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Calendar No. 297
111th Congress Report
2d Session 111-147
BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY AND TOWN OF BLOWING ROCK LAND EXCHANGE ACT
March 2, 2010.--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. 1121]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the Act (H.R. 1121) to authorize a land exchange to
acquire lands for the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Town of
Blowing Rock, North Carolina, 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. 1121 is to authorize a land exchange
between the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Town of Blowing Rock,
BACKGROUND AND NEED
H.R. 1121 authorizes the exchange of approximately 20 acres
of land within the Blue Ridge Parkway, containing the Blowing
Rock Reservoir, for approximately 192 acres of nearby land
owned by the Town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
The land containing the Blowing Rock Reservoir was
bequeathed to the Federal Government in 1908 upon the death of
prominent local resident Moses Cone, but was held in trust
until its actual donation in 1949. In the intervening years,
the Town was allowed to remove water from a stream on the
property and pipe it to the Town's water system. The National
Park Service issued the Town a Special Use Permit to construct
a dam on the stream in 1955, creating a small reservoir.
Both parties agree that the best long-term resolution would
be to transfer the reservoir and its management to the Town, in
exchange for other lands which support the mission and purposes
of the Parkway.
The approximately 192-acre parcel to be acquired by the
Park Service is undeveloped land owned by the Town. It is a
desirable addition to the Parkway because it will provide a
buffer from adjacent developed areas. It will also protect
scenic views and enhance recreational opportunities on the
H.R. 1121, sponsored by Representative Foxx, passed the
House of Representatives on July 27, 2009, by a vote of 377-0.
Companion legislation, S. 1767, was introduced on October 8,
2009, by Senators Burr and Hagan. The Subcommittee on National
Parks held a hearing on S. 1767 and H.R. 1121 on November 4 (S.
Hrg. 111-92). At its business meeting on December 16, 2009, the
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered H.R. 1121
favorably reported without amendment.
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open
business session on December 16, 2009, by a voice vote of a
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 1121.
Section 1 provides the short title, the ``Blue Ridge
Parkway and Town of Blowing Rock Land Exchange Act of 2009''.
Section 2 defines key terms used in the bill.
Section 3(a) authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to
exchange approximately 20 acres of land within the boundaries
of the Blue Ridge Parkway for approximately 192 acres of land
owned by the Town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, as depicted
on the referenced map.
Subsection (b) requires that the map be on file and
available for public inspection in the appropriate offices of
the National Park Service.
Subsection (c) directs the Secretary to seek to complete
the exchange within three years after the date of enactment of
Subsection (d) provides that all laws, regulations, and
policies regarding exchanges of land administered by the
National Park Service shall apply, including those involving
appraisals, equalization of values, and environmental
compliance. The Secretary is also authorized to set other terms
and conditions as the Secretary considers appropriate.
Subsection (e) states that if the lands proposed for
exchange are found to be not equal in value, the values may be
equalized by adjusting the acreage amounts listed in subsection
Subsection (f) directs the Secretary, upon completion of
the exchange, to adjust the boundary of the Blue Ridge Parkway
to reflect the exchanged lands.
Subsection (g) provides that lands acquired by the
Secretary through the exchange shall be administered as part of
the Parkway in accordance with all applicable laws and
Subsection (h) states that if the Town later desires to
dispose of the reservoir property that is the subject of the
exchange, the Secretary shall have the right of first refusal
to acquire the property for inclusion in the Parkway.
COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS
The following estimate of costs of this measure has been
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
H.R. 1121--Blue Ridge Parkway and Town of Blowing Rock
Land Exchange Act of 2009
H.R. 1121 would authorize the exchange of about 20 acres of
federal land within the boundaries of the Blue Ridge Parkway in
exchange for 192 acres of property owned by the town of Blowing
Rock, North Carolina. Based on information provided by the
National Park Service, which administers the parkway, CBO
estimates that implementing H.R. 1121 would have no significant
effect on discretionary spending and no effect on revenues or
direct spending. We expect that the acreage to be added to the
parkway (probably within the next three years) would remain
The bill 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 21, 2009, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R.
1121, as ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural
Resources on July 9, 2009. The two versions of the legislation
are similar, and our cost estimates are the same.
The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Deborah Reis
and Daniel Hoople. The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo,
Deputy Assistant 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. 1121.
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. 1121, as ordered reported.
CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING
H.R. 1121, as reported, 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 Senate.
The testimony provided by the National Park Service at the
November 4, 2009, Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 1121 follows:
Statement of Katherine H. Stevenson, Assistant Director for Business
Services, National Park Service, Department of the Interior
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the
views of the Department of the Interior on S. 1767 and H.R.
1121, bills to authorize a land exchange to acquire lands for
the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Town of Blowing Rock, North
Carolina, and for other purposes.
The Department supports this legislation. S. 1767 and H.R.
1121, which are identical in substance, would authorize the
Secretary of the Interior to exchange approximately 20 acres of
land at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, a popular recreational
area located within the boundary of the Blue Ridge Parkway, for
approximately 192 acres of land owned by the Town of Blowing
Rock (Town). This proposed exchange would be mutually
beneficial to the National Park Service (NPS) and the Town.
In 1949, the Moses Cone Hospital Trust deeded the 3,500-
acre Moses H. Cone Memorial Park to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
This property had been held in trust by the hospital from 1911
until 1949 under a deed from Bertha Cone, the property's owner.
During that period, Mrs. Cone gave permission to the Town of
Blowing Rock to install a pipeline from the Town to a creek on
the property. In 1955, the NPS issued a permit to the Town
allowing them to dam the creek to form a reservoir, which
continues to be used by the Town as its primary source of
The Town and NPS officials at the Blue Ridge Parkway have
long been in agreement that it would be better for the Town to
own and manage their municipal water supply, rather than
accessing it through the NPS permitting process. Several years
ago, NPS and the Town sought to initiate an administrative land
exchange. In November 2003, the Town purchased a 192-acre tract
of land adjacent to the Cone Memorial Park in anticipation of
exchanging this land for approximately 20 acres of land within
the Cone Memorial Park that would include the reservoir and a
small amount of land that the Town could flood in order to
increase the size of the reservoir. The proposed exchange would
give the Town an unencumbered water supply and the potential
for some expansion of capacity, while the NPS would receive a
192-acre buffer tract that would provide recreational
opportunities and preservation and protection of resources at
the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We believe that this exchange, which has been underway for
several years, would be facilitated and hastened through
passage of S. 1767 or H.R. 1121, authorizing bills that
establish clear expectations for both the Town and the NPS
regarding the exchange process.
When the House Resources Committee considered H.R. 1121 on
July 9, 2009, the committee adopted amendments recommended by
the Department to allow the acreage amounts in the bill to be
adjusted to equalize land values and to provide a three-year
time frame for the exchange. H.R. 1121, as amended, passed the
House on July 27, 2009. The changes made to the H.R. 1121 are
reflected in S. 1767.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I would be happy
to answer any questions that you may have.
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 H.R. 1121 as ordered