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Reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools Act and Consideration of the Forest Service Lands Conveyance


A proposal in the Administration's fiscal 2007 budget would permit monetary payments to states in which Forest Service lands are located with a key modification: the sale of a limited number of National Forest System lands to fund continuation of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000.

If adopted, the change will be the payment plan's second major alteration in five years. In 2000, the "Secure Rural Schools" Act separated payments to states from 92 years of timber sales and grazing fees.

To underscore the President’s commitment to states and counties impacted by the loss of receipts associated with lower timber harvests on federal lands, the budget includes a legislative proposal that provides $800 million above the current baseline for a five year extension of forest county safety net payments by amending the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act. These payments will be targeted to the most affected areas. To provide a funding basis to offset these payments from the U.S. Treasury, the proposal would authorize the conveyance of parcels of forest land that are isolated or inefficient to manage due to location or other characteristics.

Since 1908, 25 percent of Forest Service revenues from timber sales, mineral resources, and grazing fees, have been returned to states in which national forest lands are located to help maintain and improve local schools, roads and other activities. Because receipts from timber sales fluctuated over time, in 2000 Congress developed the "Secure Rural Schools" Act to stabilize payments to states for five years, from 2001 to 2006.

Lands proposed for sale would be subject to full public disclosure and scrutiny to ensure they are appropriate for sale. The public will have a 30-day comment period on the list of potentially eligible lands.

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US Forest Service
Last modified March 29, 2013
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