H. Rept. 113-298 - 113th Congress (2013-2014)
December 16, 2013, As Reported by the Natural Resources Committee

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House Report 113-298 - ANCHORAGE LAND CONVEYANCE ACT OF 2013




[House Report 113-298]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


113th Congress  }                                      {         Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session    }                                      {        113-298

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



 
                 ANCHORAGE LAND CONVEYANCE ACT OF 2013

                                _______
                                

 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. 585]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 585) to provide for the unencumbering of title 
to non-Federal land owned by the city of Anchorage, Alaska, for 
purposes of economic development by conveyance of the Federal 
reversion interest to the City, 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. 585 is to provide for the unencumbering 
of title to non-Federal land owned by the city of Anchorage, 
Alaska, for purposes of economic development by conveyance of 
the Federal reversion interest to the City.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    H.R. 585 would remove the reversionary interest and clear 
title to three small parcels of land owned by the Municipality 
of Anchorage, Alaska, comprising 2.65 acres in total.
    Decades ago, these parcels were conveyed to either the 
former ``City of Anchorage'' or more recently the 
``Municipality of Anchorage.'' They were transferred by the 
federal government to the local government for a wide variety 
of specified purposes, but all were transferred for the 
overarching purpose of helping the then nascent municipality of 
Anchorage, which is surrounded by federal lands.
    The tracts are no longer necessary for municipal purposes 
or use by the federal government but the reversionary clauses 
on the three parcels are preventing their conversion to 
productive use and a future source of revenue for the City of 
Anchorage.
    Parcel 1. In 1922 the City of Anchorage received a number 
of properties around Anchorage for municipal/school purposes. 
One of the properties was the 1.93-acre site in Block 42 
downtown that, since the early 1980s, has been the site of the 
William A. Egan Convention Center. With the completion in 2010 
of the larger Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center, the tract 
is surplus to municipal needs, and could best be utilized for 
sale to an entity that could afford the cost of conversion of 
the property for future use, adding to the federal income tax 
base and local property tax base.
    Parcel 2. This lot of .48 acres, at Seventh and I Streets 
downtown, is currently being used as a municipal parking lot. 
The land, obtained by the city as part of a 1982 land exchange 
that cleared the site for a major office building across the 
street, is too small for municipal or federal office space use, 
or for park construction, but might be properly sized for a 
commercial enterprise. It is zoned for business, but because of 
the inability of the Municipality to sell the property due to 
the federal reversionary clause, it cannot be used for business 
and contribute to the local property tax base or federal income 
tax base.
    Parcel 3. The .24-acre site at the corner of H Street and 
Christiansen Drive was obtained by the City in 1963. It 
currently sits vacant and idle. It is too small for municipal 
or federal office space, unneeded for park space, but might be 
of use for a retail establishment given its location near a 
municipal parking facility. Likewise, it is zoned for business/
commercial, but cannot be used and potentially contribute to 
the local and federal tax bases due to the federal reversion 
clause.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 585 was introduced on February 6, 2013, by Congressman 
Don Young (R-AK). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee 
on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation. On June 6, 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. 585--Anchorage Land Conveyance Act of 2013

    H.R. 585 would require the Secretary of the Interior to 
convey the reversionary interest of the United States in three 
acres of land to the city of Anchorage, Alaska. Under current 
law, the city holds title to those lands and will retain title 
as long as the lands are used for public purposes. If the city 
stops using the lands for such purposes, title would revert 
back to the federal government.
    Based on information provided by the city of Anchorage, CBO 
expects that, under current law, the city would continue to use 
the affected lands for public purposes and hold title to those 
lands over the next 10 years. Furthermore, under the bill, any 
administrative costs associated with conveying the reversionary 
interest in those lands would be paid by the city; therefore, 
CBO estimates that implementing the bill would have no effect 
on the federal budget. Because enacting H.R. 585 would not 
affect direct spending or revenues, pay-as-you-go procedures do 
not apply.
    H.R. 585 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. 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 bill would have no effect 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 provide for the unencumbering of 
title to non-Federal land owned by the city of Anchorage, 
Alaska, for purposes of economic development by conveyance of 
the Federal reversion interest to the City.

                           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

    H.R. 585 will convey to the City, free of charge, the 
federal government's reversionary interest in 2.7 acres of land 
in downtown Anchorage, Alaska. The 2.7 acres in question were 
federally owned and transferred to the City of Anchorage using 
various authorities. In each case, the land was conveyed free 
of charge with the requirement that it revert to federal 
ownership if it ceased being used for public purposes. H.R. 585 
will extinguish that reversionary interest.
    The problem with H.R. 585 is not that the City will 
continue to own the land; the problem is the removal of the 
longstanding reversionary clause which protects the public 
interest. Without it, the federal government is giving the City 
land for free, allowing for the sale of the property and a 
windfall profit for Anchorage. The land is a prime location for 
commercial development and is valued above $1 million.
    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has responded to 
requests to release similar reversionary interests in the past 
and has consistently required the payment of fair market value 
for the interest. That is what should occur here.

                                                  Peter A. DeFazio.