7 U.S.C. § 1997 - Conservation easements

Cite as:7 U.S.C. § 1997
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-135 (03/26/2020)
 
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(a) Definitions

For purposes of this section:

(1) The term "governmental entity" means any agency of the United States, a State, or a unit of local government of a State.

(2) The terms "highly erodible land" and "wetland" have the meanings, respectively, that such terms are given in section 3801 of title 16.

(3) The term "wildlife" means fish or wildlife as defined in section 3371(a) of title 16.

(4) The term "recreational purposes" includes hunting.

(b) Contracts on loan security properties

Subject to subsection (c), the Secretary may enter into a contract related to real property for conservation, recreation, or wildlife purposes.

(c) Limitations

The Secretary may enter into a contract under subsection (b) if-

(1) such property is wetland, upland, or highly erodible land;

(2) such property is determined by the Secretary to be suitable for the purposes involved; and

(3)

(A) such property secures any loan made under any law administered by the Secretary and held by the Secretary; and

(B) such contract better enables a qualified borrower to repay the loan in a timely manner, as determined by the Secretary.

(d) Terms and conditions

The terms and conditions specified in each such contract shall-

(1) specify the purposes for which such real property may be used;

(2) identify the conservation measures to be taken, and the recreational and wildlife uses to be allowed, with respect to such real property; and

(3) require such owner to permit the Secretary, and any person or governmental entity designated by the Secretary, to have access to such real property for the purpose of monitoring compliance with such contract.

(e) Purchase; limitation upon cancellation or prepayment

(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary may reduce or forgive the outstanding debt of a borrower-

(A) in the case of a borrower to whom the Secretary has made one or more outstanding loans under laws administered by the Secretary, by canceling that part of the aggregate amount of such outstanding loans that bears the same ratio to such aggregate amount as the number of acres of the real property of the borrower that are subject to the contract bears to the aggregate number of acres securing such loans; or

(B) in any other case, by treating as prepaid that part of the principal amount of a new loan to the borrower issued and held by the Secretary under a law administered by the Secretary that bears the same ratio to such principal amount as the number of acres of the real property of the borrower that are subject to the contract bears to the aggregate number of acres securing the new loan.

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