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Panoptic Enterprises' FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH

DATE: June 4, 2003

SUBJECT: Small Business Administration; Small Business Size Standard for Forest Fire Suppression and Fuels Management Services

SOURCE: Federal Register, June 4, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 107 page 33348

AGENCIES: Small Business Administration (SBA)

ACTION: Final Rule

SYNOPSIS: SBA is adopting $15,000,000 as the small business size standard for "Forest Fire Suppression" and "Fuels Management Service" activities classified within the "Support Activities for Forestry" industry (North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 115310). The size standard for the remainder of NAICS 115310 remains $6,000,000.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For more on the proposed rule, see the July 19, 2002, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Small Business Administration; Small Business Size Standard for Forest Fire Suppression and Fuels Management Services."

EDITOR'S NOTE: The SBA's regulations are in Title 13 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The SBA small business size regulations are in Chapter 1, Small Business Administration; Part 121, Small Business Size Regulations. The SBA 8(a) program regulations are in Chapter 1, Part 124, 8(a) Business Development/Small Disadvantaged Business Status Determinations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 7, 2003.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Diane Heal, Program Analyst, Office of Size Standards, at (202) 205-6618 or e-mail: sizestandards@sba.gov.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: On July 19, 2002, SBA published a proposed revision to the small business size standard Forest Fire Suppression and Fuels Management Service activities within NAICS 115310. The size standard for NAICS 115310 at the time was $6,000,000, but SBA had received requests from firms in the forestry industry to either increase the $6,000,000 size standard for the support activities for forestry industry, or create a separate size standard under this industry for forest fire suppression and fuels management services. These firms believed this was warranted because of increased emphasis by the federal government on removing biomass fuels from the nation's forests, the dramatic increase in funding for this effort, and the government's increasing reliance on the private sector to perform fuels management tasks and to suppress forest fires.

SBA conducted a review of the industry's size standard, and concluded that $15,000,000 would be an appropriate size standard for the forest fire suppression and fuels management segment of the industry. SBA proposed to add a footnote to the size standards table defining the activities as follows: "Forest Fire Suppression and Fuels Management, a component of Support Activities for Forestry, includes establishments which provide services to fight forest fires. These firms usually have fire-fighting crews and equipment. This component also includes Fuels Management firms that provide services to clear land of hazardous materials that would fuel forest fires. The treatments used by these firms may include prescribed fire, mechanical removal, establishing fuel breaks, thinning, pruning, and piling."

SBA received 19 comments on the proposed size standard from eight environmental and economic associations, five firms, three federal agencies, two individuals, and one trade association -- eight respondents supported the proposed size standard and 11 opposed it. SBA was not convinced by those opposing the change, so SBA is adopting the $15,000,000 size standard. However, five of the respondents recommended that forest fire suppression be separated from fuels management services because they are distinct segments of the industry, and two of those respondents asserted that fuels management firms are more like firms in other forestry services than they are like forest fire suppression firms. SBA agrees, so it is revising the table of small business size standards to list forest fire suppression and fuels management services as two separate exceptions under NAICS 115310. Also, SBA is revising the footnote to the size standards table to read: "Forest Fire Suppression and Fuels Management Services are two components of Support Activities for Forestry. Forest Fire Suppression includes establishments which provide services to fight forest fires. These firms usually have fire-fighting crews and equipment. Fuels Management Services firms provide services to clear land of hazardous materials that would fuel forest fires. The treatments used by these firms may include prescribed fire, mechanical removal, establishing fuel breaks, thinning, pruning, and piling."

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to Panoptic@FedGovContracts.com.

Copyright 2003 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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