H.R. 2647 would change the way the Forest Service conducts various activities related to forest management. The bill also would exempt lawsuits challenging certain forest management activities from the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) and would require plaintiffs who sue the Forest Service for conducting such activities to post a cash bond to cover the agency’s legal expenses if the agency wins the lawsuit.
Based on information provided by the Forest Service, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $10 million over the 2016-2020 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. Because H.R. 2647 contains provisions that would affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that none of the provisions would have a significant effect on direct spending in any year and that enacting the bill would have a negligible net effect on direct spending over the 2016-2025 period. Enacting the legislation would not affect revenues.
H.R. 2647 would impose intergovernmental and private-sector mandates, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) on plaintiffs, including public and private entities, seeking judicial review of some forest management activities on federal lands. CBO estimates that the cost of the mandates would fall below the annual thresholds established in UMRA for intergovernmental and private-sector mandates ($77 million and $154 million in 2015, respectively, adjusted annually for inflation).