I have today approved the enrolled bill S. 1360 because it provides the Secretary of Agriculture broad flexibility in determining bidding methods to be used in the sale of National Forest timber. The bill directs the Secretary to take such measures as he deems appropriate to:
—ensure open and fair competition,
—ensure that the Federal Government receives not less than the appraised value of such timber,
—consider the economic stability of communities or such other objectives as he deems necessary, and
—be consistent with the objectives of other Federal statutes.
I endorse this direction.
The administration had opposed legislation to amend the 1976 law in order to permit enough time to evaluate the effects of the revised regulation governing the sale of National Forest timber that went into effect on June 2, 1977.
I have approved the bill since it is clear that the Secretary retains full discretion to adopt bidding regulations for National Forest timber which he determines to be in the public interest. It is also clear that he may test alternative bidding methods or prescribe changes in bidding methods from time to time to meet overall public objectives.