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he United States Holocaust Memorial Council was established in 1980 to support the planning and construction of a permanent, living memorial museum to the victims of the Holocaust. Having opened in 1993, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has achieved remarkable success. Following these first six years of operation, the House Appropriations Committee requested the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to conduct a review of the Council and the Museum. NAPA has completed its report and included a number of recommendations to improve the operation and management of the two entities that will set them on a strong course to ensure future success. The managers strongly support the NAPA findings and recommendations and urge the entities to include those reforms that require statutory changes in a reauthorization bill to the Congress by the opening of the second session of the 106th Congress. Further, the managers expect the organizations to implement fully the administrative changes recommended in the report by February 15, 2000 and to report to the Committees on Appropriations on the completion of their implementation by March 1, 2000.
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PRESIDIO TRUST FUND
The conference agreement provides $44,400,000 for the Presidio Trust as proposed by both the House and the Senate.
TITLE III--GENERAL PROVISIONS
The conference agreement includes sections 301 through 306, sections 308 through 319, section 321 and section 325 from the Senate bill, which continue provisions carried in past years. Section 314 adds a reference to Alaska for the Jobs-in-the-Woods program as proposed by the Senate.
Section 307 makes permanent the provision on compliance with the Buy American Act, which was included in the House bill as section 306. The Senate had extended the provision for one year.
Section 320 continues the provision contained in the bill in previous years regarding outreach efforts to rural and underserved communities by the NEA, as amended by the House to include urban minorities.
Section 322 continues the limitation on funding for completion and issuance of the five-year program under the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act as proposed by the Senate. The House had no similar provision.
Section 323 prohibits the use of funds to support government-wide administrative functions unless they are in the budget justification and approved by the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations as proposed by the House. The Senate had no similar provision.
Section 324 modifies a provision proposed by the House prohibiting the use of funds for certain programs. The modification retains the limitation on the use of funds for General Services Administration Telecommunications Centers and for the President's Council on Sustainable Development and deletes the limitation dealing with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The Senate had no similar provision.
Section 326 continues the moratorium on new or expanded Indian self-determination and self-governance contracts and compacts with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service as proposed by the Senate in section 324. The House had no similar provision.
Section 327 retains the text of section 324 as proposed by the House and section 325 as proposed by the Senate which permits the Forest Service to use the roads and trails fund for backlog maintenance and priority forest health treatments.
Section 328 prohibits the establishment of a national wildlife refuge in the Kankakee watershed in northwestern Indiana and northeastern Illinois as proposed by the House in section 325. The Senate had no similar provision.
Section 329 modifies language proposed by the House in Section 326 concerning the American Heritage Rivers initiative. The modified language still specifically prevents funds from being transferred or used to support the Council on Environmental Quality for purposes related to this program, but the language no longer prevents headquarters or departmental activities for these purposes. The managers note that the Council on Environmental Quality, as part of the Executive Office of the President, is funded through a different appropriations bill to cover all of its program needs, including those associated with the American Heritage Rivers initiative. The managers do not object to the agencies covered by this bill from participating in this initiative if it is a normal part of their programs. In fact, the technical assistance programs funded in this bill are intended to help respond to local initiatives and needs. The managers encourage maximum cost-sharing and expect the agencies to emphasize field-level accomplishments rather than headquarters or regional office bureaucratic efforts.
Section 330 modifies language proposed by the House in section 327 restricting the use of answering machines during core business hours except in case of emergency. The modification requires that there be an option that permits the caller to reach immediately another individual. The American taxpayer deserves to receive personal attention from public servants. The Senate had no similar provision.
Section 331 modifies a provision proposed by the House concerning Forest Service administration of rights-of-way and land uses. The Senate had no similar provision. The modification retains most of the language proposed by the House, with technical modifications, but the provision now makes this a five-year pilot program and requires annual reports to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations summarizing activities and funds involved during the previous year. The managers direct the Forest Service to follow the instructions proposed by the House regarding this provision. The managers and the authorizing committees of jurisdiction will review this pilot program and determine subsequently if it warrants permanent authority.
Section 332 modifies a provision included in the fiscal year 1999 act regarding the Institute of Hardwood Technology Transfer and Applied Research to make the related authorities permanent as proposed by the Senate in section 326. The House had no similar provision.
Section 333 continues a program by which Alaska's surplus western red cedar is made available preferentially to U.S. domestic mills outside Alaska, prior to export abroad as proposed by the Senate in section 327. The House had no similar provision.
Section 334 modifies the Senate-proposed section 328 concerning Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management inventorying, monitoring and surveying requirements. The House had no similar provision. The modification makes it clear that the extent of inventory, monitoring and surveying required for the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to comply with their planning regulations is solely at the discretion of the respective Secretaries. The modified language does not require either agency to engage in any particular activities. The modified language concerning the definition of record-of-decision implementation is consistent with the arguments made by this Administration in recent litigation.
Section 335 includes language regarding reports on the feasibility and cost of implementing the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project as proposed by the House in section 329. The Senate proposed similar language in section 330.
The conference agreement does not include section 330 as proposed by the House which would have provided authority for breastfeeding in the National Park Service, the Smithsonian, the John F. Kennedy Center, the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Gallery of Art. A separate appropriations bill funding general government programs includes a similar provision, but one that is broader in its application. The Senate bill had no similar provision.
Section 336 prohibits the use of funds to propose or issue rules, regulations, decrees or orders for implementing the Kyoto Protocol prior to Senate ratification as proposed by the House in section 331. The Senate had no similar provision.
The conference agreement does not include House proposed bill language included under section 333 prohibiting the use of funds to directly construct timber access roads in the National Forest System. The Senate had no similar provision.
The conference agreement does not include either the across the board cut proposed by the House in section 333 or the across the board cut proposed by the Senate in section 348.
Section 337 modifies language proposed by the House in section 334 and the Senate in section 335 regarding patent applications. The modification exempts from the Solicitor's opinion of November 7, 1997 grandfathered patent applications, mining operations with approved plans of operation, and operations with approved plans that are seeking modifications or amendment to those plans. The managers strongly feel that it is inequitable to apply the Solicitor's millsite opinion to those properties since the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service have been approving and modifying plans of operations routinely for years without raising an issue with operators about the ratio of millsites to claims. The Departments of the Interior and Agriculture may not implement the millsite opinion for existing or planned operations that need to amend or modify their plans of operation. Further, the managers direct that the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture not reopen decisions already made and relied upon by stakeholders when approving these plans. Lastly, for clarity, the managers note that the term property as used in this section is intended to encompass the specific geographic area included within a plan of operation that has been approved on, or submitted prior to May 21, 1999, regardless of the type of claim or millsite .
The managers have not included language proposed by the House in section 335 prohibiting certain uses of leghold traps and neck snares within the National Wildlife Refuge system.
The managers have not included language as proposed by the House in section 336 that would prohibit implementation of certain portions of the Gettysburg NMP general management plan.
Section 338 modifies a Senate provision in section 330 concerning consistency among federal land managing agencies for the exemption to the Service Contract Act for concession contracts. The modified language deals only with the Forest Service and applies only in fiscal year 2000. The House had no similar provision.
Section 339 modifies section 331 as proposed by the Senate regarding the establishment of a five-year pilot program for the Forest Service to collect fair market value for forest botanical products. The House had no similar provision. The provision is modified to clarify the definition of forest botanical products, to ensure that the harvest of such products will be sustainable, to exempt some personal use harvest from fee collection at the discretion of the agency, and to return a portion of the funds collected to the national forest unit at which they are generated. The managers want to encourage the development of appropriate small-scale industries but also ensure that the Forest Service carefully manages this program so that plants and fungi are not over-collected. This provision has been modified so that the funds which exceed the level collected in fiscal year 1999 can be used right away rather than delaying expenditure of the funds until fiscal year 2001 as proposed by the Administration and the Senate. Fees will be returned to the forest unit where they are generated and will be used to provide for program administration, inventory, monitoring, sustainable harvest level and impact of harvest determination and restoration activities.
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Section 340 includes the Senate-proposed section extending the authorization for the Forest Service to provide funds to Auburn University, AL, for construction of a non-federal building. The House bill had no similar provision.
Section 341 modifies the Senate-proposed section 333 dealing with Forest Service stewardship end-results contracting. The modification retains the Senate proposal to provide the Northern region with nine additional projects. The modified provision also includes technical changes to the language which authorized the pilot program. These changes make it clear that the Forest Service can enter into a contract or agreement with either a public or private entity; that an agreement as opposed to a contract can be the primary vehicle for implementing a pilot project; and there is a national limit on projects, as opposed to contracts. This will allow, if necessary, use of more than one contract to implement a project. The House bill had no similar provision.
The conference agreement does not include Senate proposed bill language included under section 335 that provides that residents living within the boundaries of the White Mountain National Forest are exempt from certain user fees. The House bill had no similar provision.
Section 342 modifies the Senate-proposed section 336 dealing with special use fees paid for recreation residences on Forest Service managed lands. This provision supersedes section 343 of P.L. 105-83 and limits fee increases during fiscal year 2000 to $2,000 per permit. The House had no similar provision.
Section 343 modifies language in section 337 of the Senate bill to provide a protocol designed to facilitate the acquisition of lands within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area by encouraging the Secretary of Agriculture to consummate certain land acquisitions that have been delayed by issues other than disagreement over fair market value. On potential acquisitions that have been delayed because of a disagreement over fair market value, the Secretary shall engage willing landowners in an arbitration process that is designed to be completed before July 15, 2000.
Section 344 provides that the Forest Service may not use the Recreation Fee Demonstration program to supplant existing recreation contracts on the national forests as proposed by the Senate in section 338. The House bill had no similar provision.
Section 345 amends the National Forest-Dependent Rural Communities Economic Diversification Act, as proposed by the Senate in section 339, to make Forest Service grasslands eligible for economic recovery funding. The House bill had no similar provision.
Section 346 amends the Interstate 90 Land Exchange Act of 1998 to place the title to certain lands in Plum Creek, Washington, in escrow for a three-year period pending the outcome of an appraisal process as proposed by the Senate in section 340. The House had no similar provision.
Section 347 adjusts the boundary of the Snoqualmie National Forest as proposed by the Senate in section 341. The House had no similar provision.
Section 348 amends the Food Security Act to protect the confidentiality of Forest Inventory and Analysis data on private lands as proposed by the Senate in section 342. The House bill had no similar provision.
Section 349 provides, as proposed by the Senate in section 343, that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to implement or enforce any provision in Presidential Executive Order 13123 regarding the Federal Energy Management Program which circumvents or contradicts any statutes relevant to Federal energy use and the measurement thereof. The managers expect the Department to adhere to existing law governing energy conservation and efficiency in implementing the Federal Energy Management Program. The House had no similar provision.
The conference agreement does not include Senate proposed bill language included under section 344 directing the Forest Service to use funds to improve the control or eradication of pine beetles in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. The managers have provided direction on this matter under the Forest Service heading.
The conference agreement does not include Senate proposed bill language included under section 346 prohibiting the use of funds for certain activities on the Shawnee National Forest, IL.
Section 350 prohibits the use of funds made available by the act for the physical relocation of grizzly bears into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana as proposed by the Senate in section 345. The House bill had no similar provision. The managers understand that this provision will not interfere with the Fish and Wildlife Service's plans for the program in fiscal year 2000.
Section 351 directs that up to $1,000,000 of Bureau of Land Management funds be used to fund high priority projects to be conducted by the Youth Conservation Corps as proposed by the Senate in section 347. The House bill had no similar provision.
Section 352 makes a permanent appropriation for the North Pacific Research Board. To date, these funds have been subject to appropriation.
Section 353 prohibits the withdrawal of certain lands on the Mark Twain NF, MO, from mining activities and prohibits the issuance of new prospecting permits. The House had no similar provision.
Section 354 makes a minor technical modification to a previously established pilot program; this modification authorizes the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service to establish transfer appropriation accounts in order to facilitate efficient inter-agency fund transfers. The managers support the pilot effort of the two agencies to accomplish mutually beneficial management of respective lands and request that the agencies provide a combined report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations on the use of these accounts by June 30, 2000.
Section 355 provides for an extension of the public comment period for the White River National Forest, CO, forest plan revision for ninety days past the February 9, 2000, deadline currently in place.
Section 356 provides direction to the National Capital Planning Commission concerning a certain easement and other matters regarding the National Harbor project, MD.
Section 357 directs the Department of the Interior to provide a detailed plan for implementation of the National Academy of Sciences report on hard rock mining regulations, and continues the moratorium on issuing final hard rock mining regulations through fiscal year 2000.
The conference agreement includes the Mississippi National Forest Improvement Act of 1999. This new bill language provides for the sale of surplus Forest Service research property and other surplus administrative sites in Mississippi; facilitates a cooperative agreement between the Forest Service and the University of Mississippi; and facilitates a land exchange on the Homochitto National Forest for the Franklin County Dam.
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