H. Rept. 113-296 - 113th Congress (2013-2014)
December 16, 2013, As Reported by the Natural Resources Committee

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House Report 113-296 - TO AUTHORIZE ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA, TO CONVEY CERTAIN PROPERTY THAT WAS FORMERLY PART OF SANTA ROSA ISLAND NATIONAL MONUMENT AND THAT WAS CONVEYED TO ESCAMBIA COUNTY SUBJECT TO RESTRICTIONS ON USE AND RECONVEYANCE




[House Report 113-296]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


113th Congress  }                                      {         Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session    }                                      {        113-296

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

 
TO AUTHORIZE ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA, TO CONVEY CERTAIN PROPERTY THAT 
 WAS FORMERLY PART OF SANTA ROSA ISLAND NATIONAL MONUMENT AND THAT WAS 
    CONVEYED TO ESCAMBIA COUNTY SUBJECT TO RESTRICTIONS ON USE AND 
                              RECONVEYANCE

                                _______
                                

 December 16, 2013.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 2954]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 2954) to authorize Escambia County, Florida, to 
convey certain property that was formerly part of Santa Rosa 
Island National Monument and that was conveyed to Escambia 
County subject to restrictions on use and reconveyance, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment 
and recommend that the bill do pass.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 2954 is to authorize Escambia County, 
Florida, to convey certain property that was formerly part of 
Santa Rosa Island National Monument and that was conveyed to 
Escambia County subject to restrictions on use and 
reconveyance.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    H.R. 2954 would allow Escambia County, Florida, to convey 
or otherwise dispose of all right, title, and interest in and 
to any portion of the property that was conveyed to it pursuant 
to a 1946 law and 1947 deed, to any person or entity, free from 
any restriction on conveyance or reconveyance imposed by the 
United States in the 1946 law or 1947 deed. Any proceeds from 
three conveyances shall be transferred to the federal 
government.
    On January 15, 1947, the federal government removed the 
Santa Rosa National Monument from the jurisdiction of the 
National Park Service and deeded the land located on Santa Rosa 
Island to Escambia County, Florida. Under the terms of the 
conveyance, Escambia County was given the authority to transfer 
property on Santa Rosa Island; however, it was not allowed to 
issue title on the property. The Deed of Conveyance specified 
``that the above described land shall be retained by the said 
Escambia County and be used by it for such purposes as it shall 
deem to be in the public interest or be leased by it from time 
to time in whole or in part or parts to such persons and for 
such purposes as it shall deem to be in the public interest and 
upon such terms and conditions as it shall fix and always be 
subject to regulation by said county whether leased or not 
leased, but never to be otherwise disposed of or conveyed by it 
. . .''. After taking custody of the land, Escambia County 
began offering leases for businesses and homeowners who would 
pay a lease fee, but not be charged property taxes. This 
arrangement continues today.
    Santa Rosa Island has grown enormously in the intervening 
years, and the Board of Commissioners of both Escambia County 
and Santa Rosa County passed resolutions asking for a federal 
solution to allow current Santa Rosa Island leaseholders the 
option of attaining fee title while protecting public access to 
the beaches and conservation areas on the island. H.R. 2954 
provides the long-needed solution, similar to what was attained 
by neighboring Okaloosa Island, and allows for the County to 
more fairly levy taxes while protecting the island's natural 
resources.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 2954 was introduced on August 1, 2013, by Congressman 
Jeff Miller (R-FL). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee 
on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation. On October 3, 
2013, the Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On October 
30, 2013, the Natural Resources Committee met to consider the 
bill. The Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental 
Regulation was discharged by unanimous consent. No amendments 
were offered and the bill was then adopted and ordered 
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by voice 
vote.

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 2954--A bill to authorize Escambia County, Florida, to convey 
        certain property that was formerly part of the Santa Rosa 
        Island National Monument and that was conveyed to Escambia 
        County subject to restrictions on use and reconveyance

    H.R. 2954 would authorize Escambia County in Florida to 
convey certain property that it received from the federal 
government. The specified properties had been part of the Santa 
Rosa Island National Monument and were transferred to Escambia 
County in 1947 for public purposes. As a condition of that 
conveyance, Escambia County can reconvey the properties to the 
federal government or to the state of Florida. H.R. 2954 would 
remove that condition and add new conditions. First, under the 
bill, any conveyance of the specified properties would require 
Escambia County to convey to Santa Rosa County any of the 
property that falls within the jurisdictional boundaries of 
Santa Rosa County. Second, any proceeds above the direct or 
incidental costs from conveyances under the bill would be 
transferred to the federal government.
    CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would have 
no significant impact on the federal budget. Enacting H.R. 2954 
would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-
as-you-go procedures do not apply. Based on information 
provided by the National Park Service and local government 
entities, CBO estimates that the proceeds from any conveyances 
of the specified properties would be used to cover direct or 
incidental costs.
    H.R. 2954 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Martin von 
Gnechten. The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required 
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget 
authority, spending authority, credit authority, or an increase 
or decrease in revenues or tax expenditures. CBO estimates that 
implementing the legislation would have no significant impact 
on the federal budget.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to authorize Escambia County, 
Florida, to convey certain property that was formerly part of 
Santa Rosa Island National Monument and that was conveyed to 
Escambia County subject to restrictions on use and 
reconveyance.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       COMPLIANCE WITH H. RES. 5

    Directed Rule Making. The Chairman does not believe that 
this bill directs any executive branch official to conduct any 
specific rule-making proceedings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    Santa Rosa Island is a 40-mile barrier island in the Gulf 
of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. Settled by 
Spanish explorer Tristan De Luna in 1559, it's the site of the 
earliest European settlement in North America and an eventual 
home to Fort Pickens, an important U.S. military base 
throughout much of early American history. It is also the site 
of a significant battle during the American Civil War.
    Throughout the 20th century, portions of the island 
switched ownership between the County of Escambia and the 
federal government. Beginning on April 19, 1929, much of the 
island was sold to Escambia County for $10,000. The deed states 
that the land was to be used for public purposes and the county 
was prohibited from further conveyance of the land, except to 
the State of Florida or back to the federal government.
    In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt recognized the 
historical significance of the island and proclaimed the Santa 
Rosa Island National Monument. The monument was abolished by 
Congress in 1946 and the Department of Interior in 1947 
returned a portion of Santa Rosa Island back to Escambia 
County, again with a reversionary clause. Following the 1946 
Act, all use of the land is required to meet the public 
interest. Escambia County deemed that 100-year leases were in 
the ``public interest'' and in 1956, leased the area of Navarre 
Beach to neighboring Santa Rosa County.
    H.R. 2954 would convey, without restriction, land 
associated with the former Santa Rosa National Monument to the 
County of Escambia to be used at their discretion. This would 
negate the reversionary clause and allow Escambia County to 
deed the area of Navarre Beach to Santa Rosa County. Santa Rosa 
County has plans to dredge and build a harbor that could cut 
off access to the rest of the island. The island, excluding 
Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach, is now managed as part of 
the Gulf Islands National Seashore, a unit of the National Park 
System (NPS), established by Congress in 1971.
    Removing the restrictions associated with the 1946 Act 
could inhibit access, damage the resources of the island and 
allow development of land intended for public use.

                                                  Peter A. DeFazio.