S. 404, Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act

Cost Estimate
January 16, 2014

As ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on December 19, 2013

S. 404 would prevent the Forest Service from removing a building from the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area in Washington State unless the agency determines that the structure is unsafe for visitors. Based on information provided by the Forest Service, CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would have no significant net impact on the federal budget. Enacting S. 404 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.

In 2012, a federal court ordered the Forest Service to remove a lookout structure from Green Mountain, located in the wilderness area. Under the bill, the agency would be authorized to remove the structure only if it poses a risk to public safety. Because the lookout was recently reconstructued, CBO expects that, under the bill, the agency would allow the structure to remain on the mountain for several years. As a result, CBO estimates, the Forest Service would not need to spend about $200,000 in appropriated funds to remove the structure; the amounts required to maintain the structure over the next five years would be minimal.

The bill also would require the Secretary of the Interior to restore a land grant issued to an individual under the Alaska Native Veterans Allotment Act. The Department of the Interior (DOI) voided the original land grant when the agency determined that the affected lands were located within the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. Because the affected lands are located within the refuge, CBO expects that any activities that could generate offsetting receipts from those lands over the next 10 years would be prohibited, and we estimate that issuing the land grant would not affect the federal budget.

S. 404 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.

On September 3, 2013, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 908, the Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act, as ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources on July 31, 2013. S. 404 contains provisions similar to those in H.R. 908 and additional provisions that would require DOI to issue a land grant in Alaska. The estimated costs of implementing the bills are the same.