H.R. 5797, the Mille Lacs Freedom to Fish Act

July 30, 2012
Cost Estimate


As ordered reported by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on July 26, 2012

H.R. 5797 would eliminate a requirement that certain vessel owners who operate boats on a lake in the state of Minnesota purchase federal licenses and pay a fee to have their boats inspected annually. Because most of those amounts are deposited in the general fund of the Treasury, enacting H.R. 5797 would decrease revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that the effects would be insignificant for each year. Enacting H.R. 5797 would not affect direct spending.

In 2010, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) determined that Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota is a navigable waterway. As a result, USCG is developing regulations that will require all vessel owners who wish to use their boats on that lake to obtain federal captains’ licenses and to submit their boats to annual USCG inspections. Most of those revenues will be deposited into the general fund of the Treasury. Licenses will cost $240 per person, and annual inspections will cost between $300 and $600 each. By enacting H.R. 5797, the government would not collect those revenues. Based on information from the USCG, CBO estimates that there are fewer than 50 owner-operators who will have to comply with the licensing and inspection regulations. Assuming regulations are finalized by 2013, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would result in an insignificant loss of annual revenue beginning that year.

H.R. 5797 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.