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S. 571: Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land Adjustment Act

The text of the bill below is as of Mar 8, 2017 (Introduced).


II

115th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 571

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 8, 2017

(for himself and Mr. Isakson) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

A BILL

To authorize the sale of certain National Forest System land in the State of Georgia.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest Land Adjustment Act .

2.

Findings and definition

(a)

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

certain National Forest System land in the State of Georgia consists of isolated tracts that are inefficient to manage or have lost their principal value for National Forest purposes;

(2)

the disposal of that land would be in the public interest; and

(3)

proceeds from the sale of land authorized by this Act would be used best by the Forest Service to purchase land for National Forest purposes in the State of Georgia.

(b)

Definition of Secretary

In this Act, the term Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture.

3.

Land conveyance authority

(a)

In general

The Secretary is authorized, under such terms and conditions as the Secretary may prescribe, to sell or exchange any or all rights, title, and interest of the United States in the National Forest System land described in subsection (b).

(b)

Land authorized for disposal

(1)

In general

The National Forest System land subject to sale or exchange under this Act are 30 tracts of land totaling approximately 3,841 acres, which are generally depicted on 2 maps entitled Priority Land Adjustments, State of Georgia, U.S. Forest Service–Southern Region, Oconee and Chattahoochee National Forests, U.S. Congressional Districts–8, 9, 10 & 14 and dated September 24, 2013.

(2)

Maps

The maps described in paragraph (1) shall be on file and available for public inspection in the Office of the Forest Supervisor, Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, until such time as the land is sold or exchanged.

(3)

Modification of boundaries

The Secretary may modify the boundaries of the land described in paragraph (1) based on land management considerations.

(c)

Form of conveyance

(1)

Quitclaim deed

The Secretary shall convey land sold under this Act by quitclaim deed.

(2)

Reservations

The Secretary may reserve any rights-of-way or other rights or interests in land sold or exchanged under this Act that the Secretary considers necessary for management purposes or to protect the public interest.

(d)

Valuation

(1)

Market value

The Secretary may not sell or exchange land under this Act for less than market value, as determined by appraisal or through competitive bid.

(2)

Appraisal requirements

Any appraisal shall be—

(A)

consistent with the Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions or the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice; and

(B)

subject to the approval of the Secretary.

(e)

Consideration

(1)

Cash

Consideration for a sale of land or equalization of an exchange shall be paid in cash.

(2)

Exchange

Notwithstanding section 206(b) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1716(b)), the Secretary may accept a cash equalization payment in excess of 25 percent of the value of any land exchanged.

(f)

Method of sale

(1)

Options

The Secretary may sell land under subsection (a) at public or private sale, including competitive sale by auction, bid, or otherwise, in accordance with such terms, conditions, and procedures as the Secretary determines are in the best interest of the United States.

(2)

Solicitations

The Secretary may—

(A)

make public or private solicitations for the sale or exchange of land authorized by this Act; and

(B)

reject any offer that the Secretary determines is not adequate or not in the public interest.

(g)

Brokers

The Secretary may—

(1)

use brokers or other third parties in the disposition of the land authorized by this Act; and

(2)

from the proceeds of a sale, pay reasonable commissions or fees.

4.

Treatment of proceeds

(a)

Deposit

Subject to section 3(g)(2), the Secretary shall deposit the proceeds of a sale or cash equalizations payments authorized by this Act in the fund established under Public Law 90–171 (commonly known as the Sisk Act) (16 U.S.C. 484a).

(b)

Availability

Subject to subsection (c), amounts deposited under subsection (a) shall be available to the Secretary until expended, without further appropriation, for the acquisition of land for National Forest purposes in the State of Georgia.

(c)

Private property protection

Nothing in this Act authorizes the use of funds deposited under subsection (a) to be used to acquire land without the written consent of the owner of the land.