Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?

115th Congress    }                                    {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                    {      115-442




December 6, 2017.--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

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 1800]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 1800) to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to 
transfer certain Federal land to facilitate scientific research 
supporting Federal space and defense programs, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment 
and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 


  (a) Land Conveyance Authorized.--Subject to valid existing rights, 
not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this 
section, the Secretary of Agriculture shall convey, without 
consideration, to the Utah State University Research Foundation, (in 
this section referred to as the ``Foundation'') all right, title, and 
interest of the United States in and to a parcel of real property 
consisting of approximately 80 acres, including improvements thereon, 
located outside of the boundaries of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, 
Rich County, Utah, within Sections 19 and 30, Township 14 North, Range 
5 East, Salt Lake Base and Meridian for the purpose of permitting the 
Foundation to use the property for scientific and educational purposes.
  (b) Reversionary Interest.--If the Secretary of Agriculture 
determines at any time that the real property conveyed under subsection 
(a) is not being used in accordance with the purpose of the conveyance 
specified in such subsection, all right, title and interest in and to 
such real property, including any improvements thereto, shall, at the 
option of the Secretary, revert to and become the property of the 
United States, and the United States shall have the right of immediate 
entry onto such real property. A determination by the Secretary under 
this subsection shall be made on the record after an opportunity for a 
  (c) Payment of Costs of Conveyance.--
          (1) Payment required.--The Secretary of Agriculture shall 
        require the Foundation to cover the costs (except any costs for 
        environmental remediation of the property) to be incurred by 
        the Secretary, or to reimburse the Secretary for such costs 
        incurred by the Secretary, to carry out the conveyance under 
        subsection (a), including survey costs, costs for environmental 
        documentation, and any other administrative costs related to 
        the conveyance. If amounts are collected from the Foundation in 
        advance of the Secretary incurring the actual costs, and the 
        amount collected exceeds the costs actually incurred by the 
        Secretary to carry out the conveyance, the Secretary shall 
        refund the excess amount to the Foundation.
          (2) Treatment of amounts received.--Amounts received as 
        reimbursement under paragraph (1) shall be credited to the fund 
        or account that was used to cover those costs incurred by the 
        Secretary in carrying out the conveyance. Amounts so credited 
        shall be merged with amounts in such fund or account, and shall 
        be available for the same purposes, and subject to the same 
        conditions and limitations, as amounts in such fund or account.
  (d) Description of Property.--The exact acreage and legal description 
of the property to be conveyed under subsection (a) shall be determined 
by a survey satisfactory to the Secretary of Agriculture.
  (e) Additional Terms and Conditions.--The Secretary of Agriculture 
may require such additional terms and conditions in connection with the 
conveyance under subsection (a) as the Secretary considers appropriate 
to protect the interests of the United States.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 1800 is to direct the Secretary of 
Agriculture to transfer certain Federal land to facilitate 
scientific research supporting Federal space and defense 


    H.R. 1800 authorizes the transfer of an 80-acre parcel of 
U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land currently the Wasatch-Cache 
National Forest, but which is located outside of the actual 
Wasatch-Cache National Forest boundaries, to the Utah State 
University Research Foundation (a 501(c)(3) non-profit), to 
facilitate the continued use of the property for scientific 
research in direct support of ongoing U.S. military research. 
This parcel of land has been used since the early 1960s 
pursuant to a conditional use-permit from the USFS, for NASA, 
the U.S. Naval Research Lab, and the Utah State University 
Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL), to conduct scientific 
    The property's remote location, in sections 19 and 30, in 
Township 14 North, Range 5 East of the Salt Lake Base and 
Meridian, west of Garden City, Utah, as well as its high 
altitude, are conducive for atmospheric research using Meteor 
Wind Radars, an interferometric antenna array, and antenna 
arrays for ionosonde soundings. There is considerable non--USFS 
infrastructure investment already installed at the location, 
including various antennas, telescopes, equipment shelters and 
security fencing. SDL anticipates additional infrastructure 
investments at the site after completion of the transfer.
    The USFS placed this parcel on its disposal list in 2015 
without notifying the permittees of its action or considering 
the legal or financial impacts of this action on the permittee. 
The parcel is non-administrative and the sale or disposal of 
the property to SDL, once placed on the disposal list, to allow 
it to continue to use the property for research under existing 
forest service authorities, is prohibited without authorizing 
legislation from Congress.
    Unless Congress acts, USFS lacks administrative authority 
to sell or otherwise transfer the parcel to SDL to allow for 
its continued historical use for scientific and space research. 
Infrastructure investments, largely funded by taxpayers under 
U.S. military research contracts, could be lost. Forcing SDL to 
find a suitable new location and relocate its infrastructure 
would result in higher research costs for the Department of 
Defense, and cause research program disruptions.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 1800 was introduced on March 30, 2017, by Congressman 
Rob Bishop (R-UT). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee 
on Federal Lands. On November 7, 2017, the Natural Resources 
Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee was 
discharged by unanimous consent. Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT) 
offered an amendment designated #1; it was adopted by unanimous 
consent. No further amendments were offered, and the bill, as 
amended, was ordered favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives by unanimous consent on November 8, 2017.


    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 of 
1974. 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 enclosed cost estimate for 
the bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, December 4, 2017.
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. 1800, a bill to 
direct the Secretary of Agriculture to transfer certain Federal 
land to facilitate scientific research supporting Federal space 
and defense programs.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jeff LaFave.
                                                Keith Hall,

H.R. 1800--A bill to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to transfer 
        certain Federal land to facilitate scientific research 
        supporting Federal space and defense programs

    H.R. 1800 would direct the Secretary of Agriculture to 
convey, without further consideration, 80 acres of land 
administered by the Forest Service to Utah State University. 
The affected lands, which are currently used by the university 
and certain federal agencies to conduct space-related research, 
are not expected to generate receipts over the next 10 years. 
In addition, the bill would require the university to cover any 
administrative costs associated with the conveyance. Finally, 
ownership of the affected lands would revert to the Forest 
Service if the university used them for nonpublic purposes.
    Using information from the agency, CBO estimates that 
implementing the bill would have no significant effect on the 
federal budget. Enacting H.R. 1800 would not affect direct 
spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do 
not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1800 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 1800 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LeFave. The 
estimate was approved 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 
Agriculture to transfer certain Federal land to facilitate 
scientific research supporting Federal space and defense 

                           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 in existing 

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

    H.R. 1800 authorizes the conveyance of 80 acres of Federal 
land to the Utah State University Research Foundation. The land 
is already used for research and categorized as suitable for 
disposal by the U.S. Forest Service, the agency that owns and 
manages the property. Conveyance to the foundation is a worthy 
goal that we support. However, the bill as introduced 
authorized a transfer without any form of compensation for the 
property or the administrative costs of preparing the 
conveyance. Federal lands belong to American taxpayers and 
Congress has an obligation to ensure a fair return for these 
precious assets. Land transfers like this, even with the goal 
of promoting research by a state university, must include some 
form of compensation.
    At markup, Chairman Bishop offered an amendment that makes 
the transfer subject to a reversionary interest, which requires 
the recipient of the land to use it for a specific purpose or 
ownership reverts back to the United States. This strikes a 
fair balance and we appreciate the Chairman's commitment to the 
value of our public lands.

                                                  Raul M. Grijalva.