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                                                       Calendar No. 136
112th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     112-56

======================================================================



 
               GREAT LAKES SHIPWRECK HISTORICAL SOCIETY 
                          PATENT MODIFICATION

                                _______
                                

   August 30 (legislative day, August 2), 2011.--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 S. 404]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 404) to modify a land grant patent issued 
by the Secretary of the Interior, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that 
the bill do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 404 is to modify a land grant patent 
issued by the Secretary of the Interior pertaining to the 
Whitefish Point Light Station in Michigan.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    On September 23, 1998, the Secretary of the Interior issued 
a land patent (U.S. Patent Number 61-98-0040) to the Great 
Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society for ownership of several 
acres of land on Whitefish Point, a 43-acre spit of land 
jutting into Lake Superior. The land, which contains the 
historic Whitefish Point Lighthouse, was transferred to the 
Historical Society for the purpose of interpreting maritime 
history. On March 10, 2000, the Secretary reissued the 
Historical Society's land patent (U.S. Patent Number 61-2000-
0007) to correct an error in the original conveyance.
    Following the conveyance of the Whitefish Point property, a 
dispute between the Michigan Audubon Society, which owns land 
on Whitefish Point, and the Historical Society over the 
management of Whitefish Point led to a lawsuit in 1999. The 
resulting settlement agreement led to the development of a 
management plan for Whitefish Point in 2002, titled Human Use/
Natural Resource Management Plan for Whitefish Point.
    The reissued land patent, 61-2000-0007, does not reference 
the Human Use/Natural Resource Management Plan for Whitefish 
Point or the settlement agreement between the Michigan Audubon 
Society and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society. S. 
404 will correct that error by directing the Secretary of the 
Interior to modify the patent to reflect the current management 
plan.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 404 was introduced by Senator Levin on February 17, 
2011. The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on the 
bill on May 11, 2011. At its business meeting on July 14, 2011, 
the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Committee ordered 
S. 404 to be favorably reported without amendment.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on July 14, 2011, by a voice vote of a quorum 
present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 404.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 contains Congressional findings.
    Section 2(a) modifies United States Patent Number 61-2000-
0007, issued by the Secretary of the Interior by deleting the 
reference in the patent to the Whitefish Point Comprehensive 
Plan of October 1992 and instead referencing the Human Use/
Natural Resource Plan for Whitefish Point, dated December 2002.
    Subsection (b) states that each other term of the 
conveyance that is the included in the existing patent, 
including any obligation to maintain the property in accordance 
with the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470f et 
seq.), and any other appropriate law, shall remain in effect.
    Section 3(a) provides that the modification shall become 
effective on the date the modification is recorded in the 
Office of the Register of Deeds in Chippewa County, Michigan.
    Subsection (b) requests the Office of the Register of Deeds 
in Chippewa County, Michigan, to endorse on the recorded copy 
of the patent the fact that the patent has been modified in 
accordance with this Act.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

S. 404--A bill to modify a land grant patent issued by the Secretary of 
        the Interior

    S. 404 would amend an existing land grant patent to ratify 
a change in the use of the Whitefish Point Light Station in 
Michigan and related property covered by that patent. (A land 
grant patent is a method of conveying ownership of land.) Based 
on information provided by the Department of the Interior, CBO 
estimates that implementing S. 404 would have no effect on the 
federal budget. The ratification would enable development plans 
for the property to go forward, but those plans do not involve 
federal spending. The Light Station was conveyed by the federal 
government to two nonprofit organizations in 1996. Enacting S. 
404 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, 
pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    The legislation contains no intergovernmental or private-
sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. 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 S. 404.
    The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of 
imposing Government-established standards or significant 
economic responsibilities on private individuals and 
businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 404, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    S. 404, as ordered 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.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the Department of the Interior 
Bureau of Land Management at the May 11, 2011 Subcommittee 
hearing on S. 404 follows:

 Statement of the Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior

    Thank you for the invitation to present testimony on S. 
404, legislation to modify a land patent pertaining to the 
Whitefish Point Light Station (Michigan). Although the Bureau 
of Land Management's (BLM) role under the legislation is 
ministerial, preservation of historic lighthouses such as the 
Whitefish Point Light Station is a priority for the Department 
of the Interior. The BLM supports S. 404.


                               background


    In the late 18th and 19th centuries, the United States 
built a series of lighthouses in and around Lake Michigan, Lake 
Huron, and Lake Superior to aid in navigation of the Great 
Lakes. The role played by these lighthouses in the westward 
expansion and economic growth of the United States is part of 
our national heritage, with ships and shipwrecks recalled in 
story and song. The Great Lakes lighthouses--including the 
Whitefish Point Light Station at issue in S. 404--are listed on 
the National Register of Historic Properties.
    The U.S. Coast Guard retains responsibility for aid to 
navigation in the Great Lakes, as it (or its predecessor, the 
Revenue Marine) has since 1790. In the mid-1990s, concerns 
reached the Congress that the Coast Guard, in carrying out its 
mission in the Great Lakes, was unable to assure preservation 
of the historic lighthouses. Interest in preserving the 
Whitefish Point Light Station led the Congress, in 1996, to 
convey land adjacent to the Light Station to two non-profit 
organizations dedicated to conservation and historic 
preservation--an 8.27 acre parcel to the Great Lakes Shipwreck 
Historical Society (Historical Society) and a 2.69 acre parcel 
to the Michigan Audubon Society (Audubon Society) of Chippewa 
County--and a 33 acre parcel to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (FWS) (Public Law 104-208, Omnibus Consolidated 
Appropriations Act, Fiscal Year 1997, Section 5505).
    This law contains limitations on development at the 
historic lighthouse, and explicitly requires compliance with 
the ``Whitefish Point Comprehensive Plan of October 1992.'' The 
patents the BLM issued under this authority (including the most 
recent, number 61-2000-0007, issued March 10, 2000, to the 
Historical Society) contain this reference.
    In 1999, the Audubon Society brought suit against the 
Historical Society and the FWS over plans to develop a museum 
at the site. The parties reached a settlement agreement under 
which the three groups developed the ``Human Use/Natural 
Resource Plan for Whitefish Point, December 2002,'' to 
supersede the Whitefish Point Comprehensive Plan of 1992.


                                 s. 404


    S. 404 directs the Secretary of the Interior to modify 
patent number 61-2000-0007 by striking reference to the 
Whitefish Point Comprehensive Plan of October 1992 and 
inserting the ``Human Use/Natural Resource Plan for Whitefish 
Point, dated December 2002.'' S. 404 affirms the applicability 
of the National Historic Preservation Act to the Whitefish 
Point Light Station. S. 404 requires that the property be used 
in a manner that does not impair or interfere with its 
conservation values. The BLM supports this legislation.


                               conclusion


    Thank you for the opportunity to present testimony in 
support of S. 404.

                        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 S. 404, as ordered 
reported.