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Calendar No. 811
110th Congress Report
2d Session 110-379
SNOQUALMIE PASS LAND CONVEYANCE ACT
June 16, 2008.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Bingaman, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 1285]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the Act (H.R. 1285) to provide for the conveyance of a
parcel of National Forest System land in Kittitas County,
Washington, to facilitate the construction of a new fire and
rescue station, and for other purposes, having considered the
same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and
recommends that the Act do pass.
The purpose of H.R. 1285 is to provide for the conveyance
of a parcel of National Forest System land on Snoqualmie Pass
in Kittitas County, Washington, to facilitate the construction
of a new fire and rescue station.
BACKGROUND AND NEED
Snoqualmie Pass Fire and Rescue serves King and Kittitas
Counties Fire District #51. The District consists of about two
dozen volunteers who serve a community of approximately 350
full-time residents and 1,500 seasonal residents. During the
winter, however, the weekend population can exceed 20,000 due
to the many visitors to the nearby ski area, and approximately
60,000 vehicles travel through Snoqualmie Pass along Interstate
Highway 90 on a busy day. As a result, Snoqualmie Pass Fire and
Rescue reports that non-residents generate up to 78% of its
emergency response incidents.
The Snoqualmie Pass Fire and Rescue Station currently is
located on National Forest System land that is leased from the
Forest Service. The leased facility was built in the 1930s and
is deficient in a number of important respects. As a result,
the District has made building a new fire and rescue station a
The parcel identified for conveyance by H.R. 1285 currently
is vacant and is informally used as a parking lot by members of
the public. Relocating the fire and rescue station to that site
would significantly improve response times to many of the
emergencies that occur in the area. The Forest Service and the
Fire District have discussed conveying the property under
existing law, but the Fire District does not have the funds
available to acquire the parcel at fair market value.
H.R. 1285 was introduced on March, 1, 2007. Hearings were
held in the House Committee on Natural Resources on April 17,
2007, and that Committee reported H.R. 1285 on July 23, 2007,
with an amendment (H. Rept. 110-249). The House of
Representatives passed H.R. 1285, as amended, by voice vote on
July 23, 2007. A similar bill was introduced in the 109th
Congress (H.R. 5999).
Senators Cantwell and Murray introduced a companion bill
(S. 2601) on February 6, 2008, and the Subcommittee on Public
Lands and Forests held a hearing on S. 2601 and H.R. 1285 on
February 27, 2008.
At its business meeting on May 7, 2008, the Committee on
Energy and Natural Resources ordered H.R. 1285 favorably
reported, without amendment.
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in an
open business session on May 7, 2008, by voice vote of a quorum
present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 1285.
Section 1 provides the short title for the Act.
Section 2(a) directs the Secretary of Agriculture to
convey, without consideration, a 1.5 acre parcel of National
Forest System land to the King and Kittitas Counties Fire
District #51 to build a new fire and rescue station.
Subsection (b) reserves a reversionary interest in the
conveyed land. If the Secretary determines (on the record and
after an opportunity for a hearing) that the property is being
used for something other than as a site for a fire and rescue
station, the land shall, at the option of the Secretary, revert
to the United States.
Subsection (c) provides that the Secretary may determine
the exact acreage and legal description of the land pursuant to
a survey, if necessary, and that the District shall pay for
such a survey.
Subsection (d) authorizes the Secretary to require such
additional terms and conditions in connection with the
conveyance as the Secretary considers appropriate to protect
the interests of the United States.
COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS
The following estimate of costs of this measure has been
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
H.R. 1285--Snoqualmie Pass Land Conveyance Act
H.R. 1285 would provide for the conveyance, without
consideration, of 1.5 acres of Forest Service land to the King
and Kittitas Counties Fire District #51. The land would be
available only to the fire district to be used to construct a
new firehouse. Based on information from the Forest Service,
CBO expects that any cost to the government of implementing
this legislation would not be significant. Enacting H.R. 1285
would not affect direct spending or revenues.
H.R. 1285 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
On July 10, 2007, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R.
1285, the Snoqualmie Pass Land Conveyance Act, as ordered
reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources on June
28, 2007. The versions of the legislation are identical, as are
the estimated costs.
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Tyler Kruzich.
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Assisitant
Director for Budget Analysis.
REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION
In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in
carrying out H.R. 1285.
The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of
imposing Government-established standards or significant
economic responsibilities on private individuals and
No personal information would be collected in administering
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal
Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the
enactment of H.R. 1285.
CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING
H.R. 1285 does not contain any congressionally directed
spending items, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff
benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the Standing Rules of the
The views of the Administration were included in testimony
received by the Committee at a hearing on H.R. 1285 on February
Statement of Melissa Simpson, Deputy Under Secretary, Natural Resources
and Environment, Department of Agriculture
This testimony concerns both S. 2601 and H.R. 1285, as
passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The bills would
require the Secretary of Agriculture to convey, without
consideration, approximately 1.5-acres of land on the Wenatchee
National Forest to the King and Kittitas Counties Fire District
#51 for use as a site for a new Snoqualmie Pass fire and rescue
The Fire District currently has a fire station located on
National Forest System lands under a special use permit,
several miles away from the property covered by this
legislation. We understand that the Fire District wants to
construct an updated facility situated at an interchange on
Interstate 90 to improve response times to the many emergency
situations that occur in that area. We agree that the proposed
1.5-acre parcel will meet this need. Among other administrative
procedures necessary to facilitate the conveyance, a land
survey will be needed to properly locate and describe the
property. As is required under the Townsite Act and exchange
authorities, the Fire District would normally be expected to
pay administrative costs of making the conveyance, such as the
The Department does not support the bills in their present
form. We appreciate that the acreage has been reduced from the
original House proposal of 3 acres to 1.5 acres. We do not
object to conveying the lands, but we oppose the bills because
they do not require market value compensation for the
conveyance, although the bill does require the District to
cover the survey costs associated with the conveyance. It is
long-standing policy that the taxpayers of the United States
should receive market value for the sale, exchange, or use of
their National Forest System lands.
We also believe that this legislation is unnecessary
because the Forest Service can meet the bill's objectives
through current statutes that allow the Forest Service to
convey this parcel to the Fire District for land or cash value.
For example, under the Townsite Act, the Secretary of
Agriculture may convey, for market value, up to 640 acres of
land to established communities located adjacent to National
Forests. Under the General Exchange Act, the Secretary of
Agriculture can conduct a land for land exchange with non-
Federal entities, including State and Local governments. These
laws require the Secretary of Agriculture to obtain market
value for exchanges or sales of National Forest lands.
Although we can not support the bills, we are eager to
continue discussions with the sponsors, the Fire District, and
the committee, in the hopes of assisting the District in
achieving its desire to improve its capacity to provide
necessary fire and rescue services.
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no
changes in existing law are made by the bill H.R. 1285 as