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                                                        Calendar No. 47
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     109-34

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



 
                 CARIBBEAN NATIONAL FOREST ACT OF 2005

                                _______
                                

                 March 10, 2005.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 272]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 272) to designate certain National Forest 
System land in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as components of 
the National Wilderness Preservation System, having considered 
the same, reports favorably thereon with amendments and an 
amendment to the title and recommends that the bill, as 
amended, do pass.
    The amendments are as follows:
    1. On page 2, line 2, strike ``2004'' and insert ``2004,''.
    2. On page 2, line 10, strike ``1113'' and insert ``1131''.
    3. On page 2, lines 13 and 14, strike ``described in'' and 
insert ``as generally depicted on''.
    4. On page 2, line 21, strike ``described in'' and insert 
``generally depicted on''.
    5. Amend the title so as to read: ``A bill to designate 
certain National Forest System land in the Commonwealth of 
Puerto Rico as a component of the National Wilderness 
Preservation System.''.

                         PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE

    The purpose of S. 272 is to designate approximately 10,000 
acres of the Caribbean National Forest System land in the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as a component of the National 
Wilderness Preservation System.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The Caribbean National Forest (CNF) has long been 
recognized as a special area that is worthy of protection. The 
Spanish Crown proclaimed much of the current CNF as a forest 
reserve in 1824. One hundred years ago, President Theodore 
Roosevelt reasserted the protection of the CNF. The CNF has the 
largest number of species of native trees (with 240) in the 
National Forest System. It contains 50 varieties of orchids and 
over 150 species of ferns. The area is also rich in wildlife 
with over 100 species of vertebrates, including the severely 
endangered Puerto Rican parrot.
    The El Toro Wilderness would be the only tropical forest 
Wilderness in the National Forest System and the first 
Wilderness in Puerto Rico. Wilderness designation will ensure 
that the forest home to these species will remain protected. It 
also will protect the major watersheds in the CNF which provide 
water to over 800,000 residents. The designation will enhance 
protections for the endangered Puerto Rican parrot and permit 
recovery efforts to continue.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 272 was introduced by Senator Clinton for herself and 
Senator Schumer on February 3, 2005. An identical bill (S. 
2334) was introduced by Senator Clinton for herself and Senator 
Schumer in the 108th Congress. The Subcommittee on Public Lands 
and Forests held a hearing on July 21, 2004 (S. Hrg. 108-714). 
The Committee favorably reported S. 2334, without amendment, by 
a unanimous voice vote of a quorum present, on September 28, 
2004 (S. Rept. 108-368). The Senate passed S. 2334 without 
amendment on October 10, 2004. At its business meeting on 
February 16, 2005, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources ordered S. 272 favorably reported, with amendments.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on February 16, 2004, by a voice vote of 
a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 272, if 
amended as described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS

    During the consideration of S. 272, the Committee adopted 
several technical and clarifying amendments.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 provides the short title.
    Section 2 defines key terms.
    Section 3 designates approximately 10,000 acres of the CNF 
as the El Toro Wilderness and directs the Secretary of 
Agriculture to manage the area in accordance to the Wilderness 
Act of 1964 (16 U.S.C. 1131), subject to valid existing rights. 
Subsection (d) provides that nothing in the bill precludes the 
installation and maintenance of certain data collection and 
remote transmission facilities where the Secretary determines 
they are essential to the scientific research purposes of the 
Luquillo Experimental Forest.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office.

S. 272--Caribbean National Forest Act of 2005

    CBO estimates that enacting S. 272 would have no 
significant impact on the federal budget. Enacting the bill 
would not affect direct spending or revenues. S. 272 contains 
no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would have no significant 
impact on the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.
    S. 272 would designate as wilderness approximately 10,000 
acres of land within the Caribbean National Forest/Luquillo 
Experimental Forest, located in Puerto Rico. Based on 
information obtained from the Forest Service, CBO estimates 
that designating that area as wilderness would not 
significantly affect the agency's costs to manage it. We also 
estimate that the proposed designation would have no impact on 
offsetting receipts from programs to develop federally owned 
natural resources.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Megan Carroll 
and Deborah Reis. This estimate was approved by Peter H. 
Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 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. 272.
    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. 272.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The views of the Administration on S. 2334 in the 108th 
Congress were included in testimony received by the Committee 
at a hearing on the bill on July 21, 2004, as follows:

  Statement of Mark Rey, National Forest System, Forest Service, U.S. 
                       Department of Agriculture

    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear 
before you today to provide the Department's views on . . . S. 
2334 to designate certain National Forest System land in the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as components of the National 
Wilderness Preservation System . . .

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    S. 2334 would designate approximately 10,000 acres of land 
in the Caribbean National Forest/Luquillo Experimental Forest 
in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as the El Toro Wilderness 
and as a component of the National Wilderness Preservation 
System. The Department supports S. 2334.
    The bill would provide that designation of the Wilderness 
shall not preclude within the area's boundaries: installation 
and maintenance of hydrologic, meteorological, climatological, 
or atmospheric data collection and transmission facilities when 
they are essential to the scientific research purposes of the 
Luquillo Experimental Forest.
    The Caribbean National Forest encompasses over 28,000 acres 
of land, making it the largest block of public land on the 
island of Puerto Rico. The Forest, locally known as El Yunque, 
is one of the most popular recreation sites in Puerto Rico and 
the National Forest System. Almost a million tourists, from 
Puerto Rico, the U.S. mainland, and abroad experience this 
tropical rain forest environment each year.
    It is the only tropical rain forest in the National Forest 
System and the most accessible in the world. It is also home to 
the Puerto Rican parrot, one of the 10 most endangered birds in 
the world, and nearly 240 species of trees and 120 terrestrial 
animals--four of which are also listed as endangered species.
    The 1997 revised Land and Resource Management Plan for the 
Caribbean National Forest/Luquillo Experimental Forest 
recommended wilderness designation for the 10,000-acre El Toro 
area. We believe the designation of the El Toro Wilderness 
would enhance the area's solitude, scenery and pristine 
qualities of the area. The El Toro Wilderness would become the 
only tropical forest in the National Forest Wilderness System 
and the only wilderness area in Puerto Rico.

                        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. 272 as ordered 
reported.