas, grazing shall be eliminated in 12 years. Within allotments having 50 percent or less of their area in core wilderness areas, including those allotments located wholly in a primitive area east of the 104th meridian, grazing shall be eliminated in 14 years.

(b) PUBLIC NOTIFICATION- In the case of Ecosystem Protection Areas located west of the 104th meridian, the Secretary shall notify every allottee and allotment manager whose allotment is wholly or partially within a core wilderness area that the allotment will become grazing-free within the number of years provided in subsection (a). The notification shall include the options available to the person under this section. The names and areas of the allotments shall be printed in the local newspapers. Each of these steps shall be completed within one year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(c) ASSISTANCE- In designated Ecosystem Protection Areas, the Secretary--

(1) shall make an economic transition payment to an allotee when grazing is phased out;

(2) shall make an additional early-out payment to a willing allotee for the early permanent retirement of the remaining years of grazing privileges before the applicable date specified in subsection (a);

(3) shall purchase the base property, if so requested by the owner, of any such allotment from a willing seller, if it is located within the boundaries of a unit of the National Forest System;

(4) shall make funds available to the Bureau of Land Management as an economic transition payment for the permanent phase out of grazing on any Bureau of Land Management winter allotment affected by a summer allotment impacted by this Act, if so requested by the allotee;

(5) may grant a one year extension for extenuating circumstances to the number of years indicated in subsection (a) for the allotment to become grazing free, if the allotee applies for the extension from one year to 6 months before the date otherwise applicable under subsection (a);

(6) may allocate any agency funds for these purposes; and

(7) may attempt to acquire any property authorized for purchase by this Act, including the above described base properties and any mineral rights, and to retire the grazing privileges early, in cooperation with land trusts or other private parties dedicated to the preservation of open space.

(d) GRAZING PHASE OUT ON WINTER ALLOTMENTS- The Bureau of Land Management shall permanently phase out grazing on any winter allotment covered by subsection (c)(4).

(e) RELATION TO OTHER LAWS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect the Government's authority to otherwise modify or terminate grazing permits.

(f) NO PROPERTY RIGHT CREATED- Payments distributed according to this section shall not create a property right in grazing permit holders.

(g) TREATMENT OF GRAZING REVENUES- For each grazing allotment affected by this section, the average annual revenues from grazing shall be computed for the three full fiscal years before the date of the enactment of this Act. The number so computed shall be utilized for every year hereafter as a component for any Federal program that provides for payments in lieu of taxes to units of local government, based on revenues received by the Secretary, irrespective of the absence of revenues from that allotment once grazing is phased out.

SEC. 6. FOREST PLAN REVISION ASSESSMENTS.

(a) ASSESSMENTS REQUIRED- In any Ecosystem Protection Area located east of the 104th meridian in the contiguous 48 States, the Secretary shall include the following assessments as part of the first round of Forest Service land and resource management plan revisions for each of these areas made after the date of the enactment of this Act:

(1) An assessment of expanding the designated wilderness area or creating new wilderness areas in all the primitive areas created by this Act.

(2) An assessment of the ecological benefit to be derived from closing any unimproved roads bisecting any such areas within encircling improved roads and from closing any improved roads cherry stemmed into those areas.

(3) An assessment of the appropriate management practices most likely to improve habitat for key species in any of the above described areas, if those areas are not to be proposed to Congress as new wilderness areas.

(b) PUBLIC PARTICIPATION- Each assessment required by this section shall utilize all the procedures designed to provide public input into the Forest Service planning process.

SEC. 7. ORIGINAL ECOSYSTEM PROTECTION AREAS.

(a) IN GENERAL- The original Ecosystem Protection Areas include one or more of the largest existing Forest Service wilderness areas in the following States, including any adjacent wilderness areas or wilderness areas separated by no more than a road corridor, and surrounding primitive areas delineated as provided in section 8 or 9.

(b) DESIGNATION- The Ecosystem Protection Areas, and the wilderness area forming the their core, are as follows:

(1) Alabama:

(A) Sipsey.

(2) Alaska:

(A) Misty Fiords.

(3) Arizona:

(A) Mazatzal.

(B) Blue Range (also in New Mexico), including the Blue Range Primitive Area.

(C) Chiricahua.

(4) Arkansas:

(A) Hurricane Creek.

(B) Upper Kiamichi (also in Oklahoma).

(5) California:

(A) High Sierra, including John Muir, Ansel Adams, Golden Trout, Monarch, Dinkey Lakes, South Sierra, Dome Land, Hoover and Emigrant.

(B) Trinity Alps.

(6) Colorado:

(A) Weminuche.

(B) West Elk.

(C) South San Juan.

(7) Florida:

(A) Big Gum Swamp.

(B) Bradwell Bay.

(8) Georgia:

(A) Cohutta (also in Tennessee).

(B) Southern Nantahala (also in North Carolina).

(9) Idaho:

(A) Central Idaho Massif, including Frank Church-River of No Return, Selway-Bitterroot (also in Montana), and Gospel Hump.

(B) Hells Canyon (also in Oregon).

(10) Indiana:

(A) Charles C. Deam.

(11) Kentucky:

(A) Clifty.

(12) Maine:

(A) Caribou-Speckled Mountain.

(13) Michigan:

(A) Sylvania.

(14) Minnesota:

(A) Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

(15) Missouri:

(A) Irish.

(16) Montana:

(A) Montana Rockies, including Bob Marshal, Great Bear, and Scapegoat.

(B) Central Idaho Massif, including Selway-Bitterroot (also in Idaho).

(C) Yellowstone, including Lee Metcalf and Absaroka-Beartooth (also in Wyoming).

(17) Nevada:

(A) Arc Dome.

(18) New Hampshire:

(A) Pemiwegasset.

(B) Presidential Range-Dry River.

(C) Sandwich Range.

(19) New Mexico:

(A) Gila including Gila and Aldo Leopold.

(B) Blue Range (also in Arizona).

(20) North Carolina:

(A) Citico Creek (also in Tennessee), including Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock.

(B) Southern Nantahala (also in Georgia).

(21) Oklahoma:

(A) Upper Kiamichi (also in Arkansas).

(22) Oregon:

(A) Hells Canyon, including Hells Canyon (also in Idaho) and Eagle Cap.

(23) Pennsylvania:

(A) Hickory Creek.

(24) South Dakota:

(A) Black Elk.

(25) Tennessee:

(A) Cohutta including Big Frog (also in Georgia).

(B) Citico Creek including Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock (also in North Carolina).

(26) Texas:

(A) Upland Island.

(B) Indian Mounds.

(27) Utah:

(A) High Uintas.

(28) Vermont:

(A) Breadloaf.

(B) Lyle Brook.

(29) Virginia:

(A) Mountain Lake (also in West Virginia).

(30) Washington:

(A) North Cascades including Glacier Peak, Pasayten, Lake Chelan-Sawtooth, Mt. Baker, and Noisy Diobsud.

(31) West Virginia:

(A) Cranberry.

(B) Mountain Lake (also in Virginia).

(32) Wisconsin:

(A) Headwaters.

(33) Wyoming:

(A) Yellowstone including Washakie, Teton, North Absaroka, Winegar Hole, Jeddiah Smith, Absaroka-Beartooth (also in Montana) and Lee Metcalf (wholly in Montana).

(B) Wind River including Bridger, Fitzpatrick and Popo Agie.

SEC. 8. DELINEATION OF PRIMITIVE AREAS ON EASTERN NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM LANDS.

(a) DELINEATION REQUIRED; TIMETABLE- In the case of units of the National Forest System located east of the 104th meridian in the contiguous 48 States, the Secretary shall delineate primitive areas around core wilderness areas as soon as practicable, but in no case more than three years after the date of the enactment of this Act, as an amendment to the applicable land and resource management plan.

(b) CONTENT- The primitive areas delineated under this section shall include all areas from the wilderness boundary out to the nearest improved roads on all sides of the wilderness area and enough additional acreage to result in an Ecosystem Protection Area that is at least 50,000 acres and twice as large as the core wilderness area. In all cases, the primitive area shall be as compact as possible and designed to include as many natural communities as possible, including mountains, valleys, and other natural areas.

(c) SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS- In delineating the primitive areas, the Secretary shall exclude as many residential areas as possible. Along national or State designated trails, such as the Appalachian Trail, or natural biological corridors, the Secretary shall extend the primitive areas further in each direction from the core wilderness area.

(d) ROADS- The Secretary shall begin closing unmapped roads, temporary roads, and unimproved cherry-stemmed roads in a primitive area as soon as practicable after the primitive area has been delineated, unless such roads provide access to private property.

(e) GRAZING- Any commercial grazing permitted, as of the date of the enactment of this Act, in the primitive areas delineated under this section shall be phased out as provided in section 5.

SEC. 9. DELINEATION OF PRIMITIVE AREAS ON WESTERN NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM LANDS.

In the case of an Ecosystem Protection Areas located west of the 104th meridian, the Secretary shall identify every grazing allotment that is partially within a core wilderness area, and the portions of those allotments located outside of the core wilderness area shall be the primitive areas for that Ecosystem Protection Area.

SEC. 10. COMPATIBLE MANAGEMENT OF ADJACENT DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR LANDS.

Federal lands administered by the Secretary of the Interior that are adjacent to the Ecosystem Protection Areas shall be managed in a manner compatible with the management of the Ecosystem Protection Areas.

SEC. 11. DEVELOPMENT OF STATE ECOSYSTEM PROTECTION AREAS.

The Secretary shall provide technical and financial assistance to enable States to acquire an Ecosystem Protection Area on State-owned lands of a similar character and size to the Ecosystem Protection Areas designated by this Act. Such State Ecosystem Protection Areas shall be based on one of the largest State-owned Natural Areas, Wilderness Areas, State Parks, State Forests, State Watershed Management Areas, or State Wildlife Management Areas in any State without a National Forest or Grassland of 50,000 or more acres.

SEC. 12. REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.

(a) INFORMATION ON ECOSYSTEM PROTECTION AREAS- As part of the annual report to Congress prepared by the Secretary on the status of the National Wilderness Preservation System, the Secretary shall include appropriate information concerning the Ecosystem Protection Areas and the administration of this Act.

(b) SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR FIFTH REPORT- The annual report described in subsection (a) to be submitted to Congress in the fifth year after the date of the enactment of this Act shall contain the following:

(1) An assessment and evaluation of all steps taken during the four preceding years pursuant to this Act.

(2) Recommendations regarding the designation of additional or the expansion of existing Ecosystem Management Areas.

(3) An evaluation of the effectiveness of the procedures for creating grazing free areas and the environmental advantages created in those areas.

(4) Recommendations regarding whether the procedures evaluated under paragraph (3) should be extended to all Forest Service wilderness areas.

SEC. 13. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

(a) LAND ACQUISITION IN EASTERN UNITED STATES- There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for each of the fiscal years 2004 through 2017 $100,000,000 for the purchase of private lands and other lands not owned by the United States located in primitive areas delineated east of the 104th meridian in the contiguous 48 States. Pending the delineation of primitive areas under section 8, the Secretary shall purchase lands in areas that the Secretary anticipates including in the Ecosystem Protection Areas.

(b) LAND ACQUISITION IN WESTERN WILDERNESS AREAS- There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for each of the fiscal years 2004 through 2017 $5,000,000 for the purchase of private lands and other lands not owned by the United States in the Wilderness Areas located west of the 104th meridian in the contiguous 48 States.

(c) ELIMINATION OF GRAZING- There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for each of the fiscal years 2004 through 2017 $1,000,000 for the purpose of carrying out section 5, including providing economic transition payments, early-out payments, and qualifying base property purchase payments and covering Forest Service expenses in finding an allotee a new allotment, when requested by the allotee.

(d) SUPPORT FOR STATES WITHOUT ECOSYSTEM PROTECTION AREAS- There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for each of the fiscal years 2004 through 2017 $33,000,000 to assist States in the purchase of private lands in a State

 

 

 

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