Summary: S.1680 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.1680. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (08/03/1979)

Western Lands Distribution and Regional Equalization Act of 1979 - Title I: Short Title; Findings and Declaration of Policy; Definitions - States that the practice of retaining Federal ownership to territory within the borders of States located west of the one-hundredth meridian as a condition precedent to their admission into the Union, has impinged on the sovereignty of such States in derogation of the tenth amendment to the Constitution.

Declares that the United States shall hold all such States federally owned, unreserved, and unappropriated lands in trust for such States and shall transfer ownership and administration of such lands to such States when they have adopted legislation which provides a uniformity of State and Federal law relating to land administration, conservation and use. Excludes from transfer in implementing such policy all Federal lands within national parks, national monuments, and national wildlife and migratory bird sanctuaries established prior to January 1, 1979, lands within Indian or military reservations, and lands necessary for the operation of Federal reclamation projects, shipyards docks, defense establishments and other Federal buildings.

Title II: Federal Land Transfer Board - Authorizes the Governor of any State seeking to acquire such unreserved and unappropriated lands to petition the President within 60 months of the enactment of this Act to establish a Federal Land Transfer Board for such State. Directs the President to establish such a Board consisting of State and Federal members within 90 days of the receipt of such an application. States that the Board shall serve until all conveyances of such lands within the State are carried out.

Requires each Federal Land Transfer Board to coordinate its activities with the State land commission established pursuant to this Act.

Directs each Board to carry out the required land transfers within two years of its determination that a State's application meets the requirements of this Act.

Empowers the Land Transfer Boards to resolve land claims and disputes arising from the implementation of this Act.

Grants any State aggrieved by a decision of a Land Transfer Board on its application the right to a public hearing and review before the Board. Empowers the United States courts of appeals to hear appeals from final orders of the Boards. States that judicial review shall be on the record made before the Board and that the Board's findings shall be conclusive if supported by substantial evidence. States that the judgment of the court of appeals shall be subject to review only by the United States Supreme Court upon a writ of certiorari or certification.

Title III: State Land Commissions - Requires each State seeking the conveyance of unreserved and unappropriated land under this Act, to establish a State land commission board to: (1) hold any transferred lands in trust for all people of the United States; (2) manage such lands to maximize conservation and permit compatible land uses; (3) protect the interests of persons who have acquired rights in such land under Federal law; (4) collect fees, rents, and royalties, issue licenses, conduct surveys and perform other administrative functions relating to such lands; (5) transfer to the United States those property interests necessary to continue lawful, Federal activities; and (6) continue to administer lands previously administered by the United States pursuant to a treaty or interstate compact in conformance with the terms of such treaty or compact.

Directs each State land commission board to coordinate its activities with the appropriate Federal Land Transfer Board.

Title IV: Miscellaneous - Declares that the United States shall retain control over the oceans, seas, navigable rivers, streams, and lakes, and projects of the Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation.

Directs the President to modify agreements with other nations if necessary to implement this Act.

Grants the consent of Congress to any interstate compact relating to the management and use of such lands if it has been approved by the appropriate Federal Land Transfer Boards.

Sets forth provisions to assist individuals whose employment is disrupted by implementation of this Act.

Authorizes each Federal agency with jurisdiction over lands conveyed to a State under this Act, to extend low interest loans to such State to insure that it is financially able to comply with the provisions of this Act. Limits the amount of such loans to the anticipated mineral, timber, and grazing revenues derived from such transferred lands over a ten-year period.