|HR 2077 IH
H. R. 2077
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 26, 1997
To establish a National Forest Preserve consisting of certain Federal lands in the Sequoia National Forest in the State of California to protect and preserve remaining Giant Sequoia ecosystems and to provide increased recreational opportunities in connection with such ecosystems.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE AND TABLE OF CONTENTS.
(a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the `Sequoia Ecosystem and Recreation Preserve Act of 1997'.
(b) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
Sec. 1. Short title and table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings.
Sec. 3. Definitions.
Sec. 4. Expansion and establishment of wilderness areas in Sequoia and Inyo National Forests.
Sec. 5. Establishment of Giant Sequoia National Forest Preserve.
Sec. 6. Purposes of Preserve.
Sec. 7. Preserve Scientific Advisory Team.
Sec. 8. Management plan.
Sec. 9. Designation of ancient forest reserves.
Sec. 10. Preserve transportation and access.
Sec. 11. Recreational facilities.
Sec. 12. Effect of Preserve on activities previously conducted in area covered by Preserve.
Sec. 13. Effect of Preserve on other public or private interests.
Sec. 14. Water rights.
Sec. 15. Payments to local governments.
Sec. 16. Community Assistance Task Force.
Sec. 17. Preparation of budget proposal for Preserve.
Sec. 18. Authorization of appropriations.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds the following:
(1) Giant Sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum) are the largest of all living things and the most majestic trees on earth. Without any help or hindrance from humans, Giant Sequoia have lived up to 3200 years and attained a height of 275 feet, a diameter of 38 feet, a circumference of 120 feet, and a weight of over 12,000,000 pounds. The largest tree currently in the National Forest System is located in the Sequoia National Forest, the Boole Tree, a Giant Sequoia that stands 269 feet high and has a diameter of 29 feet.
(2) Giant Sequoias are survivors of a genus of trees which once covered most of the northern hemisphere, but are now native to only a small portion of the Sierra Nevada range in the State of California.
(3) The ancient forests of the Sequoia National Forest are the homes of rare, threatened, and endangered species of plants and wildlife.
(4) The ancient forests of the Sequoia National Forest provide outstanding and unique recreational opportunities for the people of the United States. Of those units of the National Forest System located in the Sierra Nevada range, the Sequoia National Forest is located closest to Los Angeles and the burgeoning population in the Central Valley.
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
For purposes of this Act:
(1) PRESERVE- The term `Preserve' means the Federal lands included in the Giant Sequoia National Forest Preserve established in section 5.
(2) SECRETARY- The term `the Secretary' means the Secretary of Agriculture.
(3) GROVE- The term `grove' means any stand or group of Giant Sequoia in the Preserve identified by Forest Service methods in effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.
(4) MANAGEMENT PLAN- The term `management plan' means the management plan prepared after the date of the enactment of this Act for management of the Preserve.
(5) ANCIENT FOREST RESERVES- The term `ancient forest reserves' means lands in the Preserve designated under section 9 on which--
(A) motorized vehicles may be used only on designated roads; and
(B) only the least possible amount of mechanical manipulation or intervention in natural processes shall be allowed.
(6) NATURAL STATE- The term `natural state' means the conditions that are within the range of variability in structure and composition that occurred during the last few millennia and which will promote ecosystem stability and resiliency.
(7) SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY TEAM- The term `Scientific Advisory Team' means the Scientific Advisory Team established pursuant to section 7.
(8) TASK FORCE- The term `Task Force' means the Community Assistance Task Force established under section 16.
SEC. 4. EXPANSION AND ESTABLISHMENT OF WILDERNESS AREAS IN SEQUOIA AND INYO NATIONAL FORESTS.
In furtherance of the purpose of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), the following lands in the State of California, as generally depicted on the maps referenced in this section, are hereby designated as wilderness areas and shall be administered as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System:
(1) Certain lands in the Sequoia National Forest and the Inyo National Forest, which comprise approximately 20,800 acres, as generally depicted on a map entitled `Golden Trout Wilderness Additions--Proposed', and which are hereby incorporated in, and which shall be deemed to be part of, the Golden Trout Wilderness designated by section 2(b) of Public Law 95-237 (92 Stat. 41).
(2) Certain lands in the Sequoia National Forest, which comprise approximately 28,540 acres, as generally depicted on a map entitled `Golden Trout Wilderness Additions--Proposed 2', and which are hereby incorporated in, and which shall be deemed to be part of, the Golden Trout Wilderness designated by section 2(b) of Public Law 95-237 (92 Stat. 41).
(3) Certain lands in the Sequoia National Forest, which comprise approximately 12,071 acres, as generally depicted on a map entitled `Domeland Wilderness Additions--Proposed', and which are hereby incorporated in, and which shall be deemed to be part of, the Domeland Wilderness originally designated by section 3 of Public Law 88-577 (78 Stat. 891).
(4) Certain lands in the Sequoia National Forest, which comprise approximately 39,398 acres, as generally depicted on a map entitled `Bright Star Wilderness--Proposed', and which are hereby incorporated in, and which shall be deemed to be part of, the Bright Star Wilderness designated by section 102(6) of Public Law 103-433 (108 Stat. 4473).
(5) Certain lands in the Sequoia National Forest, which comprise approximately 56,630 acres, as generally depicted on a map entitled `Golden Trout Wilderness Additions--Proposed 3', and which are hereby incorporated in, and which shall be deemed to be part of, the Golden Trout Wilderness designated by section 2(b) of Public Law 95-237 (92 Stat. 41).
(6) Certain lands in the Sequoia National Forest, which comprise approximately 12,531 acres, as generally depicted on a map entitled `Slate Mountain Wilderness Area--Proposed', and shall be known as the Slate Mountain Wilderness.
SEC. 5. ESTABLISHMENT OF GIANT SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST PRESERVE.
(a) ESTABLISHMENT- There is hereby established the Giant Sequoia National Forest Preserve, consisting of certain federally owned lands within the Sequoia National Forest in the State of California. The Preserve shall comprise approximately 340,835 acres as generally depicted on the map entitled, `Giant Sequoia National Forest Preserve, 1995', dated XXXXXX and numbered XXXXXX. Federal lands included in the Preserve are dedicated in perpetuity for the preservation and restoration of natural processes and the promotion of recreational activity, scientific study, and other similar purposes as specified in this Act.
(b) UNIT OF NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM- The Secretary, acting through the Forest Service, shall administer the Preserve as a separate unit within the National Forest System in accordance with the purposes and provisions of this Act.
(c) MAP AND LEGAL DESCRIPTION- Not later than six months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall file a map and a legal description of the Preserve with the Committee on Resources and the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and with the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Nutrition of the Senate. Such map and description shall have the same force and effect as if included in this Act. The Secretary may correct clerical and typographical errors in the map and description.
(d) AVAILABILITY OF MAP- The map and legal description prepared pursuant to subsection (c) shall be made available for public inspection in the office of the Forest Supervisor, Sequoia National Forest, in the office of the Regional Forester, United States Forest Service, Region 5, in the office of the Superintendent, Sequoia National Park, in the office of the Director, National Park Service, Department of the Interior and in the office of the Chief of the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture.
SEC. 6. PURPOSES OF PRESERVE.
(a) IN GENERAL- It is the purpose of this Act not only to protect and maintain the groves of Giant Sequoias in the Preserve, their supporting ecosystems, and associated forests, but also to preserve the natural state and processes that have created and maintained these forests for millennia.
(b) SPECIFIC PURPOSES- Subject to subsection (c), the Preserve is established for the purposes of--
(1) assuring the ecological integrity and recreational resources of the Federal lands in the Preserve;
(2) protecting the Giant Sequoia groves as well as all contiguous Federal lands in the Preserve and assuring the perpetuation and continuation of the many ecosystems and the essential and natural processes in the Preserve;
(3) providing optimum habitat for all indigenous species found, as of the date of the enactment of this Act, in the Preserve;
(4) promoting and coordinating research in the Preserve to compile information about the Giant Sequoia and other Sierra Nevada ecosystems;
(5) providing optimum water quality, air quality, soil quality, and scenic quality in the Preserve, consistent with other Federal and State laws; and
(6) providing increased opportunities for recreation, including hiking, horseback riding, camping, use of off-highway vehicles, crosscountry skiing, and nature studies, consistent with the purposes specified in the preceding paragraphs.
(c) PROHIBITIONS- Regardless of the specific mention of an authorized activity in this Act, the Secretary shall not permit an activity to continue or to be initiated in the Preserve if the Secretary determines that the activity will, over time, degrade the health or cause the ultimate destruction of the Giant Sequoia ecosystem or other ecosystems in the Preserve. No portion of the Preserve shall be within the timber base or used in a calculation or basis for a sustained yield of timber.
SEC. 7. PRESERVE SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY TEAM.
(a) ESTABLISHMENT- The Secretary shall appoint a Scientific Advisory Team for the Preserve consisting of at least 9 physical and biological scientists from such fields as Sequoia ecology, hydrology, wildlife biology, landscape ecology, conservation biology, soil science, geology, and wildfire behavior. Not more than 3 members of the Scientific Advisory Team may be current or retired employees of the Forest Service.
(b) ROLE IN PREPARATION OF PRESERVE MANAGEMENT PLAN- The Scientific Advisory Team shall give advice and guidance to the Forest Service during preparation of the management plan, assist with the study of data regarding the Preserve, review and make recommendations on reports developed in connection with the Preserve, and perform other duties as requested by the Secretary. The Scientific Advisory Team shall target its efforts toward assuring that the management plan is consistent with the overall purposes of this Act and with the best and most current scientific knowledge and research.
(c) ROLE IN PREPARATION OF LAND CONDITION SURVEYS AND REPORTS- The Scientific Advisory Team shall advise the Forest Service in compiling informational reports, which shall include surveys of the condition of lands within the Preserve and which will be used in preparing the management plan. The Forest Service shall complete the surveys within one year after the date of the enactment of this Act. These surveys and reports shall address the following issues:
(1) FIRE AND FUEL- Compilation of existing data and a report regarding historical and prehistorical fire and surveys of current fuel loading with identification of areas that exceed the natural range of fuels build-up. The Scientific Advisory Team shall review the surveys and make recommendations for restoration of these areas.
(2) ARTIFICIALLY PLANTED SEQUOIAS- Compilation of existing data and a report regarding sources of Sequoia seedlings planted within and adjacent to Sequoia groves. The Team shall review reports and make recommendations as to the need for remediation to protect the integrity of individual grove genetics.
(3) PREVIOUSLY LOGGED AREAS- Compilation of information and a report on previously logged areas focusing on species mix, age, and arrangement. The Scientific Advisory Team shall make recommendations for management strategies which will result in the eventual restoration of these lands to a natural state. Certain areas where logging has occurred in both recent and historical times may be recommended to remain unrestored and designated as historic sites, interpretive areas, or for scientific purposes.
(d) INTERAGENCY COOPERATION AND COORDINATION- The Scientific Advisory Team shall cooperate with other agencies that are engaged in managing Sequoia ecosystems in order to facilitate interagency cooperation, sharing of scientific information and data, and to maximize usefulness of past, present, and future research.
(e) TEAM FINDINGS- The Scientific Advisory Team shall not be required to reach consensus regarding its findings on any issue, but the Scientific Advisory Team should furnish comments, recommendations, and findings in a format which will allow for a majority as well as dissenting opinions.
(f) PUBLIC ACCESS TO INFORMATION- All information developed for and by the Scientific Advisory Team and the Forest Service under this section, including minutes, summaries, memos, majority recommendations, and dissenting opinions, shall be retained at the office of the Forest Supervisor, Sequoia National Forest, and shall be readily available to the public.
(g) FUTURE ACTIVITIES OF TEAM- After the final management plan has been published and any administrative appeals have completed the appeal process, the Scientific Advisory Team shall remain available for peer review of proposed projects, monitoring, and such other duties that the Secretary may request.
(h) COMPENSATION- Members of the Scientific Advisory Team shall serve without compensation, except that the Secretary may reimburse members of the Scientific Advisory Team for their direct costs of participating in the activities of the Scientific Advisory Team.
SEC. 8. MANAGEMENT PLAN.
(a) PREPARATION- Not later than five years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall publish as a freestanding document a final management plan for the Preserve that shall include at least the following:
(1) The measures, standards, and guidelines needed to protect, restore, and enhance the natural and scientific values of the Preserve and recreational resources of the Preserve.
(2) All other measures intended to carry out the purposes and provisions of this Act, including specific delineation of planned administrative activities to carry out this Act.
(3) Provisions and maps of areas designated as ancient forest reserves, and the process by which additional areas may be designated as ancient forest reserves.
(4) Other specific measures required by this Act.
(b) INTERIM MANAGEMENT- Pending the completion of the management plan, the Secretary shall manage the Preserve in a manner consistent with the purposes and provisions of this Act. The Secretary shall buy out any timber contracts in existence on the date of the enactment of this Act that authorize harvesting in the Preserve. Between the date of the enactment of this Act and the date the management plan is final, the Secretary shall approve or initiate only those interim management activities that are consistent with the purposes of this Act.
(c) ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS- The management plan and all of the notices of decision, decision notices, and decision memos for the management plan and for projects implementing the management plan shall be subject to administrative appeal as provided by law.
(d) PUBLIC SAFETY- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit the Secretary from undertaking or permitting those activities in the Preserve that the Secretary considers necessary to ensure public safety and prevent loss of life and property.
SEC. 9. DESIGNATION OF ANCIENT FOREST RESERVES.
(a) DESIGNATION- As part of the management plan, the Secretary shall designate and map the ancient forest reserves.
(b) SPECIFIED ANCIENT FOREST RESERVES- Lands designated as ancient forest reserves shall include at least the following: The Freeman Creek watershed, the McIntyre Complex Groves, the Moses Roadless Area, the Slate Mountain Roadless Area, the Rincon Roadless Area, Deer Meadow, and the Agnew and Kennedy Sequoia Groves.
(c) SUBSEQUENT DESIGNATIONS- Additional areas may be designated as ancient forest reserves after the completion of the management plan by amending the management plan. Such additions shall be based on public input and scientific recommendations.
SEC. 10. PRESERVE TRANSPORTATION AND ACCESS.
(a) IN GENERAL- The management plan shall include a comprehensive transportation plan for the Preserve. In order to protect the natural features of the Preserve, reduce conflicts among users of the Preserve, and ensure visitor safety, the Secretary may regulate and control the times and means of access and use of the Preserve.
(1) NEW CONSTRUCTION PROHIBITED- Except for short connecting sections to make loop roads or to provide access to campgrounds or for other purposes consistent with this Act, no new road construction shall occur within the Preserve. No exceptions under the preceding sentence shall be made in the case of ancient forest reserves and wilderness areas within the Preserve.
(2) ROAD CATEGORIES- The transportation plan shall locate and map all roads in existence on the date of the enactment of this Act, whether such
roads are permanent, temporary, or de facto, and all compacted areas, such as landings and turnouts. These roads and compacted areas shall be inventoried and categorized into one of the following categories:
(A) Existing roads and compacted areas which should form the permanent road system for the Preserve and are consistent with the purposes of this Act. This category may include projections for future needs such as new campgrounds, interpretive and study centers, and parking sites.
(B) Roads and compacted areas which are degrading water quality or ecosystems and which shall be restored to natural conditions.
(C) Existing roads and compacted areas which may be converted for use as motorized vehicle recreation roads without undue resource damage.
(D) Existing roads and landings which could be used for off-highway vehicles, including the construction of short connecting sections to provide loop trails.
(E) Existing roads and compacted areas which could be used in conjunction with the official trail system for recreation, including snowmobile, cross-country skiing, recreational stock, hiking, and interpretive trails and areas suitable for use by the disabled, including the use of motorized wheelchairs.
(1) IDENTIFICATION OF TRAILS- The transportation plan shall include a trail plan for the Preserve that inventories and maps all trails on the 1956 USGS maps, the 1966 Sequoia National Forest Recreation Map, historical trails, and trails indicated by public input whether or not they have been assigned a Forest Service trail number. These trails shall become the official trail network for the Preserve.
(2) TRAIL LIMITATIONS- In the trail plan, the Secretary shall determine which trails will be limited to nonmotorized, nonmechanized recreation, such as by horseback and hiking, and which trails will allow mechanized recreation of various types, such as by mountain bike and all-terrain vehicles. The Secretary shall base such determinations on sensitivity of the site, potential for user conflicts, and public input. There shall be no use of motor vehicles on trails in ancient forest reserves. The trail plan shall include provisions to ensure adequate and appropriate recreational trail opportunities for disabled individuals.
(3) RELOCATION AND EXPANSION OF TRAILS- Trails may be relocated where currently obliterated by roads or logging damage or where necessary for resource protection. Additional trails may be added to the trail network through the conversion of existing roads to such purpose. The establishment of new trails should be considered throughout the Preserve consistent with the purposes of this Act.
(d) EMERGENCY AND SCIENTIFIC ACCESS- Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the use of motorized vehicles or aircraft for emergency and other essential administrative services, including those services provided by State and local governments, or for authorized scientific research when the use of motorized vehicles or aircraft is a necessary part of such research.
SEC. 11. RECREATIONAL FACILITIES.
(a) EXISTING CAMPGROUNDS- All campgrounds in the Preserve on the date of the enactment of this Act, including campgrounds within grove boundaries or ancient forest reserves, may remain in place subject to evaluation by the Secretary.
(b) EXPANSION- The Secretary shall provide new camping opportunities in the Preserve in the form of both developed and primitive sites. The Secretary shall identify the potential locations of new campgrounds in the transportation plan prepared under section 10. Such campgrounds shall be constructed outside of ancient forest reserves in locations where they will cause the least resource damage.
(c) PRIMITIVE CAMPING- Primitive camping shall be allowed throughout the Preserve, except that the Secretary may control the use of certain areas based on usage and resource conditions.
(d) STOCK CAMPGROUNDS- In addition to overnight camping facilities for stock use in existence on the date of the enactment of this Act, additional horse and other recreational stockcamping opportunities shall be developed, including potable and stock water supplies and holding corrals throughout the Preserve. All new construction shall be outside of groves and ancient forest reserves and shall be in areas which will cause the least resource damage and in areas which shall have access to the Preserve trail network. Potential sites shall be considered in the transportation plan.
(e) OTHER RECREATIONAL FACILITIES- The management plan shall address sites for further study for recreational facilities, such as interpretive facilities, disabled accessible areas, trailheads, picnic and day-use facilities, parking areas, scenic lookouts, and campgrounds. These potential areas shall be identified and coordinated with the transportation plan.
SEC. 12. EFFECT OF PRESERVE ON ACTIVITIES PREVIOUSLY CONDUCTED IN AREA COVERED BY PRESERVE.
(a) HUNTING AND FISHING- Regulations regarding hunting and fishing in the Preserve shall continue to be under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Fish and Game. If hunting and fishing activities adversely affect the Preserve, the Secretary shall submit recommendations to the California Department of Fish and Game regarding changes in such regulations.
(b) FIREWOOD COLLECTION- The Secretary shall manage firewood collection based on need and resource protection, except that the Secretary shall prohibit firewood collection in areas where such collection harms the resources of the Preserve.
(c) MINERAL AND GEOTHERMAL LEASING- No patent may be issued under the mining or geothermal laws of the United States after the date of the enactment of this Act on Federal lands in the Preserve, even if the location and claim was made before such date. Federal lands
in the Preserve are hereby withdrawn from all forms of locations, entry, and patent under the United States mining laws, and from the operation of the mineral leasing laws of the United States, including all laws pertaining to geothermal leasing.
(d) GRAZING- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit or regulate recreational or commercial grazing. Grazing in the Preserve shall continue to be regulated by the Forest Service.
SEC. 13. EFFECT OF PRESERVE ON OTHER PUBLIC OR PRIVATE INTERESTS.
(a) STATE AND LOCAL LANDS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect State-owned, county-owned, or municipally-owned land located partially or wholly within the boundaries of the Preserve.
(b) PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect the use or ownership of private land located partially or wholly within the boundaries of the Preserve on the date of enactment of this Act. Any action of the Secretary to buy or trade for privately held lands for inclusion in the Preserve shall require the voluntary agreement of the private seller.
(c) SPECIAL-USE PERMITS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect Forest Service special-use permits or leases in effect at the time of the enactment of this Act.
(d) LEASED PRIVATE HOMES AND CAMPS- All homes and camps with valid leases in the Preserve on the date of the enactment of this Act, and which are otherwise in compliance with the terms of the leases, shall continue and may be renewed. Existing special use permits and leases for homes and camps within the boundaries of the Preserve are hereby deemed to be consistent with the purposes of this Act. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect the renewal of such permits and leases.
SEC. 14. WATER RIGHTS.
(a) RESERVATION OF RIGHT- The Congress hereby reserves a quantity of water sufficient to fulfill the purposes of this Act. The priority date of such reserved water rights shall be the date of enactment of this Act.
(b) PROTECTION OF RIGHT- The Secretary and all other officers of the United States shall take all steps necessary to protect the rights reserved by this section, including the filing by the Secretary of a claim for the quantification of such rights in any present or future appropriate stream adjudication in the courts of the State of California in which the United States is or may be joined and which is conducted in accordance with section 208 of the Act of July 10, 1952 (66 Stat. 560, 43 U.S.C. 666; commonly referred to as the `McCarran Amendment').
(c) PRESERVATION OF PRIOR RIGHTS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed as a relinquishment or reduction of any water rights reserved or appropriated by the United States in the State of California on or before the date of enactment of this Act.
(d) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION- The Federal water rights reserved by this Act are specific to the Preserve. Nothing in this Act related to the reserved Federal water rights shall be construed as establishing a precedent with regard to any future designation, nor shall it constitute an interpretation of any other Act or any designation made pursuant thereto.
SEC. 15. PAYMENTS TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS.
(a) SECTION SUPERSEDES OTHER PAYMENT PROVISIONS- Payments under this section shall be made in lieu of payments under the Act of May 23, 1908 (16 U.S.C. 500) and chapter 69 of title 31 of the United States Code in connection with Federal lands included in the Preserve.
(b) PAYMENTS REQUIRED- The Secretary shall make payments under this section each fiscal year to the local government of each political subdivision whose boundaries include Federal lands in the Preserve if such local government would have received real property tax revenues had such lands been privately rather than publicly held. In the case of the fiscal year of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall pro rate the payment that would otherwise be made under this section.
(c) AMOUNT OF PAYMENT- The amount of the payment to be made to a local government under this section shall be equal to the amount of the real property tax which would be due to the local government with respect to Federal lands in the Preserve in the fiscal year concerned had such lands been privately rather than publicly held and used for timber production in the State of California. For purposes of this section, the amount of the required payment be referred to as the `tax-equivalency amount'.
(d) DETERMINATION OF TAX-EQUIVALENCY AMOUNT- For each fiscal year, the Secretary, after consultation with the Comptroller General, shall determine a proposed tax-equivalency amount for all Federal lands in the Preserve. Upon determining the proposed tax-equivalency amount for any political subdivision, the Secretary shall notify the local government concerned. If the local government notifies the Secretary that the local government accepts the Secretary's estimate, the Secretary shall promptly make such payment to the local government.
(e) DISPUTES- If a local government objects to the Secretary's estimate of the tax-equivalency amount
proposed to be paid by the Secretary under this section for any fiscal year, the local government shall notify the Secretary in writing of the amount which the local government estimates to be the correct tax-equivalency amount. Upon receipt of such notice, the Secretary shall appoint an arbiter. The local government shall also appoint an arbiter. The two arbiters shall jointly appoint a third arbiter. The three arbiters shall comprise an arbitration panel which shall determine the tax-equivalency amount to be paid under this section to the local government. The determination of the arbitration panel shall be binding on the Secretary and the local government and shall not be subject to judicial review, except as provided in sections 10 and 11 of title 9, United States Code.
(f) COSTS OF ARBITRATION- The costs of any arbitration under subsection (e) shall be paid by the Secretary, except that if the tax-equivalency amount determined by the arbitration panel is closer to the amount specified by the Secretary than to the amount estimated by the local government, the costs of the arbitration shall be deducted from the tax-equivalency amount paid to the local government.
(g) ACCOUNTING- As a condition for receiving the tax-equivalency amount, the local government shall agree to provide an annual accounting to the Secretary of all purposes for which the tax-equivalency amount is used and the amount used for each purpose.
SEC. 16. COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE TASK FORCE.
(a) ESTABLISHMENT- The Secretary shall establish a Community Assistance Task Force to oversee the provision of assistance to communities and workers in political subdivisions whose boundaries include Federal lands in the Preserve or contain facilities that milled timber from lands included in the Preserve during any portion of the five-year period ending on the date of the enactment of this Act.
(b) COMMUNITY REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE- Any community described in subsection (a) that is adversely affected by loss of Federal timber sales as a result of this Act may request assistance from the Task Force. The Task Force shall verify the stated need for the assistance and the purposes for which the assistance will be used.
(c) TYPES OF COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE- The Task Force shall provide assistance (including technical assistance) for the establishment of local community task forces, retraining programs for workers, diversification of local economies, and job counseling and job placement services. Such assistance may be in the form of loans and grants. The Secretary may authorize the use of facilities, equipment, and personnel of the Department of Agriculture to provide such assistance.
(d) WORKER REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE- Any worker displaced from a job in the timber industry because of the loss of Federal timber sales as a result of this Act may request assistance from the Task Force to assist the worker in securing other employment.
(e) DEVELOPMENT OF EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES- The Task Force shall encourage and develop employment opportunities in the political subdivisions described in subsection (a) in forest ecosystem restoration, recreation, and other forms of employment compatible with the purposes and provisions of this Act.
(f) TERMINATION- The Task Force shall terminate five years after the date of its establishment by the Secretary.
SEC. 17. PREPARATION OF BUDGET PROPOSAL FOR PRESERVE.
In preparing the budget proposal for the Preserve for each fiscal year, the Secretary shall not target any of the budget to any commodity production in the Preserve. The amount of the budget request shall be proportionate to the funds which the Sequoia National Forest received before the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 18. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this Act.