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113th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                     113-56

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

 
    TO AMEND PUBLIC LAW 93-435 WITH RESPECT TO THE NORTHERN MARIANA 
 ISLANDS, PROVIDING PARITY WITH GUAM, THE VIRGIN ISLANDS, AND AMERICAN 
                                 SAMOA

                                _______
                                

  May 14, 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

                        [To accompany H.R. 573]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 573) to amend Public Law 93-435 with respect to 
the Northern Mariana Islands, providing parity with Guam, the 
Virgin Islands, and American Samoa, 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. 573 is to amend Public Law 93-435 with 
respect to the Northern Mariana Islands, providing parity with 
Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The Northern Mariana Islands archipelago is located in the 
western Pacific, roughly 40 miles north of the U.S. territory 
of Guam, on the eastern-most boundary of the Philippine Sea. 
The archipelago consists of 14 volcanic islands, with a total 
land area of 184 square miles. The island chain spans 375 miles 
north to south or roughly 400 nautical miles from the southern 
island (Rota) to the northern island (Farallon De Pajaros).
    After World War II, a U.S. military government was 
installed on the islands. In 1947, the islands became a United 
Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, with the U.S. 
administering the trusteeship agreement. The U.S. was required 
under the trusteeship to ``promote the development of the 
inhabitants of the trust territory toward self-government.'' 
The Marianas Political Status Commission, with representatives 
from the islands and a delegation from the U.S., negotiated a 
Covenant to define the relationship between the parties. Under 
the covenant, the Northern Mariana Islands functions as a self-
governing commonwealth, while recognizing U.S. sovereignty over 
the islands. The negotiators signed the Covenant on February 
15, 1975, and it was unanimously approved by the legislature of 
the Mariana Islands District of United Nations Trust Territory 
of the Pacific Islands on February 17, 1975.
    In 1976, Congress approved the Covenant to Establish a 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in 
Political Union with the United States and then-President Ford 
signed the bill which became Public Law 94-241. The CNMI 
government adopted a constitution in 1978 and its 
constitutional government took office in 1978. In 1986, 
Presidential Proclamation No. 5564 fully implemented the 
Covenant. Finally, the United Nations terminated the trust 
status as it applied to the CNMI in 1990.
    In 1974, Congress passed the Territorial Submerged Lands 
Act which gave Guam, the Virgin Islands and America Samoa 
jurisdiction over submerged lands surrounding each of the 
islands out to three geographical miles. The CNMI was not 
granted similar authorities since it was not a U.S. territory 
at the time. The CNMI legislature passed legislation in 1979, 
1980 and 1988 asserting that the CNMI had exclusive 
jurisdiction over submerged lands and offshore marine 
resources. However, the U.S. position has been that the 
submerged lands were not transferred to the CNMI under the 
Covenant and remain under the jurisdiction of the U.S.
    In 2004, CNMI sued the U.S. in District Court under the 
Quiet Title Act (28 U.S.C. 2409a) asserting its claim of 
jurisdiction over oceanic submerged lands and marine resources 
from its coastline to a distance of 200 nautical miles. The 
District Court ruled that the U.S. has ``paramount authority 
over those lands and resources as a necessary and retained 
element of its national sovereignty.'' CNMI appealed the 
decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth 
Circuit affirmed the District Court's ruling; however, it did 
recognize that Congress has the authority to transfer ownership 
of submerged lands to the states and its territories.
    H.R. 573 amends section one and two of Public Law 93-435 
(48 U.S.C. 1705) to provide CNMI with the same benefits in its 
submerged lands as Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American 
Samoa. The amendment to section two of the public law retains 
federal defense and navigational rights.
    In the 111th and 112th Congresses, similar legislation was 
reported out of the Natural Resources Committee. In the 111th 
Congress, H.R. 934 passed the House of Representatives by a 
roll call vote of 416-0, and in the 112th Congress, H.R. 670 
passed by a roll call vote of 397-0.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 573 was introduced on February 6, 2013, by Congressman 
Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-MP). The bill was referred to 
the Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to 
the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular 
Affairs. On April 24, 2013, the Full Natural Resources 
Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee on 
Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs 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 unanimous consent.

            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. 573--A bill to amend Public Law 93-435 with respect to the 
        Northern Mariana Islands, providing parity with Guam, the 
        Virgin Islands, and American Samoa

    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 573 would have no 
significant effect on the federal budget. The bill would convey 
ownership of submerged lands to the Commonwealth of the 
Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) from the mean high tide seaward 
to the point that is three geographical miles from its coast 
line. Under current law, those lands are owned by the United 
States. The legislation also would include CNMI among the 
islands where the United States may establish a naval defensive 
perimeter.
    Based on information from the Department of the Interior, 
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 573 would have no 
significant cost to the federal government. Enacting the bill 
would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-
as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 573 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.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford. 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 
enacting H.R. 573 would have no significant 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 amend Public Law 93-435 with 
respect to the Northern Mariana Islands, providing parity with 
Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

                           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 Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                         ACT OF OCTOBER 5, 1974


                          (Public Law 93-435)

AN ACT To place certain submerged lands within the jurisdiction of the 
 governments of Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa, and for 
                            other purposes.

  Be it enacted in the Senate and the House of Representatives 
of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That (a) 
subject to valid existing rights, all right, title, and 
interest of the United States in lands permanently or 
periodically covered by tidal waters up to but not above the 
line of mean high tide and seaward to a line three geographical 
miles distant from the coastlines of the territories of Guam, 
the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin 
Islands, and American Samoa, as heretofore or hereafter 
modified by accretion, erosion, and reliction, and in 
artificially made, filled in, or reclaimed lands which were 
formerly permanently or periodically covered by tidal waters, 
are hereby conveyed to the governments of Guam, the 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin 
Islands, and American Samoa, as the case may be, to be 
administered in trust for the benefit of the people thereof.
  (b) There are excepted from the transfer made by subsection 
(a) hereof--
          (i) all deposits of oil, gas, and other minerals, but 
        the term ``minerals'' shall not include coral, sand, 
        and gravel;
          (ii) all submerged lands adjacent to property owned 
        by the United States above the line of mean high tide;
          (iii) all submerged lands adjacent to property above 
        the line of mean high tide acquired by the United 
        States by eminent domain proceedings, purchase, 
        exchange, or gift, after the date of enactment of this 
        Act, as required for completion of the Department of 
        the Navy Land Acquisition Project relative to the 
        construction of the Ammunition Pier authorized by the 
        Military Construction Authorization Act, 1971 (84 Stat. 
        1204), as amended by section 201 of the Military 
        Construction Act, 1973 (86 Stat. 1135);
          (iv) all submerged lands filled in, built up, or 
        otherwise reclaimed by the United States, before the 
        date of enactment of this Act, for its own use;
          (v) all tracts or parcels of submerged land 
        containing on any part thereof any structures or 
        improvements constructed by the United States;
          (vi) all submerged lands that have heretofore been 
        determined by the President or the Congress to be of 
        such scientific, scenic, or historic character as to 
        warrant preservation and administration under the 
        provisions of the Act entitled ``An Act to establish a 
        National Park Service, and for other purposes'', 
        approved August 25, 1916 (16 U.S.C. 1 et seq.);
          (vii) all submerged lands designated by the President 
        within one hundred and twenty days after the date of 
        enactment of this Act;
          (viii) all submerged lands that are within the 
        administrative responsibility of any agency or 
        department of the United States other than the 
        Department of the Interior;
          (ix) all submerged lands lawfully acquired by persons 
        other than the United States through purchase, gift, 
        exchange, or otherwise;
          (x) all submerged lands within the Virgin Islands 
        National Park established by the Act of August 2, 1956 
        (16 U.S.C. 398 et seq.), including the lands described 
        in the Act of October 5, 1962 (16 U.S.C. 398c-398d); 
        and
          (xi) all submerged lands within the Buck Island Reef 
        National Monument as described in Presidential 
        Proclamation 3448 dated December 28, 1961.
Upon request of the Governor of Guam, the Commonwealth of the 
Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, or American 
Samoa, the Secretary of the Interior may, with or without 
reimbursement, and subject to the procedure specified in 
subsection (c) of this section convey all right, title, and 
interest of the United States in any of the lands described in 
clauses (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (vii), or (viii) of this 
subsection to the government of Guam, the Commonwealth of the 
Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, or American 
Samoa, as the case may be, with the concurrence of the agency 
having custody thereof.
  (c) No conveyance shall be made by the Secretary pursuant to 
subsection (a) or (b) of this section until the expiration of 
sixty calendar days (excluding days on which the House of 
Representatives or the Senate is not in session because of an 
adjournment of more than three days to a day certain) from the 
date on which the Secretary of the Interior submits to the 
Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives 
and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate 
an explanatory statement indicating the tract proposed to be 
conveyed and the need therefor, unless prior to the expiration 
of such sixty calendar days both committees inform the 
Secretary that they wish to take no action with respect to the 
proposed conveyance.
  Sec. 2. (a) Nothing in this Act shall affect the right of the 
President to establish naval defensive sea areas and naval 
airspace reservations around and over the islands of Guam, the 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, 
and the Virgin Islands when deemed necessary for national 
defense.
  (b) Nothing in this Act shall affect the use, development, 
improvement, or control by or under the constitutional 
authority of the United States of the lands transferred by the 
first section of this Act, and the navigable waters overlying 
such lands, for the purposes of navigation or flood control or 
the production of power, or be construed as the release or 
relinquishment of any rights of the United States arising under 
the constitutional authority of Congress to regulate or improve 
navigation, or to provide for flood control or the production 
of power.
  (c) The United States retains all of its navigational 
servitude and rights in and powers of regulation and control of 
the lands conveyed by the first section of this Act, and the 
navigable waters overlying such lands, for the constitutional 
purposes of commerce, navigation, national defense, and 
international affairs, all of which shall be paramount to, but 
shall not be deemed to include, proprietary rights of 
ownership, or the rights of management, administration, 
leasing, use, and development of the lands and natural 
resources which are specifically conveyed to the government of 
Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the 
Virgin Islands, or American Samoa, as the case may be, by the 
first section of this Act.
  (d) Nothing in this Act shall affect the status of lands 
beyond the three-mile limit described in section 1 of this Act.