Forest Service Payments to Counties- Title I of the Federal Forests County Revenue, Schools, and Jobs Act of 2012: Issues for Congress [March 26, 2012]   [open pdf - 352KB]

"Since 1908, the Forest Service (USFS) in the Department of Agriculture has paid 25% of its receipts to the states for use on roads and schools in the counties where the national forests are located. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the Department of the Interior has paid 50% of its receipts to the Oregon counties where the revested (returned to federal ownership) Oregon and California Railroad (O&C) grant lands are located. Payments under these programs dropped substantially in the 1990s, largely because of declining timber sales. In the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-393; SRS), Congress created an optional alternative payment system for these lands, but the law expired at the end of FY2011. The 112th Congress has considered options for addressing the lower payments from federal lands due to lower timber sales. One bill, H.R. 4019 (Title I, the County, Schools, and Revenue Trust for Federal Forest Land), would establish a new payment program; the House Committee on Natural Resources has ordered the bill reported. The bill would establish the trust with receipts from certain projects, and give the USFS [U.S. Forest Service] the "fiduciary responsibility" to undertake projects to achieve annual revenue requirements in counties that do not opt out of the trust program. The bill would direct the USFS to calculate the revenue requirements and, to implement trust projects, establish procedures for public involvement, environmental reporting, and judicial review. The bill also would direct the allocation and use of the trust payments, and provide appropriations for the payments until trust projects generated receipts for the trust payments."

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CRS Report for Congress, R42452
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