Enacting healthy forests bill in US would substantially increase amount of timber harvested on federal lands, increase direct spending by US$376M in 2014 and by US$86M over 2014-2018 period, Congressional Budget Office finds

WASHINGTON , September 17, 2013 (press release) – As ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources on July 31, 2013

H.R. 1526 would substantially increase the amount of timber harvested on federal lands. The bill also would require the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to make payments in 2014 to certain counties that contain federal lands. Finally, the bill would authorize the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to enter into contracts with non-federal entities to carry out activities related to forest management.

Based on information provided by the affected agencies, CBO estimates that enacting the legislation would increase direct spending by $376 million in 2014 and by $86 million over the 2014-2018 period, but would reduce direct spending by $269 million over the 2014-2023 period. Because the bill would affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply.

In addition, CBO expects that implementing H.R. 1526 would increase discretionary spending for certain Forest Service activities and reduce discretionary spending for certain BLM activities. Based on information from those agencies, CBO estimates that the change in net discretionary spending would not be significant, assuming appropriation actions consistent with the purposes of the bill. Enacting the legislation would not affect revenues.

H.R. 1526 would impose intergovernmental and private-sector mandates, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA), on plaintiffs, including public and private entities, seeking judicial review of some activities on federal lands. CBO estimates that the cost of the mandates would fall below the annual thresholds established in UMRA for intergovernmental and private-sector mandates ($75 million and $150 million in 2013, respectively, adjusted annually for inflation).

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