Oregon Forest Homeowners' Association

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Oregon Forest Homeowners' Association

Generations of family and friends in Oregon’s forests.
Stewards and conservationists of Oregon’s forests.
Preserving and protecting Oregon’s Forest Service cabins.
Leaving a legacy in Oregon’s forests
for the next generation of cabin users.

President's Message...

> 2014 OFHA Membership Meeting Summary.pdf

IMPORTANT 11TH HOUR CABIN FEE ACT UPDATE!
Sent bcc to: All C2 Coordinators, C2 Extended contacts and NFH Directors and Ambassadors
Please distribute to all your contacts!



Eleventh Hour Update: the Cabin Fee Act of 2014

Our final opportunity to pass the Cabin Fee Act (CFA) will occur during the ‘Lame Duck’ session that is expected to begin November 12th when the 113th Congress returns to DC following the November 4th elections. This update summarizes where we stand today with the CFA.

The House Natural Resources committee passed the CFA out of committee in September with a $50 per tier fee increase intended to assure revenue neutrality over the ten year Congressional Budget Office (CBO) evaluation period. However, with that success in hand, we were informed that budget rules in the House would likely prevent the bill from being brought up for a floor vote because the bill was not revenue neutral in year one and years one through five, as well as over the ten years. The Cabin Coalition 2 and NFH have been struggling to find a solution to this non-negotiable rule since. The options are limited and these are the steps we have taken:

First, we have encouraged our sponsors to consider waiving the year one and one through five procedural rules as we believe such waivers have occurred in the past. However, following a personal meeting with our House sponsor, Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA), the likelihood of this occurring appears limited. We continue to press for this option and other avenues to move the existing legislation forward, but have not been successful so far.

Second, we have tried to determine the source of the first and second year shortfall by directly questioning the CBO. To date, we have not had a response, but we continue pressing our sponsors and our lobbyists to encourage a prompt reply to our simple questions. As in the past, the CBO only responds when committee action or a floor vote is imminent. A slow response may occur this time, too, which means we may not have better information until after the election and Congress returns to DC.

Third, we have reexamined the language in the bill and believe that the early years’ shortfall is due to the 2014 and 2015 fee cap that limits all high end fees to the top tier fee of $5650. The Cabin Coalition and NFH both believe that we may have to remove this provision from the bill to meet the now higher and more stringent revenue neutral standards. This is not good news for those cabin owners who most need the immediate protection of this provision. Nearly 800 cabin owners would face CUFFA fees of $6000 and above for 2014 and 2015 before the lower CFA fees would take effect in 2016. In an informal poll of several tracts that would be directly affected by removing the fee caps, we heard overwhelming support of continuing forward for the eventual benefits that the CFA will bring for the long-term health of the cabin program. Our options appear to boil down to this or to no bill at all and no relief from CUFFA fees going forward.

Fourth, we continue conversations with the Forest Service DC office. Their support for the CFA is unwavering and they regularly acknowledge the unfairness of CUFFA fees for many cabin owners. We are continuing to press for consideration of temporary permit suspension, an extended billing option for 2014 and 2015 fees or some other way of providing some relief for those cabin owners most egregiously impacted by high CUFFA fees.

While we continue to pursue all avenues to see CFA enacted as most recently passed out of House Committee, it may be that our options to pass CFA at all this year, and get long-term relief from CUFFA , may boil down to removing the 2014 and 2015 fee cap – or possibly getting no bill at all. Rest assured that we are all doing everything we can to get the best possible CFA solution enacted. On behalf of NFH and our C2 partners, thank you for your continuing and active support through this long effort. Stay tuned.

Jay Tripathi
NFH President, for the Cabin Coalition 2

Cabin Fee Act Update
From the National Forest Homeowners’ Association
August 8, 2014


The Cabin Fee Act (CFA) continues to await action by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Congress.

NFH and the Cabin Coalition 2 (C2) remain firmly committed to the CFA, pulling out all the stops and attempting every strategy that could make a difference to get it through Congress this year. In mid June, a nine-person delegation of NFH and C2 leadership, cabin owners, and our lobbyists traveled to Washington and visited 30 individual offices during a whirlwind three-day period. Congressmen, Senators, and their staffers were all well informed and largely supportive of the CFA, after a flood of over 400 email messages in response to our last grassroots call to action (thank you cabin owners – those emails make a difference!). We heard loud and clear from U.S. Forest Service Chief Tidwell that he is solidly in support of the legislation and wants to see it passed this year. It is a sensible solution and a non-controversial bill with strong bipartisan support, a win-win-win for the Forest Service, the public, and cabin owners. Influential sponsors and key committee members from both parties and in both chambers of Congress are poised to move the bill through to a vote as soon as possible. So what’s the problem?

At this moment in early August, we are still waiting on a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that scores the bill “revenue neutral,” meaning that under the CFA the cabin program will generate the same level of revenue as it would going forward under CUFFA. The bill cannot be taken to a floor vote until that determination is made. In March the CBO gave an unfavorable score to the senate version of the bill (S. 1341). Since then the House of Representatives has introduced a new CFA (H.R. 4873) – identical to the senate version – and the Forest Service has provided the CBO with updated and corrected information for a more complete calculation. NFH, C2, and the Forest Service all believe that using accurate data, the CFA will meet the test. The latest update we received is that the CBO will release its report by mid August. Then we need to wait until the House and Senate are back from recess on September 8, and will have to hit the ground running for a very short session, but our allies in Congress say they are ready to move it quickly.

Meanwhile, NFH and C2 continue to explore all of our options to provide some relief to cabin owners who are facing exorbitant permit fees and to avoid any loss of cabins in the program – losing cabins anywhere will erode and weaken the cabin program for everyone. Next year the cabin program will celebrate its centennial anniversary. We need to keep it healthy and strong for the next hundred years. Please be prepared to once again write your Congressmen and Senators in support of the CFA. Once we have the CBO report in hand, we will provide the message, the timing, and contact information. Stay Tuned!

May 14, 2014

> View Slide Presentation

> Cabin Fee Act link


Please check the NFH website (http://www.nationalforesthomeowners.org/) regularly for further information about the latest CFA developments in 2013 and how you can help advance the cause.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN THE TIME COMES?

Contact our Senators and your Congressperson. Let them know we appreciate their support and want the Cabin Fee Act legislation passed in this new Congress.

Addendum from Pete Bailey, NFHA: The importance of a prompt ‘markup’ by the Energy & Natural Resources Committee is essential if we expect to have a chance at getting the bill passed this year. We ask that all Oregon cabin owners contact Senator Wyden before Monday, December 2 with the following message. Please try to put this in your own words as much as you can.

Give sincere thanks to Senator Wyden for his support and his commitment to get the Cabin Fee Act, S.1341, passed. This cannot be over emphasized:

Point out how much you appreciate his very positive remarks at the Nov. 20th hearing for S. 1341 by the Energy & Natural Resource Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining. We are very pleased to have full Forest Service support for S.1341, but stress how important getting the CFA passed into law this year because next year the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) evaluations become even more problematic than this year. Ask that S.1341 receive a prompt ‘markup’ by the ENR committee, perhaps just after Thanksgiving. This will encourage a quick response from the CBO and improves our chances of passage this year! Oregon cabin owners and cabin owners everywhere want to see S. 1341 passed without changes.

Senator Ron Wyden contact information:
            Address: 221 DIRKSEN SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
            Phone:   (202) 224-5244   
            E-mail:    www.wyden.senate.gov/contact/

Senator Jeff Merkley
            Address: 313 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
            Phone:   (202) 224-3753
            Email:     www.merkley.senate.gov/contact/

Congressional Representative
            Website to find your Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Also, if you can help support these efforts financially, the NFHA could use additional funds for the lobbying efforts.  For more information on how to help go to the NFHA website at: http://nationalforesthomeowners.org/ .  If we all work together, hopefully we will have a better and fairer permit fee system in the future.

 

OFHA Meetings

Next Board Meeting
Location: TBA
Date: March, 2015

OFHA Annual Meeting
Date: March 2015
Location to be announced

 

NFHA Meetings

Meeting:  NFH 2015 Convention
Location: Vancouver, WA
Date:  May 1-2

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President

Scott Letourneau
from Elk Lake Tract
ofha.president@gmail.com

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