(Senate - August 04, 2009)

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[Pages S8767-S8773]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


      By Mr. FEINGOLD (for himself, Ms. Cantwell, Mrs. Feinstein, and 
        Mr. Sanders).
  S. 1570. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal 
the percentage depletion allowance for certain hardrock mines, and for 
other purposes; to the Committee on Finance.
  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, today I am reintroducing legislation to 
eliminate from the Federal tax code the ``Percentage Depletion 
Allowance'' for hardrock minerals mined on Federal public lands. I want 
to thank Senators Cantwell, Feinstein, and Sanders for joining me in 
introducing this legislation.
  The Elimination of Double Subsidies for the Hardrock Mining Industry 
Act of 2009 would result in estimated savings of at least $250 million 
over 5 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. Under this 
legislation, half of these savings would be returned to the Federal 
treasury and half would help address the serious contamination at the 
thousands of abandoned mines throughout the U.S.
  Percentage depletion allowances were initiated by the Corporation 
Excise Act of 1909. That's right, these allowances were initiated 100 
years ago. Provisions for a depletion allowance based on the value of 
the mine were made under a 1912 Treasury Department regulation, but 
difficulty in applying this accounting principle to mineral production 
led to the initial codification of the mineral depletion allowance in 
the Tariff Act of 1913. The Revenue Act of 1926 established percentage 
depletion much in its present form for oil and gas. The percentage 
depletion allowance was then extended to metal mines, coal, and other 
hardrock minerals by the Revenue Act of 1932, and has been adjusted 
several times since.
  Percentage depletion allowances were historically placed in the tax 
code to reduce the effective tax rates in the mineral and extraction 
industries far below tax rates on other industries, providing 
incentives to increase investment, exploration, and output. The 
problem, however, is that percentage depletion also makes it possible 
to recover many times the amount of the original investment.
  There are two methods of calculating a deduction to allow a firm to 
recover the costs of its capital investment: cost depletion and 
percentage depletion. Cost depletion allows for the recovery of the 
actual capital investment--the costs of discovering, purchasing, and 
developing a mineral reserve--over the period during which the reserve 
produces income. Under the cost depletion method, the total deductions 
cannot exceed the original capital investment.
  Under percentage depletion, however, the deduction for recovery of a 
company's investment is a fixed percentage of ``gross income,'' namely, 
sales revenue from the sale of the mineral. Under this method, total 
deductions typically exceed the capital that the company invested. The 
set rates for percentage depletion are quite significant. Section 613 
of the Internal Revenue Code contains depletion allowances for more 
than 70 metals and minerals, at rates ranging from 10 to 22 percent.
  There is no restriction in the tax code to ensure that over time 
companies do not deduct more than the capital that they have invested. 
Furthermore, a percentage deduction allowance makes sense only so long 
as the deducting company actually pays for the investment for which it 
claims the deduction.
  The result is a double subsidy for hardrock mining companies: first 
they can mine on public lands for free under the General Mining Law of 
1872, and then they are allowed to take a deduction for capital 
investment that they

[[Page S8768]]

have not made for the privilege to mine on public lands. My legislation 
would eliminate the use of the Percentage Depletion Allowance for 
mining on public lands, while continuing to allow companies to use the 
reasonable cost depletion method for determining tax deductions.
  My bill would also create a new fund, called the Abandoned Mine 
Reclamation Fund. Half of the revenue raised by the bill, or 
approximately $125 million dollars, would be deposited into an 
interest-bearing fund in the Treasury to be used to clean up abandoned 
hardrock mines in states that are subject to the 1872 Mining Law. 
Though there is no comprehensive inventory of abandoned mines, 
estimates put the figure at upwards of 100,000 abandoned mines on 
public lands.
  There are currently no comprehensive Federal or State programs to 
address the need to clean up old mine sites. Reclaiming these sites 
requires the enactment of a program with explicit authority to clean up 
abandoned mine sites and the resources to do it. My legislation is a 
first step toward providing the needed authority and resources.
  In today's budget climate, we are faced with the question of who 
should bear the costs of exploration, development, and production of 
natural resources: the taxpayers, or the users and producers of the 
resource? For more than a century, the mining industry has been paying 
next to nothing for the privilege of extracting minerals from public 
lands and then abandoning its mines. Now those mines are adding to the 
Nation's environmental and financial burdens. We face serious budget 
choices this fiscal year, and one of those choices is whether to 
continue the special tax breaks provided to the mining industry.
  The measure I am introducing is straightforward. It eliminates the 
Percentage Depletion Allowance for hardrock minerals mined on public 
lands while continuing to allow companies to use the reasonable cost 
depletion method for determining tax deductions.
  Though at one time there may have been an appropriate role for a 
government-driven incentive for enhanced mineral production, the 
arguments in favor of a more reasonable depletion allowance that is 
consistent with depreciation rates given to other businesses are 
overwhelming. This corporate subsidy is simply not justified.
  I thank the following organizations for endorsing this legislation: 
EARTHWORKS, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, National 
Wildlife Federation, Pew Environment Group, Taxpayers for Common Sense, 
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited, and the 
Western Organization of Resource Councils.
      By Mrs. FEINSTEIN (for herself and Mrs. Boxer):
  S. 1571. A bill to provide for a land exchange involving certain 
National Forest System land in the Mendocino National Forest in the 
State of California, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Energy 
and Natural Resources.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Deafy 
Glade Land Exchange Act. This legislation would authorize a land 
exchange between the U.S. Forest Service and Solano County to help 
ensure the continued operation of the juvenile correctional facility 
and add nearly 80 acres of wilderness quality land to the Mendocino 
National Forest.
  Nearly 10 years ago at the suggestion of the Forest Service, Solano 
County purchased more than 160 acres of wilderness quality land within 
the Mendocino National Forest--known as Deafy Glade--with the intention 
of exchanging the land for the Fouts Springs Ranch. This legislation 
would facilitate that exchange, so that the counties could own the land 
beneath the facility they operate, and in exchange, the Forest Service 
would acquire a wilderness quality inholding.
  Solano County currently operates a youth correctional facility under 
a Special Use Permit issued by the Forest Service on the Fouts Springs 
Ranch, which covers approximately 82 acres within the boundaries of the 
Mendocino National Forest. Solano County owns the infrastructure but 
leases the land from the Forest Service.
  Solano County has operated the Fouts Springs Youth Facility pursuant 
to a joint powers agreement with Yolo and Colusa counties since 1959. 
The program includes counseling and education, with the goal of giving 
juveniles the skills to successfully reenter their communities.
  More than 20 California counties have placed juvenile offenders at 
Fouts Springs for 6 month, 9 month, or one year periods. The program is 
viewed as a last resort for youth before being referred to a State 
  Specifically, the legislation I am offering today would authorize the 
transfer of Fouts Springs Ranch--approximately 82 acres--from the 
Forest Service to Solano County; and the transfer of more than 160 
acres of the Deafy Glade area in Mendocino National Forest from Solano 
County to the Forest Service.
  The Fouts Spring youth correctional facility is in need of 
substantial upgrades, including the replacement of the main water line, 
electrical system improvements, and renovation of one of the 
dormitories. However, the County has postponed investing in facility 
upgrades until the land exchange is finalized and ownership of the 
Fouts Springs Ranch is transferred to the County.
  Given the substantial investment already made by Solano County and 
the importance of the youth rehabilitation services provided by Fouts 
Springs, I believe the time has come to finalize this land exchange.
  This legislation would not only help ensure the continued operation 
of the Fouts Spring youth correctional facility but it would also add 
nearly 80 acres of wilderness quality land to the Mendocino National 
  I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 1571

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Deafy Glade Land Exchange 


       (a) Definitions.--In this section:
       (1) County.--The term ``County'' means Solano County, 
       (2) Federal land.--The term ``Federal land'' means the 
     parcel of approximately 82 acres of land (including any 
     improvements to the land) that is--
       (A) in the Forest;
       (B) known as the ``Fouts Springs Ranch''; and
       (C) depicted on the map.
       (3) Forest.--The term ``Forest'' means the Mendocino 
     National Forest in the State of California.
       (4) Map.--The term ``map'' means the map entitled ``Fouts 
     Springs-Deafy Glade Federal and Non-Federal Lands'' and dated 
     July 17, 2008.
       (5) Non-federal land.--The term ``non-Federal land'' means 
     the 4 parcels of land comprising approximately 160 acres, as 
     depicted on the map.
       (6) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
     of Agriculture.
       (b) Land Exchange Required.--If the County conveys to the 
     Secretary all right, title, and interest of the County in and 
     to the non-Federal land, the Secretary shall convey to the 
     County all right, title, and interest of the United States in 
     and to the Federal land.
       (c) Map.--
       (1) Availability.--The map shall be on file and available 
     for public inspection in the Office of the Chief of the 
     Forest Service.
       (2) Corrections.--With the agreement of the County, the 
     Secretary may make technical corrections to the map and legal 
     descriptions of the land to be exchanged under this section.
       (d) Applicable Law.--Section 206 of the Federal Land Policy 
     and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1716) shall apply to 
     the land exchange under this section.
       (e) Survey; Administrative Costs.--
       (1) In general.--The exact acreage and legal description of 
     the land to be exchanged under subsection (b) shall be 
     determined by a survey satisfactory to the Secretary.
       (2) Costs.--The costs of the survey and any administrative 
     costs relating to the land exchange shall be paid by the 
       (f) Condition on Use of Conveyed Land.--As a condition of 
     the conveyance of the Federal land to the County under 
     subsection (b), the County shall agree to continue to use the 
     Federal land for purposes consistent with the purposes 
     described in the special use authorization for the Fouts 
     Springs Ranch in effect as of the date of enactment of this 

[[Page S8769]]

       (g) Easement Authority.--The Secretary may grant an 
     easement to provide continued access to, and maintenance and 
     use of, the facilities covered by the special use 
     authorization referred to in subsection (f) as necessary for 
     the continued operation of the Fouts Springs Ranch.
       (h) Management of Acquired Land.--The non-Federal land 
     acquired by the Secretary under subsection (b) shall be--
       (1) added to, and administered as part of, the Forest; and
       (2) managed in accordance with--
       (A) the Act of March 1, 1911 (commonly known as the ``Weeks 
     Law'') (16 U.S.C. 480 et seq.); and
       (B) the laws (including regulations) applicable to the 
     National Forest System.
       (i) Additional Terms and Conditions.--The land exchange 
     under subsection (b) shall be subject to any additional terms 
     and conditions that the Secretary and the County may agree 
      By Mr. WYDEN:
  S. 1573. A bill to amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater 
Study and Facilities Act to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to 
participate in the city of Hermiston, Oregon, water recycling and reuse 
project, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Energy and Natural 
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, today I am introducing legislation to 
provide more clean water for the City of Hermiston, for irrigators in 
the area and for the Umatilla River. It is good for farmers, fish and 
in-stream flows.
  My legislation amends the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater 
Study and Facilities Act--P.L. 102-575--to authorize the City of 
Hermiston, OR, to participate in what is known as the Title XVI water 
reclamation program. This long-standing U.S. Bureau of Reclamation 
program encourages the reclamation and use of municipal, industrial and 
agricultural waste water. In this case, the City of Hermiston will 
treat municipal waste water and deliver it to a local irrigation 
district--the West Extension Irrigation District--for agricultural use. 
My bill is a companion bill to legislation already introduced for this 
same purpose in the House of Representatives by Representative Greg 
Walden, H.R. 2714. As with other Title XVI projects, this legislation 
would authorize the Bureau to assist the City in developing this 
project and provide a cost-share of 25 percent for the project.
  The current Hermiston Water Plant discharges ``Class C'' water that 
can be used only for a limited amount of off-project pastureland 
irrigation or discharged into the Umatilla River. Beginning in December 
2010, a new National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System limit will 
go into effect, changing the water temperature and pollutants 
requirements of treated water being put back into the river. Although 
the city is currently in compliance, once the new limits take effect, 
the city's current plant will not allow the city to meet the new 
requirements. As a result, the city will need to construct a new 
treatment plant, but it would still have difficulty meeting the water 
temperature requirements.
  An upgrade of the plant would not only bring the city into compliance 
with the new discharge requirements, but it would increase the quality 
of the recycled water output from ``Class C'' water to ``Class A'' 
water, making it suitable for all irrigation needs, not just 
pastureland. Further, the proposed new plant would be configured to 
discharge its treated water to the West Extension Irrigation District, 
a Bureau of Reclamation-supported irrigation project. This will 
significantly increase the amount of water available to the District 
and will have a beneficial, long-term impact on a regional farming 
community that faces dwindling water supplies. Acreage available to 
utilize the city's recycled water discharge would increase from roughly 
550 acres to nearly 11,000 acres.
  Finally, by ending the discharge of warmer, lower quality water into 
the Umatilla River, the project will improve the habitat for wildlife 
and fish in the River, especially for endangered and threatened 
species. I am pleased that the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla 
Indian Reservation, which has fishing rights in the Umatilla River, 
supports the city's efforts in this regard.
      By Mr. MERKLEY (for himself and Mr. Lugar):
  S. 1574. A bill to establish a Clean Energy for Homes and Buildings 
Program in the Department of Energy to provide financial assistance to 
promote residential-, commercial-, and industrial-scale energy 
efficiency and on-site renewable technologies; to the Committee on 
Energy and Natural Resources.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of 
the bill be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 1574

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Clean Energy for Homes and 
     Buildings Act of 2009''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

       Congress finds that--
       (1) homes and commercial or industrial buildings in the 
     United States consume significant quantities of energy, 
     including energy for electricity and heating, the generation 
     or combustion of which creates significant quantities of 
     greenhouse gas emissions;
       (2) in most cases, energy efficiency is the most cost-
     effective and rapidly deployable strategy for reducing 
     greenhouse gas emissions, energy demand, and the need for 
     long-distance transmission of energy;
       (3) on-site renewable energy generation reduces greenhouse 
     gas emissions, demand on the electricity transmission grid, 
     and the need for long-distance transmission of energy;
       (4) many energy efficiency measures and on-site renewable 
     energy generation systems produce a net cost savings over the 
     course of the useful life of the measures and systems, and 
     often over a shorter time frame, but the initial expense 
     required to purchase and install the measures and systems is 
     often a significant barrier to widespread investment in the 
     measures and systems;
       (5) financial products, financing programs, and other 
     programs that reduce or eliminate the need for the initial 
     expense described in paragraph (4) can permit building owners 
     to invest in measures and systems that reduce total energy 
     costs and realize net cost savings at the time of the 
     installation of the measures and systems, defer capital 
     expenditure, and enhance the value, comfort, and 
     sustainability of the property of the owners; and
       (6) State and local governments, utilities, energy 
     efficiency and renewable energy service providers, banks, 
     finance companies, community development organizations, and 
     other entities are developing financial products and programs 
     to provide financing assistance for building owners to 
     encourage the use of the measures and systems described in 
     paragraph (4), including programs that allow repayment of 
     loans under programs described in paragraph (5) through 
     utility bills, or through property-based assessments, taxes, 
     or charges, to facilitate loan repayment for the benefit of 
     building owners and lenders or program sponsors.

     SEC. 3. PURPOSE.

       The purpose of this Act is to encourage widespread 
     deployment of energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy 
     technologies in homes and other buildings throughout the 
     United States through the establishment of a self-sustaining 
     Clean Energy for Homes and Buildings Program that can--
       (1) encourage the widespread availability of financial 
     products and programs with attractive rates and terms that 
     significantly reduce or eliminate upfront expenses to allow 
     building owners (including homeowners, business owners, 
     owners of multifamily housing, owners of multi-tenant 
     commercial properties, and owners of other residential, 
     commercial, or industrial properties) to invest in energy 
     efficiency measures and on-site renewable energy systems with 
     payback periods of up to 25 years or the useful life of such 
     a measure or system by providing credit support, credit 
     enhancement, secondary markets, and other support to 
     originators of the financial products and sponsors of the 
     financing programs; and
       (2) help building owners invest in measures and systems 
     that reduce energy costs, in many cases creating a net cost 
     savings that can be realized in the short-term, and may also 
     allow building owners to defer capital expenditures and 
     increase the value, comfort, and sustainability of the 
     property of the owners.


       In this Act:
       (1) Cost.--The term ``cost'' has the meaning given the term 
     in section 502 of the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 (2 
     U.S.C. 661a).
       (2) Direct loan.--The term ``direct loan'' has the meaning 
     given the term in section 502 of the Federal Credit Reform 
     Act of 1990 (2 U.S.C. 661a).
       (3) Loan guarantee.--The term ``loan guarantee'' has the 
     meaning given the term in section 502 of the Federal Credit 
     Reform Act of 1990 (2 U.S.C. 661a).
       (4) Program.--The term ``Program'' means the Clean Energy 
     for Homes and Buildings Program established by section 6.
       (5) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
     of Energy.
       (6) Security.--The term ``security'' has the meaning given 
     the term in section 2 of the Securities Act of 1933 (15 
     U.S.C. 77b).
       (7) State.--The term ``State'' means--
       (A) a State;
       (B) the District of Columbia;
       (C) the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; and

[[Page S8770]]

       (D) any other territory or possession of the United States.


       (a) In General.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall develop and 
     publish for review and comment in the Federal Register near-, 
     medium-, and long-term goals (including numerical performance 
     targets at appropriate intervals to measure progress toward 
     those goals) for--
       (1)(A) a minimum number of homes to be retrofitted through 
     energy efficiency measures or to have on-site renewable 
     energy systems added;
       (B) a minimum number of other buildings, by type, to be 
     retrofitted through energy efficiency measures or to have on-
     site renewable energy systems added; and
       (C) the number of on-site solar energy, wind energy, and 
     geothermal heat pump systems to be installed; and
       (2) as a result of those retrofits, additions, and 
       (A) the quantity by which use of grid-supplied electricity, 
     natural gas, home heating oil, and other fuels will be 
       (B) the quantity by which total fossil fuel dependence in 
     the buildings sector will be reduced;
       (C) the quantity by which greenhouse gas emissions will be 
       (D) the number of jobs that will be created; and
       (E) the estimated total energy cost savings for building 
       (b) Estimates by Originators or Sponsors.--The Secretary 
     may rely on reasonable estimates made by originators of 
     financial products or sponsors of financing programs for 
     tracking progress toward meeting the goals established under 
     this section instead of requiring building owners to monitor 
     and report on the progress.


       (a) Establishment.--There is established in the Department 
     of Energy a program to be known as the Clean Energy for Homes 
     and Buildings Program.
       (b) Eligibility Criteria.--
       (1) In general.--In administering the Program, the 
     Secretary shall establish eligibility criteria for applicants 
     for financial assistance under subsection (c) who can offer 
     financial products and programs consistent with the purposes 
     of this Act.
       (2) Criteria.--Criteria for applicants shall--
       (A) take into account--
       (i) the number and type of buildings that can be served by 
     the applicant, the size of the potential market, and the 
     scope of the program (in terms of measures or technologies to 
     be used);
       (ii) the ability of the applicant to successfully execute 
     the proposed program and maintain the performance of the 
     proposed projects and investments;
       (iii) financial criteria, as applicable, including the 
     ability of the applicant to raise private capital or other 
     sources of funds for the proposed program;
       (iv) criteria that enable the Secretary to determine sound 
     program design, including--

       (I) an assurance of credible energy efficiency or renewable 
     energy generation performance; and
       (II) financial product or program design that effectively 
     reduces barriers posed by traditional financing programs;

       (v) such criteria, standards, guidelines, and mechanisms as 
     will enable the Secretary, to the maximum extent practicable, 
     to communicate to program sponsors and originators, 
     servicers, and sellers of financial obligations the 
     eligibility of loans for resale;
       (vi) the ability of the applicant to report relevant data 
     on program performance; and
       (vii) the ability of the applicant to use incentives or 
     marketing techniques that are likely to result in successful 
     market penetration; and
       (B) encourage--
       (i) use of technologies that are either well-established or 
     new, but demonstrated to be reliable;
       (ii) applicants that can offer building owners payment 
     plans generally designed to permit the combination of energy 
     payments and assessments or charges from the installation or 
     payments associated with financing to be lower than the 
     energy payments prior to installing energy efficiency 
     measures or on-site renewable energy technologies;
       (iii) applicants that will use repayment mechanisms 
     convenient for building owners, such as tax-increment 
     financing, special tax districts, on-utility-bill repayment, 
     or other mechanisms;
       (iv) applicants that can provide convenience for building 
     owners by combining participation in the lending program 

       (I) processing for tax credits and other incentives;
       (II) technical assistance in selecting and working with 
     vendors to provide energy efficiency measures or on-site 
     renewable energy generation systems;

       (v) applicants the projects of which will use contractors 
     that hire within a 50-mile radius of the project, or as close 
     as is practicable;
       (vi) applicants that will use materials and technologies 
     manufactured in the United States;
       (vii) partnerships with or other involvement of State 
     workforce investment boards, labor organizations, community-
     based organizations, State-approved apprenticeship programs, 
     and other job training entities; and
       (viii) applicants that can provide financing programs or 
     financial products that mitigate barriers other than the 
     initial expense of installing measures or technologies, such 
     as unfavorable lease terms.
       (3) Diverse portfolio.--In establishing criteria and 
     selecting applicants to receive financial assistance under 
     subsection (c), to the maximum extent practicable, the 
     Secretary shall select a portfolio of investments that 
     reaches a diversity of building owners, including--
       (A) individual homeowners;
       (B) multifamily apartment building owners;
       (C) condominium owners associations;
       (D) commercial building owners, including multi-tenant 
     commercial properties; and
       (E) industrial building owners.
       (c) Financial Assistance.--
       (1) In general.--For applicants determined to be eligible 
     under criteria established under subsection (b), the 
     Secretary may provide financial assistance in the form of 
     direct loans, letters of credit, loan guarantees, insurance 
     products, other credit enhancements or debt instruments 
     (including securitization or indirect credit support), or 
     other financial products to promote the widespread deployment 
     of, and mobilize private sector support of credit and 
     investment institutions for, energy efficiency measures and 
     on-site renewable energy generation systems in buildings.
       (2) Financial products.--The Secretary--
       (A) in cooperation with Federal, State, local, and private 
     sector entities, shall develop debt instruments that provide 
     for the aggregation of, or directly aggregate, programs for 
     the deployment of energy efficiency measures and on-site 
     renewable energy generation systems on a scale appropriate 
     for residential, commercial, or industrial applications; and
       (B) may insure, guarantee, purchase, and make commitments 
     to purchase any debt instrument associated with the 
     deployment of clean energy technologies (including 
     subordinated securities) for the purpose of enhancing the 
     availability of private financing for the deployment of 
     energy efficiency measures and on-site renewable energy 
     generation systems.
       (3) Application review.--
       (A) In general.--To the maximum extent practicable and 
     consistent with sound business practices, the Secretary shall 
     seek to expedite reviews of applications for credit support 
     under this Act in order to communicate to applicants in a 
     timely manner the likelihood of support so that the 
     applicants can seek private capital in order to receive final 
       (B) Mechanisms.--In carrying out this paragraph, the 
     Secretary shall consider using mechanisms such as--
       (i) a system for conditional pre-approval that informs 
     applicants that final applicants will be approved, if 
     established conditions are met;
       (ii) clear guidelines that communicate to applicants what 
     level of performance on eligibility criteria will ensure 
     approval for credit support or resale;
       (iii) in the case of an applicant portfolio of more than 
     300 loans or other financial arrangement, an expedited review 
     based on statistical sampling to ensure that the loan or 
     other financial arrangement meets the eligibility criteria; 
       (iv) in the case of an applicant with a demonstrated track 
     record with respect to successfully originating eligible 
     loans or other financial arrangements and who meets 
     appropriate other criteria determined by the Secretary, a 
     system for delegating responsibility for meeting eligibility 
     criteria that includes appropriate protections such as buy-
     back mechanisms in the event criteria are determined not to 
     have been met.
       (C) Disposition of debt or interest.--The Secretary may 
     acquire, hold, and sell or otherwise dispose of, pursuant to 
     commitments or otherwise, any debt associated with the 
     deployment of clean energy technologies or interest in the 
       (D) Pricing.--
       (i) In general.--The Secretary may establish requirements, 
     and impose charges or fees, which may be regarded as elements 
     of pricing, for different classes of applicants, originators, 
     sellers, servicers, or services.
       (ii) Classification of applicants, originators, sellers and 
     servicers.--For the purpose of clause (i), the Secretary may 
     classify applicants, originators, sellers and servicers as 
     necessary to promote transparency and liquidity and properly 
     characterize the risk of default.
       (E) Secondary market support.--
       (i) In general.--The Secretary may lend on the security of, 
     and make commitments to lend on the security of, any debt 
     that the Secretary has insured, guaranteed, issued or is 
     authorized to purchase under this section.
       (ii) Authorized actions.--On such terms and conditions as 
     the Secretary may prescribe, the Secretary may--

       (I) give security;
       (II) insure;
       (III) guarantee;
       (IV) purchase;
       (V) sell;
       (VI) pay interest or other return; and
       (VII) issue notes, debentures, bonds, or other obligations 
     or securities.

       (F) Lending activities.--
       (i) In general.--The Secretary shall determine--

[[Page S8771]]

       (I) the volume of the lending activities of the Program; 
       (II) the types of loan ratios, risk profiles, interest 
     rates, maturities, and charges or fees in the secondary 
     market operations of the Program.

       (ii) Objectives.--Determinations under clause (i) shall be 
     consistent with the objectives of--

       (I) providing an attractive investment environment for 
     programs that install energy efficiency measures or on-site 
     renewable energy generation technologies;
       (II) making the operations of the Program self-supporting 
     over the long term; and
       (III) advancing the goals established under this Act.

       (G) Exempt securities.--All securities issued, insured, or 
     guaranteed by the Secretary shall, to the same extent as 
     securities that are direct obligations of or obligations 
     guaranteed as to principal or interest by the United States, 
     be considered to be exempt securities within the meaning of 
     the laws administered by the Securities and Exchange 


       (a) Periodic Reports.--Not later than 1 year after 
     commencement of operation of the Program and at least 
     biannually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the 
     Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate and 
     the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of 
     Representatives a report that includes a description of the 
     Program in meeting the purpose and goals established by or 
     pursuant to this Act.
       (b) Audits by the Comptroller General.--
       (1) In general.--The programs, activities, receipts, 
     expenditures, and financial transactions of the Program shall 
     be subject to audit by the Comptroller General of the United 
     States under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed 
     by the Comptroller General.
       (2) Access.--The representatives of the Government 
     Accountability Office shall--
       (A) have access to the personnel and to all books, 
     accounts, documents, records (including electronic records), 
     reports, files, and all other papers, automated data, things, 
     or property belonging to, under the control of, or in use by 
     the Program, or any agent, representative, attorney, advisor, 
     or consultant retained by the Program, and necessary to 
     facilitate the audit;
       (B) be afforded full facilities for verifying transactions 
     with the balances or securities held by depositories, fiscal 
     agents, and custodians;
       (C) be authorized to obtain and duplicate any such books, 
     accounts, documents, records, working papers, automated data 
     and files, or other information relevant to the audit without 
     cost to the Comptroller General; and
       (D) have the right of access of the Comptroller General to 
     such information pursuant to section 716(c) of title 31, 
     United States Code.
       (3) Assistance and cost.--
       (A) In general.--For the purpose of conducting an audit 
     under this subsection, the Comptroller General may, in the 
     discretion of the Comptroller General, employ by contract, 
     without regard to section 3709 of the Revised Statutes (41 
     U.S.C. 5), professional services of firms and organizations 
     of certified public accountants for temporary periods or for 
     special purposes.
       (B) Reimbursement.--
       (i) In general.--On the request of the Comptroller General, 
     the Secretary shall reimburse the General Accountability 
     Office for the full cost of any audit conducted by the 
     Comptroller General under this subsection.
       (ii) Crediting.--Such reimbursements shall--

       (I) be credited to the appropriation account entitled 
     ``Salaries and Expenses, Government Accountability Office'' 
     at the time at which the payment is received; and
       (II) remain available until expended.


       There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this 
     Act $2,000,000,000.
      By Mr. UDALL of Colorado (for himself and Mr. Bennet):
  S. 1575. A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to ensure that 
excess oil and gas lease revenues are distributed in accordance with 
the Mineral Leasing Act, and for other purposes; to the Committee on 
Energy and Natural Resources.
  Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. President, today I am introducing the 
Naval Oil Shale Reserve Mineral Royalty Revenue Allocation Act. It is a 
bill designed to release mineral royalty receipts to Colorado where the 
receipts were generated from gas development within this reserve on the 
western slope near Rifle, Colorado.
  By way of background, in 1997, Congress transferred the federal Naval 
Oil Shale Reserve lands in western Colorado from the U.S. Department of 
Energy, DOE, to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, BLM, and directed 
the BLM to begin leasing the oil and gas resources under these lands. 
The Transfer Act also directed that the royalties recouped from this 
leasing program be set aside and the state portion not disbursed to 
Colorado until the Interior Department and the DOE certified that 
enough money from the royalty receipts accrued to satisfy two purposes.
  The first was to provide funding to clean up the Anvil Points site on 
these lands. Anvil Points was an oil shale research facility that 
operated within the Naval Oil Shale Reserve for about 40 years. The 
facility was operated by DOE at one point, and private industry 
performed research there under contract. Waste material was produced at 
this facility from oil shale mining and processing. That waste 
accumulated in a pile of about 300,000 cubic yards of spent oil shale 
and other material--including arsenic and other heavy metals--which 
rests on slopes below the facility.
  The second purpose was for the reimbursement of certain costs related 
to the transfer.
  Following the transfer to the BLM, this area experienced significant 
natural gas leasing and, as a result, significant royalty revenue was 
  On August 8, 2008, the DOI and DOE certified that adequate funds had 
accrued to accomplish the goals of cleanup and cost reimbursement and 
subsequently allocated all royalty revenue generated after this date 
according to the Mineral Leasing Act, which establishes that Colorado 
receive a proportionate share.
  However, considerably more revenue accrued than was necessary to 
accomplish the cleanup and cost reimbursement goals. This bill would 
direct that this additional royalty revenue be allocated to Colorado 
according to the formulas and processes established for the 
disbursement of federal mineral royalties under the Mineral Leasing 
  The bill also directs that the Colorado share of this remaining 
royalty revenue be allocated to the two Counties directly impacted by 
oil and gas leasing on the Naval Oil Shale Reserve lands--specifically, 
Garfield and Rio Blanco Counties. The bill further requires that the 
royalties be used to address these impacts through activities such as 
land and water restoration, road repair, and other capital improvement 
  Based on figures provided by the BLM, there remains approximately $17 
million in these accounts for Colorado's royalty revenue share. This 
bill would make Colorado whole and provide it with its rightful share 
of the remaining royalty revenue to address critical local needs and 
impacts from the very leasing that produced the royalty revenue.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was orderd to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 1575

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       Section 7439(f) of title 10, United States Code, is amended 
     by adding at the end the following:
       ``(3)(A) The moneys deposited in the Treasury under 
     paragraph (1) that exceed the amounts described in 
     subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (2) shall be 
     transferred by the Secretary of the Treasury in accordance 
     with section 35 of the Mineral Leasing Act (30 U.S.C. 191) to 
     the State of Colorado for use in accordance with subparagraph 
       ``(B) Amounts transferred to the State of Colorado under 
     subparagraph (A) shall be used by the State and political 
     subdivisions of the State for--
       ``(i) conservation, restoration, and protection of land, 
     water, and wildlife resources affected by oil or gas 
     development activities in Garfield and Rio Blanco Counties in 
     the State;
       ``(ii) repair, maintenance, and construction of State and 
     county roads in each of those counties; and
       ``(iii) the conduct of capital improvement projects 
     (including the construction and maintenance of sewer and 
     water treatment plants) that are designed and carried out to 
     address the impacts of oil and gas development activities in 
     each of those counties.''.
      By Mrs. SHAHEEN (for herself, Ms. Snowe, Ms. Collins, Mr. 
        Sanders, Mr. Merkley, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Wyden, and Mr. Schumer):
  S. 1576. A bill to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish 
a carbon incentives program to achieve supplemental greenhouse gas 
emission reductions on private forest land of the

[[Page S8772]]

United States, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Agriculture, 
Nutrition, and Forestry.
  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce legislation 
that will establish a Forest Carbon Incentives Program to help 
America's family forest owners slow climate change by increasing carbon 
sequestration and storage on private forestland. This will be critical 
for our national climate change response, and will create important 
economic opportunities for landowners across America. I want to thank 
my colleagues, Senators Snowe, Collins, Sanders, Merkley, Wyden, Leahy 
and Schumer, with whom I have worked closely to draft this bill. I also 
want to acknowledge Senator Stabenow, who has long provided leadership 
on this issue of carbon sequestration.
  This legislation is driven by a simple fact: we cannot achieve our 
greenhouse gas reduction goals without comprehensive and effective 
utilization of U.S. forests for carbon sequestration. The U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency estimates that U.S. forests currently 
sequester a remarkable 10 percent of our annual U.S. carbon emissions. 
Even more remarkably, the EPA estimates that we could double this 
sequestration capacity to 20 percent of emissions with the right 
management and conservation.
  Unlike some of our emerging energy technologies, forest carbon 
sequestration is a climate strategy that is ready to go to work right 
now on meeting our emissions reduction goals. We can immediately put 
forest owners to work on their lands undertaking activities to help 
move us to that 20 percent sequestration goal, and create new revenue 
streams for those small and family landowners to help them navigate 
through these troubled economic times.
  One important pathway to achieve these forest carbon sequestration 
goals will be through carbon offset markets. For those able to 
participate, carbon offset programs will provide important financial 
incentives for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while, at 
the same time, helping to keep the costs of a climate program low. The 
opportunity to earn offset credits will create a financial incentive 
for large forest landowners to undertake activities that increase 
carbon sequestration and storage on their lands and that can be 
measured and verified with the precision necessary to meet rigorous 
environmental integrity requirements.
  However, offset markets will not be easily accessible to the many 
family forest owners and other smaller landowners who do not have the 
necessary economies of scale to effectively participate in offset 
markets. Offset projects come with many upfront and ongoing 
transactional expenses that will undermine financial gains and 
constrain the flexibility that family forest owners and other smaller 
scale landowners will require to participate.
  Furthermore, there are some important types of carbon sequestration 
and storage activities, such as permanent conservation easements, that 
produce real carbon gains over the long term but are hard to quantify 
with the precision necessary for offset markets.
  We also need to engage the full range of carbon strategies to meet 
our carbon sequestration goals, even if they cannot conform to the 
requirements of offsets.
  Engaging family forest owners in sequestration is no small piece of 
the forest carbon equation--America's family forest owners control more 
than half of all U.S. private forestland, with 119 million acres in 
ownerships of 100 acres or less. We must create new tools to engage 
these individuals in efforts to sequester carbon and provide economic 
opportunities to gain financial incentives for doing that work.
  In my home State of New Hampshire, our forests embody this diverse 
ownership pattern and the unique opportunity to address climate change 
through forest carbon incentives. New Hampshire is the second most 
forested state in the nation, and more than 80 percent of that 
forestland is in private hands. We do have some large private 
ownerships, including large blocks of working forestland. But most of 
our privately owned forestland is in small ownerships--averaging 37.5 
acres. According to the U.S. Forest Service, 49 percent of New 
Hampshire's forestland, 2,358,000 acres, is in family ownership, with 
124,000 family forest owners in the Granite State.
  If these landowners could aggregate their capacity to store carbon on 
the 2 million acres they own, they could make a significant 
contribution to needed reductions in the presence of carbon dioxide in 
our atmosphere. Each year New Hampshire forests already take up by 
photosynthesis 25 percent of the total CO2 emitted by the State from 
man-made sources.
  But we can capture even more carbon in our Nation's forests with the 
right incentives like those in our proposed program. Creating 
incentives for forest carbon would represent a win-win for New 
Hampshire and a win-win in every State in the Nation that has privately 
owned forested landscapes.
  Simply, the Forest Carbon Incentives Program will provide financial 
incentives for small private forest owners to engage in carbon 
sequestration activities and help our country meet its desired carbon 
reduction goals. The Forest Carbon Incentives Program will be run 
through the U.S. Forest Service and State forestry agencies. These 
experienced forest professionals will work with interested private 
forest owners to develop a ``climate mitigation contract'' for 
undertaking forest management activities that will increase carbon 
absorption and storage. Incentives will be awarded on a straightforward 
``practices per acre'' basis, giving landowners a clear and simple 
agreement and reliable incentive payments. Carbon reductions achieved 
through these practices are not required to be permanently stored, so 
landowners will retain more flexibility with future management 
decisions. This simple and efficient program structure will enable 
landowners at any scale to participate, especially family forest owners 
holding smaller parcels that are unlikely to participate in carbon 
offset markets.
  The program will create additional incentive opportunities for 
interested landowners to protect carbon gains achieved through a 
climate mitigation contract. Landowners can gain ``bonus'' incentive 
payments for also undertaking management that addresses pests, fire, 
and other threats that could damage forests and release the carbon that 
has been stored there. Landowners can also be paid for a permanent 
conservation easement that will assure that their lands in the program 
will never be developed, thereby protecting the carbon in those 
  This legislation already enjoys support from a broad spectrum of 
national organizations that care about America's forests, such as the 
American Forest Foundation, the National Association of State 
Foresters, The Trust for Public Land, the National Wildlife Federation, 
and The Nature Conservancy among many others. Of equal importance, it 
has earned broad support from local, state, and regional interest 
groups, including the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire 
Forests, New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, Northland Forest 
Products, Appalachian Mountain Club, and a host of other leading forest 
organizations in my home state.
  America must use every tool available to address climate change, and 
should especially favor strategies that are ready to go now and that 
create new economic opportunities. This legislation will provide both a 
meaningful climate mitigation strategy and create real jobs in the 
woods. I encourage my fellow Senators to consider it carefully.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 1576

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Forest Carbon Incentives 
     Program Act of 2009''.

                   FOREST LAND.

       (a) Definitions.--In this section:
       (1) Avoided deforestation agreement.--The term ``avoided 
     deforestation agreement'' means a permanent conservation 
     easement that--
       (A) covers eligible land that--
       (i) is enrolled under a climate mitigation contract; and
       (ii) will not be converted for development; and

[[Page S8773]]

       (B) is consistent with the guidelines for--
       (i) the Forest Legacy Program established under section 7 
     of the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act (16 U.S.C. 2103c); 
       (ii) any other program approved by the Secretary for use 
     under this section to provide consistency with Federal legal 
     requirements for permanent conservation easements.
       (2) Climate mitigation contract; contract.--The term 
     ``climate mitigation contract'' or ``contract'' means a 
     contract of not less than 15 years that specifies--
       (A) the eligible practices that will be undertaken;
       (B) the acreage of eligible land on which the practices 
     will be undertaken;
       (C) the agreed rate of compensation per acre; and
       (D) a schedule to verify that the terms of the contract 
     have been fulfilled.
       (3) Eligible land.--The term ``eligible land'' means forest 
     land in the United States that is privately owned at the time 
     of initiation of a climate mitigation contract.
       (4) Eligible practice.--The term ``eligible practice'' 
     means a forestry practice, including improved forest 
     management that produces marketable forest products, that is 
     determined by the Secretary to provide measurable increases 
     in carbon sequestration and storage beyond customary 
     practices on comparable land.
       (5) Program.--The term ``program'' means the carbon 
     incentives program established under this section.
       (6) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
     of Agriculture.
       (b) Supplemental Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions in the 
     United States.--
       (1) In general.--The Secretary shall establish a carbon 
     incentives program to achieve supplemental greenhouse gas 
     emission reductions on private forest land of the United 
       (2) Financial incentive payments.--
       (A) In general.--The Secretary shall provide to owners of 
     eligible land financial incentive payments for--
       (i) eligible practices that measurably increase carbon 
     sequestration and storage over a designated period on 
     eligible land, as specified through a climate mitigation 
     contract; and
       (ii) subject to subparagraph (B), permanent avoided 
     deforestation agreements on eligible land covered under a 
     climate mitigation contract.
       (B) No agreement required.--Eligibility for financial 
     incentive payments under a climate mitigation contract 
     described in subparagraph (A)(i) shall not require an avoided 
     deforestation agreement.
       (c) Performance of Supplemental Reductions.--In carrying 
     out the program, the Secretary shall report under subsection 
     (f) on progress toward reaching the following levels of 
     carbon sequestration and storage through climate mitigation 
       (1) 100,000,000 tons of carbon reductions by 2020.
       (2) 200,000,000 tons of further carbon reductions by 2030.
       (d) Program Requirements.--
       (1) Contract required.--To participate in the program, an 
     owner of eligible land shall enter into a climate mitigation 
     contract with the Secretary.
       (2) Program components.--In establishing the program, the 
     Secretary shall provide that--
       (A) funds provided under this section shall not be 
     substituted for, or otherwise used as a basis for reducing, 
     funding authorized or appropriated under other programs to 
     compensate owners of eligible land for activities that are 
     not covered under a climate mitigation contract;
       (B) emission reductions or sequestration achieved through a 
     climate mitigation contract shall not be eligible for 
     crediting under any federally established carbon offset 
     program; and
       (C) compensation for activities under this program shall be 
     set at such a rate so as not to exceed the net estimated 
     benefit an owner of eligible land would receive for similar 
     practices under any federally established carbon offset 
     program, taking into consideration the costs associated with 
     the issuance of credits and compliance with reversal 
       (3) Reversals.--
       (A) In general.--In developing regulations for climate 
     mitigation contracts, the Secretary shall specify 
     requirements in accordance with this paragraph to address 
     intentional or unintentional reversal of carbon sequestration 
     during the contract period.
       (B) Intentional reversals.--If the Secretary finds an owner 
     of eligible land violated a climate mitigation contract by 
     intentionally reversing a practice or otherwise intentionally 
     failing to comply with the contract, the Secretary shall 
     terminate the contract and require the owner to repay any 
     contract payments in an amount that reflects the lost carbon 
       (C) Unintentional reversal.--If the Secretary finds an 
     eligible practice has been unintentionally reversed due to 
     events outside the control of the owner of eligible land, the 
     Secretary shall reevaluate and may modify or terminate the 
     climate mitigation contract, after consultation with the 
     owner, taking into consideration lost carbon sequestration 
     and the future carbon sequestration potential of the 
       (e) Incentive Payments.--
       (1) Regulations.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue regulations 
     that specify eligible practices and related compensation 
     rates, standards, and guidelines as the basis for entering 
     into climate mitigation contracts with owners of eligible 
       (2) Set-aside of funds for certain purposes.--
       (A) In general.--Not less than 35 percent of program funds 
     made available under this program for a fiscal year shall be 
       (i) to provide additional incentives for owners of eligible 
     land that carry out activities and enter into agreements that 
     protect carbon reductions and otherwise enhance environmental 
     benefits achieved under a climate mitigation contract; and
       (ii) to develop forest carbon monitoring and methodologies 
     that will improve the tracking of carbon gains achieved under 
     the program.
       (B) Use.--Of the amount of program funds made available for 
     a fiscal year, the Secretary shall use--
       (i) at least 25 percent to make funds available on a 
     competitive basis to compensate owners for entering avoided 
     deforestation agreements on land subject to a climate 
     mitigation contract;
       (ii) not more than 10 percent to provide incentive payments 
     for additional management activities that increase the 
     adaptive capacity of land under a climate mitigation 
     contract; and
       (iii) not more than 2 percent for the Forest Inventory and 
     Analysis Program of the Forest Service to develop improved 
     measurement and monitoring of forest carbon stocks.
       (f) Program Measurement, Monitoring, Verification, and 
       (1) Measurement, monitoring, and verification.--The 
     Secretary shall establish and implement protocols that 
     provide monitoring and verification of compliance with 
     climate mitigation contracts, including both direct and 
     indirect effects and any reversal of sequestration.
       (2) Reporting requirement.--At least annually, the 
     Secretary shall submit to Congress a report that contains--
       (A) an estimate of annual and cumulative reductions 
     achieved as a result of the program, determined using 
     standardized measures, including measures of economic 
     efficiency; and
       (B) a summary of any changes to the program that will be 
     made as a result of program measurement, monitoring, and 
       (3) Availability of report.--Each report required by this 
     subsection shall be available to the public through the 
     website of the Department of Agriculture.
       (4) Program adjustments.--At least once every 2 years the 
     Secretary shall adjust eligible practices and compensation 
     rates for future climate mitigation contracts based on the 
     results of monitoring under paragraph (1) and reporting under 
     paragraph (2).
       (g) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized 
     to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as are