Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
115th Congress    }                                    {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                    {     115-1053




 November 27, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed


Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 6678]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 6678) to direct the Secretary of the Interior to 
convey certain National Park Service land in Fairfax County, 
Virginia, to the Friends of the Claude Moore Farm, 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. 6678 is to direct the Secretary of the 
Interior to convey certain National Park Service land in 
Fairfax County, Virginia, to the Friends of Clause Moore Farm.


    The Claude Moore Colonial Farm is a living history site in 
McLean, Virginia, that depicts life for a typical tenant farm 
family in 1771.\1\ Cultivated fields and livestock set the 
stage for the Farm's staff and volunteers to provide 
demonstrations of 18th century skills and educational programs 
for visitors. The Farm is part of the George Washington 
Memorial Parkway and was initially operated by the National 
Park Service (NPS). A few years after opening in 1973, budget 
constraints led NPS to redirect staff and funding away from the 
Farm operation, threatening its future viability.\2\ Local 
community members stepped up with an offer to operate the Farm 
as a non-profit cooperative.\3\ The Friends of the Claude Moore 
Colonial Farm at Turkey Run was chartered, and in 1981 signed a 
cooperative agreement with NPS to operate the Farm and provide 
visitor services.\4\
    \1\``Facts about the Farm: A Public/Private Partnership.'' Claude 
Moore Colonial Farm website.
    \2\``Facts about the Farm: A Public/Private Partnership.'' Claude 
Moore Colonial Farm website.
    \4\Agreement Between Friends of Turkey Run Farm, Inc. and United 
States of America, Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 
National Capital Region, George Washington Memorial Parkway--with 
Amendments and Extensions. Entered into June 5, 1981. https://
    The Farm has a uniquely independent status in the National 
Park System and is a model of a successful public-private 
partnership. Under the agreement, the Friends assumed 
responsibility for funding, maintaining, improving, staffing, 
and operating the Farm. The annual operating budget of the Farm 
grew from $87,000 in 1982 to more than $400,000 in recent 
years, due to the increased support of the community and the 
popularity of the Farm's programs.\5\ Over the past 37 years, 
more than $8 million in private funds have been raised and 
expended for the operations of the Farm, and over $2 million in 
additional private contributions have gone into capital 
improvements.\6\ Since opening, the Farm has welcomed over two 
million visitors.\7\
    \5\``Over Forty Years of Service and Growth''. About Us. Claude 
Moore Colonial Farm website.
    \7\``Organizational Background''. About Us. Claude Moore Colonial 
Farm website.
    The initial cooperative agreement between the Friends and 
NPS was for 25 years and subsequently extended multiple times. 
There were several amendments made to the agreement through the 
years that further defined the terms of the arrangement.\8\ The 
current agreement is set to expire on December 21, 2018.
    \8\Agreement Between Friends of Turkey Run Farm, Inc. and United 
States of America, Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 
National Capital Region, George Washington Memorial Parkway--with 
Amendments and Extensions. Entered into June 5, 1981. https://
    The Friends and NPS have considered long-term solutions for 
the continued operation of the Farm including a potential 
lease, a concessions contract, and a revised cooperative 
agreement.\9\ Despite multiple attempts to reach consensus on a 
path forward, differences remain on both sides. While NPS 
wishes to update the agreement to bring it in-line with 
existing park policies and regulations, the Friends believe the 
stipulated requirements will be unduly burdensome and threaten 
the viability of the Farm.\10\
    \9\``Information About Claude Moore Colonial Farm''. Claude Moore 
Colonial Farm. National Park Service website.
    \10\``Clarifications, and Why We Couldn't Accept the Ultimatum from 
the Park Service''. Blog post dated May 8, 2018. Claude Moore Colonial 
Farm website.
    H.R. 6678 will begin a new chapter for the Claude Moore 
Colonial Farm by transferring the 69-acre tract currently 
assigned for Farm operations to the Friends. Entrusting the 
Friends with full ownership of the Farm site that they have 
successfully operated for over three decades will allow the 
group to operate and make capital improvements in the most 
efficacious manner, and will ensure the stable, long-term 
future of a local and national treasure. The Friends will pay 
any costs associated with the conveyance, and the Secretary of 
the Interior must complete the conveyance within a year of 
receiving a request from the Friends. If the land conveyed 
ceases to be used as an 18th century living history museum open 
to the public, the land will revert back to the United States.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 6678 was introduced on August 24, 2018, by 
Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA). The bill was referred to 
the Committee on Natural Resources. On September 5, 2018, the 
Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. 
Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) offered an amendment 
designated 111; it was not adopted by a roll call vote of 14 
yeas and 18 nays, as follows:

    No further amendments were offered, and the bill was 
ordered favorably reported to the House of Representatives by a 
roll call vote of 18 yeas and 14 nays, as follows:



    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.


    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 26, 2018.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 6678, the Claude 
Moore Farm Land Conveyance Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Janani 
                                                Keith Hall,

H.R. 6678--Claude Moore Farm Land Conveyance Act

    H.R. 6678 would direct the National Park Service (NPS) to 
convey, at the request of the Friends of the Claude Moore 
Colonial Farm at Turkey Run, Inc. (Friends), the Claude Moore 
Colonial Farm in McLean, Virginia. The bill would require the 
Friends to pay all the costs of the conveyance. The Friends' 
current agreement to operate the farm expires on December 21, 
2018. Although CBO has no information on the NPS's plans for 
the farm after that, the agency could pursue several options 
under existing authority.
    Using information on operating costs from recent years, CBO 
estimates that the NPS would incur costs of about $2 million 
over the 2019-2023 period to manage the farm itself. Such 
spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated 
funds. CBO expects that under H.R. 6678, the Friends would 
request a conveyance from the NPS. In that event, implementing 
the bill could reduce costs for the NPS.
    Alternatively, the NPS could enter into a lease or a 
cooperative agreement with a new partner organization to manage 
the farm. If the farm was leased, the payments (which would be 
recorded as offsetting receipts, or reductions in direct 
spending) would be available to the NPS for spending without 
further appropriation. Enacting the bill would reduce the 
likelihood that the NPS would enter into such an arrangement, 
and would thus reduce offsetting receipts and the subsequent 
direct spending. However, CBO estimates that the change in net 
direct spending would be negligible. Because enacting H.R. 6678 
could affect direct spending; pay-as-you-go procedures apply. 
Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 6678 would not 
significantly increase net direct spending or on-budget 
deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods 
beginning in 2029.
    H.R. 6678 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Janani 
Shankaran. The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. 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 direct the Secretary of the 
Interior to convey certain National Park Service land in 
Fairfax County, Virginia, to the Friends of Claude Moore Farm.

                           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. This bill does not contain any 
directed rule makings.
    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.


    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 to existing 

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    H.R. 6678 directs the National Park Service (NPS) to 
transfer ownership, without consideration, of 69 acres of NPS 
land in the George Washington Memorial Parkway to the Friends 
of Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run, Inc. (Friends), a 
partner organization that helps operate the site under a 
cooperative agreement that has not been updated since the 
    The agreement originally expired in 2006 and was extended 
multiple times until NPS, rightly, insisted on updates to 
ensure alignment with current management policies and 
guidelines. During the latest round of negotiations, NPS 
offered a 10-year extension with terms including 1) approval of 
what is sold in the bookstore and giftshop, 2) financial 
reporting, 3) annual work plans, and 4) guidelines for 
operation of the pavilion on the farm. Requiring compliance 
with concessions laws, workplace safety standards, and 
financial audit requirement is simply good governance. 
Unfortunately, the Friends group objected to the terms of the 
new agreement, maintaining that the requirements are 
``burdensome, oppressive, and impossible.''\1\
    This bill was originally slated for a legislative hearing--
an opportunity to solicit testimony and discuss the issue with 
those involved in the negotiation--but the Republican Majority 
decided to send the bill straight to mark-up. As such, there 
was no opportunity to formally hear the administration's 
perspective on the bill. However, according to NPS staff, the 
Friends group refuses to acknowledge any of the standard 
practices and procedures NPS uses for similar types of 
agreements across the nation. As a result, the relationship has 
deteriorated to the point where the Friends group wrote a 
letter attempting to bar NPS from accessing the property to 
perform a standard environmental assessment.
    A 2015 draft NPS report evaluating operations at Claude 
Moore Colonial Farm found revenue generating activity that did 
not comply with NPS concession law, including allowing a 
private business to serve as the sole caterer for events on the 
farm, and selling book and other paraphernalia out of the 
bookstore that have nothing to do with 18th century life.\2\ 
The report also documents failure to comply with general 
industry safety standards, imminent fire risks, deficient food 
preparation facilities, wastewater contamination, and even 
employees sleeping at the site.
    NPS, as the owner of the site, has an obligation to ensure 
that it is operated in a manner that complies with all relevant 
federal laws and regulations.
    This legislation has the potential to disrupt the trust and 
spirit of collaboration that exists between NPS and the 
``friends'' groups and partner organizations that help operate 
dozens of sites throughout the National Park System. 
Transferring this site to the Friends could also disincentivize 
the agency from utilizing similar arrangements in the future. 
These are invaluable partnerships that enhance visitor 
experience and multiply the taxpayer investment in our national 
parks, but it is critical that NPS is allowed appropriate 
    At mark-up, Ranking Member Raul M. Grijalva offered an 
amendment to require adoption of a cooperative agreement that 
ensures compliance with federal workplace safety and financial 
reporting standards before a land conveyance can occur. 
Unfortunately, the amendment was not agreed to on a party line 
    This committee has a responsibility to ensure that public 
assets like this site are managed in a transparent way that 
protects public health and prevents financial fraud, waste and 
abuse. H.R. 6678 fails to meet these responsibilities and as a 
result, we oppose the bill as reported.

                                   Raul M. Grijalva,
                                           Ranking Member, Committee on 
                                               Natural Resources.
                                   Grace F. Napolitano.
                                   Wm. Lacy Clay.
                                   Nanette Diaz Barragan.