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                                                       Calendar No. 601
107th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     107-282
======================================================================
 
                      FINGER LAKES NATIONAL FOREST

                                _______
                                

               September 17, 2002.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Bingaman, from the Committee on Energy and National Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1846]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1846) to prohibit oil and gas drilling in 
Finger Lakes National Forest in the State of New York, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
    Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. FINGER LAKES NATIONAL FOREST LAND WITHDRAWAL.

    All Federal land within the boundary of Finger Lakes National 
Forest in the State of New York is withdrawn from all forms of entry, 
appropriation, or disposal under the public land laws and disposition 
under all laws relating to oil and gas leasing.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 1846 is to prohibit oil and gas drilling 
in the Finger Lakes National Forest in the State of New York.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The Finger Lakes National Forest is the only national 
forest within the State of New York and encompasses 
approximately 16,000 acres. The Finger Lakes National Forest is 
within Seneca County. The Forest Service states that lands 
within Seneca County, other than National Forest System lands, 
contain approximately 150 oil and gas wells that have been 
producing natural gas for decades.
    From 1974 to 1984, what is now the Finger Lakes National 
Forest was under lease for oil and gas exploration and 
development. Several dry holes were drilled on nearby private 
lands but no surface disturbance occurred on the Finger Lakes 
National Forest, and the leases expired. In the spring of 1999, 
the BLM received two letters nominating lands on the Finger 
Lakes National Forest for the purpose of oil and gas leasing. 
The BLM cannot consider leasing without the consent of the 
Forest Service. As a result, the Forest Service began to 
examine the issue.
    On December 19, 2001, the Forest Service released a Final 
Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision regarding 
oil and gas leasing on the Finger Lakes National Forest. The 
Record of Decision states that no lands on the Finger Lakes 
National Forest will be offered for oil and gas leasing at this 
time. The Forest Supervisor stated that this decision was made, 
in large part, because of the strong public opposition to oil 
and gas leasing on the Forest. Even the townships and counties 
that would benefit economically from oil and gas leasing on the 
National Forest supported the final decision.
    Representatives of the Forest Service note that the 
December 2001 decision does not mean that lands on the Finger 
Lakes National Forest are permanently withdrawn from future 
consideration of oil and gas leasing. The current Land and 
Resource Management Plan for the Forest deems that natural gas 
development is an appropriate use of the Forest and that oil 
and gas is available for leasing. The question of future 
availability of this resource may be examined in the revision 
of the Finger Lakes National Forest Land and Resource 
Management Plan. The Forest Service expects to complete the 
revision in 2004.
    In order to foreclose a future administrative decision to 
permit oil and gas leasing, S. 1846 permanently prohibits oil 
and gas leasing in the Finger Lakes National Forest.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 1846 was introduced by Senators Schumer and Clinton on 
December 18, 2001. The Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forest 
held a hearing on S. 1846 on June 18, 2002. At the business 
meeting on July 31, 2002, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources ordered S. 1846, as amended, favorably reported.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on July 31, 2002, by a voice vote of a quorum 
present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 1846, if amended as 
described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

    During its consideration of S. 1846, the Committee on 
Energy and Natural Resources adopted an amendment in the nature 
of a substitute which states that all Federal land within the 
boundary of the Finger Lakes National Forest is withdrawn from 
all forms of entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public 
land laws and disposition under all laws relating to oil and 
gas leasing.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 states that all Federal land within the boundary 
of the Finger Lakes National Forest is withdrawn from all forms 
of entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land laws 
and disposition under all laws relating to oil and gas leasing.

                   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, August 8, 2002.
Hon. Jeff Bingaman,
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. 1846, a bill to 
prohibit oil and gas drilling in Finger Lakes National Forest 
in the state of New York.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Megan 
Carroll.
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

S. 1846--A bill to prohibit oil and gas drilling in Finger Lakes 
        National Forest in the state of New York

    S. 1846 would permanently withdraw federal lands within the 
Finger Lakes National Forest in New York from programs to 
develop mineral resources. Withdrawing those lands could reduce 
offsetting receipts from such programs; therefore, pay-as-you-
go procedures would apply. According to the Forest Service, 
however, the agency does not plan to offer any lands within the 
Finger Lakes National Forest for mineral leasing and 
development over the next 10 years. Hence, CBO estimates that 
any forgone offsetting receipts that might result under S. 1846 
would be negligible in any year.
    S. 1846 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Megan Carroll. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, 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. 1846. 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. 1846, as ordered reported.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    On, July 10, 2002, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources requested legislative reports from the Department of 
the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget setting 
forth Executive agency recommendations on S. 1846. These 
reports had not been received at the time the report on S. 1846 
was filed. When the reports become available, the Chairman will 
request that they be printed in the Congressional Record for 
the advice of the Senate. The testimony provided by the 
Subcommittee hearing follows:

 Statement of Tom Thompson, Deputy Chief, National Forest System, USDA 
                             Forest Service

    Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for 
the opportunity to appear before you today. I am Tom Thompson, 
Deputy Chief for the National Forest System, USDA Forest 
Service. I am here today to provide the Department's views on 
S. 1846, to prohibit oil and gas drilling on the Finger Lakes 
National Forest.
    S. 1846 would prohibit the issuance of any Federal permit 
or lease for oil or gas drilling in Finger Lakes National 
Forest in the State of New York. Although the Department does 
not oppose enactment of S. 1846, the measure does raise a 
number of questions for USDA. The Department would like to work 
with the Committee in more detail to address leasing in times 
of national emergency or in response to unforeseen events.
    The December, 2001 revision of the Finger Lakes National 
Forest Land and Resource Management Plan provided that oil and 
gas resources would not be available for leasing. This decision 
reflected the opinion of a vast majority of those responding to 
the draft revision who were strongly against any leasing of 
federal oil and gas resources on the Finger Lakes National 
Forest. A broad group of elected officials at the local, state, 
and federal levels affirmed these opinions. The Record of 
Decision stated that the Forest Service will not consent to 
lease federal oil and gas resources until new information 
becomes available that would prompt the Forest Service to 
initiate a new analysis. An example of new information would 
include a change in public attitude toward the need to access 
oil and natural gas under the Finger Lakes National Forest. 
This may be in the form of domestic energy crisis or other 
unforeseen event. If would not include a new request for 
leasing.
Conclusion
    Although the Department does not oppose enactment of S. 
1846, the Department would like to work with the Committee in 
more detail to address oil and gas leasing in times of national 
emergency or as a result of unforeseen events.
    This concludes my testimony. I would be happy to answer any 
questions that you may 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. 1846, as 
ordered reported.