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The Cabin Fee Act: Today’s Efforts

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) introduced H.R. 1159 on March 14th, the Cabin Fee Act of 2013 (CFA). Under Doc’s leadership, a successful ‘markup’ by the Natural Resource Committee quickly followed in April.

The bill then went to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to determine its impact on revenue. H.R. 1159 is essentially identical to H.R. 3397, the 2012 Cabin Fee Act, which passed the House of Representatives last September and was found to be revenue neutral by the CBO. The only change to H.R.1159 was a slightly modified fee table (approved earlier by the C2 Cabin Coalition) to address revenue differences due to the forward shift of the ten year evaluation period.

In spite of this adjustment, the CFA of 2013 was found to be short $8 million over the period 2013 – 2023. The forward shift has proven to be a higher hurdle than anyone expected. Small edits to the bill are being examined, however, the actual appraisal data used in the projection is receiving much closer scrutiny. Incomplete second appraisal data has been identified and is being corrected. A full data review by the Forest Service and the Cabin Coalition is under way. We believe a fully parsed and accurate data set will significantly reduce the revenue shortfall and allow the bill to proceed. We are very pleased with the collaborative response of the Forest Service in this process.

Once revenue neutrality is achieved, we expect a vote will be sought on the standalone bill by the full House. Following House passage, the bill will go directly to the desk of the Senate Majority Leader, where it could be brought up at any time for a vote unless the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (ENR) exercises its jurisdiction over the bill and seeks further changes. Our position is to encourage the Senate to support the House version. In case the bill is referred to the Senate ENR Committee, we will continue to work closely with committee staff to resolve any concerns.

As this long effort continues our financial base has become very limited. Your financial support helps us continue the work. Please consider making a donation today. The new NFH website makes this process very easy. Just click on Donation and follow along. Thanks for your support!