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                                                        Calendar No. 56
113th Congress  }                                            {   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session    }                                            {   113-25

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



 
                 NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY LAND CONVEYANCE

                                _______
                                

                 April 22, 2013.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Wyden, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 304]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 304) to direct the Secretary of the 
Interior to convey to the State of Mississippi 2 parcels of 
surplus land within the boundary of the Natchez Trace Parkway, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that the 
bill do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 304 is to direct the Secretary of the 
Interior to convey to the State of Mississippi by quitclaim 
deed all right, title, and interest of the United States in two 
parcels of land in the city of Natchez, Mississippi, consisting 
of a total of approximately 67 acres, and to adjust the 
boundary of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The Natchez Trace Parkway extends 444 miles from Nashville, 
Tennessee, through the northwestern corner of Alabama, to 
Natchez, Mississippi. The path was originally made by bison and 
other game, and was later ``traced'' by Native Americans. In 
the late 18th century, the Native American trail became the 
principal link between the old Southwest Territory (now 
Tennessee) and the ports of Natchez and New Orleans on the 
lower Mississippi River. In the early 19th century, it served 
as a post road for the delivery of mail, the return route for 
the boatmen who floated their goods down the Ohio and 
Mississippi Rivers, and the route used by General Andrew 
Jackson's forces on their way to the Battle of New Orleans. 
Congress authorized construction of the Natchez Trace Parkway 
and designated it as a unit of the National Park System in 
1938. Much of it was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps 
during the Great Depression.
    The southern terminus in Natchez, Mississippi, was the 
final section of the Parkway constructed and completed in 2005. 
For years prior to its completion, it was uncertain where the 
Parkway would terminate. The State of Mississippi acquired and 
donated two different parcels of land to the National Park 
Service to accommodate a variety of possible construction 
alternatives. After the Parkway's completion, the land acquired 
for those alternate termination points remained unused by the 
National Park Service.
    The unused property includes two parcels: the Bean field 
and the Feltus property, 38 and 29 acres respectively. The City 
of Natchez wishes to develop the Bean field parcel as a 
recreational complex. In 2000, Public Law 106-527 authorized 
the National Park Service to lease the property to Natchez. 
Rather than enter in a lease, the National Park Service seeks 
to return the unused parcels back to the State.
    S. 304 would authorize the transfer of 67 acres of 
identified unused Federal land back to the State and adjust the 
boundary of the Parkway to exclude the conveyed land and 
include 10 acres of lands already managed by the National Park 
Service.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 304 was introduced by Senators Cochran and Wicker on 
February 13, 2013. At its business meeting on March 14, 2013, 
the Committee ordered S. 304 favorably reported.
    During the 112th Congress similar legislation, S. 264, was 
introduced by Senators Cochran and Wicker, on February 3, 2011. 
The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on S. 264 on 
July 28, 2011 (S. Hrg. 112-214). At its business meeting on 
November 10, 2011, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources ordered S. 264 favorably reported with an amendment 
(S. Rpt. 112-106).

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on March 14, 2013, by majority voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 264.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 provides the short title, the ``Natchez Trace 
Parkway Land Conveyance Act of 2013.''
    Section 2 defines key terms used in the bill.
    Section 3(a) directs the Secretary of the Interior to 
convey to the State by quitclaim deed all right, title, and 
interest to two parcels totaling approximately 67 acres while 
reserving an easement on the parcel known as the ``bean field 
property.'' The easement restricts the use of that parcel to 
that which is compatible with the Parkway.
    Subsection (b) describes two parcels depicted on the map.
    Subsection (c) directs that the map describing the 
conveyance be available for public inspection in the 
appropriate offices of the National Park Service.
    Section 4(a) provides that the boundary of the Parkway 
shall be adjusted to exclude the two parcels upon completion of 
the conveyance to the State.
    Subsection (b) adjusts the boundary of the Parkway to 
include approximately 10 acres of land managed by the National 
Park Service which was inadvertently excluded on previous 
boundary maps for the Parkway.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

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

S. 304--Natchez Trace Parkway Land Conveyance Act of 2013

    S. 304 would require the National Park Service (NPS) to 
convey about 67 acres of property in the Natchez Trace Parkway 
to the state of Mississippi. The legislation also would adjust 
the boundaries of the parkway to include 10 additional acres. 
Based on information provided by NPS, CBO estimates that 
implementing the bill would have no significant impact on the 
federal budget. Enacting S. 304 would not affect direct 
spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do 
not apply.
    S. 304 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 Martin von 
Gnechten. 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. 304.
    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. 304, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    S. 304, 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

    Executive Communications were not requested by the 
Committee in the 113th Congress. The following Administration 
testimony references similar legislation introduced in the 
112th Congress.
    The testimony provided by the National Park Service at the 
July 28, 2011, Subcommittee on National Parks hearing on S. 264 
follows.

  Statement of Peggy O'Dell, Deputy Director, National Park Service, 
                       Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for 
the opportunity to present the views of the Department of the 
Interior on S. 264, a bill to direct the Secretary of the 
Interior to convey to the State of Mississippi two parcels of 
surplus land within the boundary of the Natchez Trace Parkway, 
and for other purposes.
    The Department supports S. 264 with an amendment described 
later in this statement. This legislation would authorize the 
conveyance of 67 acres of unused federal land to the State of 
Mississippi. This land was originally donated by the state to 
the National Park Service to help complete construction of the 
Natchez Trace Parkway (Parkway), but it was never used for that 
purpose. The bill would also adjust the boundary of the Parkway 
to include approximately 10 acres of land that the National 
Park Service owns around the current southern terminus, which 
were inadvertently excluded from the boundary previously.
    The Natchez Trace was the main overland link between the 
old southwest territory and the Ohio River Valley in the 18th 
and 19th centuries. In 1938, Congress established the Natchez 
Trace Parkway as a unit of the National Park System. The 
Parkway was constructed between 1938 and 2005 at a cost of 
nearly $500 million. During the construction period, the states 
of Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee helped acquire and 
donate over 50,000 acres of land to facilitate Parkway 
construction and protect the scenic, natural, cultural, and 
historic resources within the Natchez Trace corridor. Today, 
the completed Parkway spans 444 miles from Nashville, 
Tennessee, to Natchez, Mississippi, and is enjoyed by over 13 
million travelers each year.
    The southern terminus in Natchez was the final section of 
Parkway constructed and was completed in 2005. Decades prior to 
this section being planned and designed, it was uncertain where 
the Parkway would terminate. In order to prepare, the State of 
Mississippi acquired and donated to the National Park Service 
two different sections of land to accommodate two possible 
construction alternatives.
    The National Park Service began planning the final section 
of Parkway in the mid-1990s. After completing an environmental 
impact statement in 1998, which included significant public 
input, the Park Service selected the Liberty Road alternative. 
This decision left land acquired for the alternative terminus 
unused. The 67 acres identified in S. 264 are the unused land.
    The 67 acres are subdivided into two parcels, both within 
the city limits of Natchez. One parcel, commonly known as the 
bean field property, is approximately 38 acres and is adjacent 
to Natchez High School. The other parcel, commonly known as the 
Feltus property, is approximately 29 acres and is located in 
the new business district of Natchez. The Feltus property 
includes a structure that has been used by the city since 1999 
under a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service.
    In 2000, the city approached the National Park Service with 
a request to lease the bean field parcel to facilitate 
construction of a public recreational complex for the city, 
including soccer fields and other amenities. Public Law 106-
527, enacted that year, authorized the National Park Service to 
lease land within its boundary to the city ``for any purpose 
compatible with the Parkway.'' This legislation provided 
authority for the National Park Service to accommodate the 
city's request to use the bean field property for public 
recreational uses.
    The National Park Service then entered into a 25-year 
memorandum of agreement with the city to help facilitate the 
recreational project. In 2001, as part of the agreement, an 
extensive archeological investigation was performed to 
determine if any significant cultural or historical resources 
existed on the bean field property. None were found. This 
investigation was in addition to the assessments undertaken for 
the 1998 environmental impact statement, which covered all 67 
acres.
    The city is planning to invest up to $5 million to build 
the recreational complex on the bean field property. With such 
a large local investment planned, we believe this is an 
appropriate time to end the National Park Service's role as the 
property's lessor by conveying the property back to the state. 
Both the state and the city are highly supportive of the 
proposed conveyance and have discussed the best way to proceed 
should this legislation pass. The state has indicated that in 
the short term, the state would continue honoring the existing 
``any purpose compatible with the Parkway'' lease authority and 
may consider conveying the parcel to the city to allow for fee 
simple ownership. The Feltus property would be retained by the 
state for purposes deemed appropriate, and the state would 
collaborate with the city on any future plans for this property 
as well.
    While we support the proposed conveyance, we are concerned 
about how the bean field property might be used in the future, 
beyond the planned use for recreational purposes. We recommend 
that S. 264 be amended to provide for reversion of the 38-acre 
bean field property to the United States, for administration by 
the National Park Service, in the event that the land is not 
used for purposes compatible with the Parkway. The bean field, 
unlike the Feltus property, is visible from the Parkway. A 
reversionary clause would help protect against the future 
possibility of incompatible development detracting from the 
Parkway's scenic values. We would be happy to work with the 
committee on language for such an amendment, as well as a 
technical amendment needed for 10-acre boundary adjustment 
provision.
    Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared remarks. I would 
be pleased to answer any questions you or any members of the 
subcommittee 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 the bill S. 304, as ordered 
reported.