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                                                       Calendar No. 130
106th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     106-60

======================================================================



 
              SEWAGE TREATMENT FACILITY IN SISTERS, OREGON

                                _______
                                

                 June  2, 1999.--Ordered to be printed

    Filed under authority of the order of the Senate of May 27, 1999

                                _______


  Mr. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 416]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 416) to direct the Secretary of 
Agriculture to convey to the city of Sisters, Oregon, a certain 
parcel of land for use in connection with a sewage treatment 
facility, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
with amendments and recommends that the bill, as amended, do 
pass.
    The amendments are as follows:
    1. On page 2, line 18, delete the words ``Not later than 1 
year'' and insert the following: ``As soon as practicable and 
upon completion of any documents or analysis required by any 
environmental law, but not later than 180 days''.

    2. On page 2, strike lines 23 through 25 and insert the 
following: ``conveyance, an amount of land that is not more 
than is reasonably necessary for a sewage treatment facility 
and for the disposal of treated effluent consistent with 
subsection (c).
    ``(b) Land Description.--The amount of land conveyed under 
subsection (a) shall be not less than 160 acres and not more 
than 240 acres from within the following--''
    3. On page 3, strike line 17 through 23.
    4. On page 3, line 24, strike ``(e)'' and insert ``(d)''.
    5. On page 4, strike line 10 and all that follows through 
page 5, line 16.

                         purpose of the measure

    The purpose of S. 416, as ordered reported, is to direct 
the Secretary of Agriculture to convey a parcel of land at no 
cost to the town of Sisters, Oregon. The land conveyed will be 
used to build a sewage treatment facility.

                          background and need

    Sisters, Oregon, has had ongoing concerns about a possible 
outbreak of infectious diseases and groundwater contamination 
from failed and leaking septic systems. Currently, all of the 
homes and businesses in the city limits must use septic 
systems. During the summer months, in order to accommodate 
tourists who often recreate on the surrounding Federal lands, 
the city must place approximately sixty portable toilets 
throughout the town.
    While the city has put together a financing package of 
approximately 7 million dollars to address this problem, this 
does not include funds for land acquisition. Additional funds 
to acquire the land for the treatment facility and for the 
disposition of the treated wastewater are beyond the residents' 
ability to pay. Currently, the Forest Service maintains eleven 
separate septic systems in the city to serve their existing 
administrative buildings and will benefit directly from the 
treatment facility.
    Sisters is literally surrounded by land managed by the 
Forest Service. After examining numerous other non-federal 
sites in or near the city, it was determined that this parcel 
is large enough, and has the proper soil conditions for, 
disposing of the treated wastewater. S. 416 calls for the 
Secretary of Agriculture to convey between 160 and 240 acres of 
land for the facilities at no cost to the town of Sisters. The 
legislation also stipulates that, at the option of the United 
States, the land would revert to the Forest Service upon 
termination of the specified uses.

                          legislative history

    S. 416 was introduced by Senators Smith and Wyden on 
February 11, 1999. A hearing on S. 416 was held before the 
Subcommittee on Forests and Public Land Management on April 28, 
1999. At the business meeting on May 19, 1999, the Committee on 
Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 416, as amended, 
favorably reported.

           committee recommendations and tabulation of votes

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on May 19, 1999, by a voice vote of a quorum 
present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 416, if amended as 
described herein.

                          committee amendments

    During the consideration of S. 416, the Committee adopted 
amendments. The amendments served three primary purposes: (1) 
to require that the conveyance be completed within 180 days 
after the completion of the required environmental analysis and 
documents; (2) to clarify the amount of the land conveyed 
should be not more than is reasonably necessary for the sewage 
treatment facility; and (3) to strike section 3 of the bill.

                      section-by-section analysis

    Section 1 contains findings.
    Section 2 (a) directs that the Secretary of Agriculture, 
upon completion of documents or analysis required by any 
environmental law, to convey to Sisters, Oregon, a parcel of 
land that is not more than is reasonably necessary for a sewage 
treatment facility and for the disposal of treated effluent. 
The committee understands that the environmental analysis and 
documentation is almost completed. Subsection (b) describes the 
land to be conveyed. Subsection (c) requires the city to 
conduct a public process before deciding exactly how the 
effluent will be disposed. Subsection (d) states that if the 
land conveyed is no longer used for sewage treatment and 
disposal, at the option of the Federal Government, the land 
reverts to the Federal Government.

                   cost and budgetary considerations

    The following estimate of the cost of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, May 28, 1999.
Hon. Frank H. Murkowski,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 416, a bill to 
direct the Secretary of Agriculture to convey to the city of 
Sisters, Oregon, a certain parcel of land for use in connection 
with a sewage treatment facility.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Victoria 
Heid Hall (for federal costs), and Marjorie Miller (for the 
impact on state and local governments).
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (for Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

               congressional budget office cost estimate

S. 416--A bill to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to convey to the 
        city of Sisters, Oregon, a certain parcel of land for use in 
        connection with a sewage treatment facility

    S. 416 would direct the Forest Service to convey to the 
city of Sisters, Oregon, between 160 and 240 acres of federal 
land, but not more than is necessary for the city to construct 
a sewage treatment facility. The bill provides that the land be 
conveyed at no cost to the city other than the cost of 
preparing any documents required. According to the Forest 
Service, under current law the agency is likely to sell about 
240 acres to the city of Sisters at fair market value. Based on 
a preliminary appraisal of the land, the city would pay the 
Forest Service between $480,000 and $720,000 for the 
conveyance. Because S. 416 would provide for the conveyance at 
no cost to the city, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would 
result in foregone offsetting receipts, and thus an increase in 
outlays of roughly $600,000 in fiscal year 2000. Consequently 
pay-as-you-go procedures would apply.
    S. 416 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. State 
and local governments might incur some costs as a result of the 
bill's enactment, but these costs would be voluntary. The city 
of Sisters, Oregon, would benefit from enactment of this 
legislation because it would receive land at a negligible cost 
for construction of a sewage treatment facility.
    The CBO staff contacts are Victoria Heid Hall (for federal 
costs), and Marjorie Miller (for the impact on state and local 
governments). This estimate was approved by Robert A. Sunshine, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                      regulatory impact evaluation

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 416. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 416, as ordered reported.

                        executive communications

    On April 16, 1999, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources requested legislative reports from the Department of 
Agriculture and the Office of Management and Budget setting 
forth Executive agency recommendations on S. 416. These reports 
had not been received at the time the report on S. 416 was 
filed. When the reports became available, the Chairman will 
request that they be printed in the Congressional Record for 
the advice of the Senate. The testimony provided by the United 
States Forest Service at the Subcommittee hearing follows:

   Statement of Jack Craven, Director of Lands, Forest Service, U.S. 
                       Department of Agriculture

    Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for 
the opportunity to be here today to present the 
Administration's views concerning S. 416, a bill to convey to 
the city of Sisters, Oregon, a certain parcel of land for use 
in connection with a sewage treatment facility.
    While the Administration supports making federal lands 
available in certain circumstances for public purposes, such as 
wastewater treatment facilities, the Administration opposes 
this bill as it is written. However, the Administration will 
work with you to amend this bill to allow the Townsite Act 
purchase process currently underway to proceed, allow for the 
deposit of the sale receipts under the Sisk Act authority, and 
provide an alternative method for accomplishing necessary 
watershed improvements on Squaw Creek.
    We have three general concerns with S. 416. First, 
authority already exists to make land available to the city of 
Sisters under the Townsite Act. Second, the bill would direct 
the conveyance of National Forest lands to the city of Sisters 
without compensation to the United States for the fair market 
value of the lands conveyed. Third, we cannot support the 
provision in the bill requiring the sale of at least 6 acres of 
National Forest land to generate funds for improving the long-
term condition of the watershed of Squaw Creek, a tributary of 
the Deschutes River, and for improvements to the Sisters Ranger 
District administrative site.
    I would like to address each of these points in more 
detail.
    First, statutory authority already exists for conveyance of 
land to the city of Sisters, Oregon.
    Deschutes National Forest Supervisors have had periodic 
discussions with elected officials in Sisters for over 10 years 
regarding the potential for a land exchange or conveyance for 
the purposes of a wastewater treatment facility. In January, 
1999, Sisters initiated the formal process for land acquisition 
by submitting an application for 240 acres under the authority 
of the Townsite Act. In a letter dated March 10, 1999, Regional 
Forester Robert Williams indicated that he would elevate the 
priority of this project in order to expedite the request. The 
Deschutes National Forest team currently plans to have the 
Environmental Assessment completed for public review in mid-
May, with a decision by July. All deed transfer paperwork is 
being done on a concurrent track. This conveyance should be 
allowed to proceed administratively under the Townsite Act. If 
legislation is needed, then we would support an amendment to 
direct completion of the Townsite Act process.
    Second, S. 416 would convey the property to Sisters at no 
cost, other than for preparation of documents required by 
environmental law in connection with the conveyance.
    Current law requires payment of fair market value for any 
public lands exchanged or conveyed to ensure a fair return to 
the American taxpayers. The Administration believes the 
requirement for fair market value reflects sound principles of 
public policy. As stated previously, we support completion of 
this sale under the Townsite Act which requires purchase at 
fair market value based on the appraised value of the land, and 
does not require new legislation, and an amendment to S. 416 to 
allow for the deposit of the receipts from the sale into a 
special account established under Public Law 90-171 commonly 
known as the Sisk Act.
    Our third concern with S. 416 is that it provides for the 
sale of at least 6 acres of National Forest land to generate 
funds for improving the long-term condition of the watershed of 
Squaw Creek, a tributary of the Deschutes River.
    The Administration does not support the sale of National 
Forest System lands as an appropriate mechanism for funding 
needed watershed improvements on Squaw Creek. The 
Administration, through the Forest Service, would prefer to 
work with the city of Sisters and other interested parties to 
assist community leaders to prepare and develop a proposal for 
funding through programs such as NRCS' Environmental Quality 
Incentives Program or the Section 319 Clean Water Act Non-Point 
Source Management Program. For example, the Forest Service has 
completed a watershed analysis for this watershed, and has the 
necessary background information needed to proceed with this 
approach. Participation in this grant program does not require 
legislation, and we recommend amending this bill to remove the 
watershed improvement proposal.
    Mr. Chairman, while the Administration supports the general 
objective of making Federal lands available for public 
purposes, such as wastewater treatment facilities, the 
Administration opposes S. 416 as written. However, the 
Administration remains open to discussions with the 
Subcommittee regarding an amendment that would provide for fair 
market return to the American public, allow for the deposit of 
the sale receipts under Sisk Act authority, remove the 
provision for the sale of land to generate funds for watershed 
improvements on Squaw Creek.
    This concludes my statement. I would be happy to answer any 
questions you and Members of the Subcommittee might have.

                        changes in existing law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by the bill S. 416, as ordered 
reported.