Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


115th Congress    }                                  {        Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                  {        115-536
======================================================================



 
                   LA PAZ COUNTY LAND CONVEYANCE ACT

                                _______
                                

January 29, 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

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 2630]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 2630) to authorize the Secretary of the Interior 
to convey certain land to La Paz County, Arizona, and for other 
purposes, 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 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``La Paz County Land Conveyance Act''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) County.--The term ``County'' means La Paz County, 
        Arizona.
          (2) Federal land.--The term ``Federal land'' means the 
        approximately 8,800 acres of land managed by the Bureau of Land 
        Management and designated as ``Federal land to be conveyed'' on 
        the map.
          (3) Map.--The term ``map'' means the map prepared by the 
        Bureau of Land Management entitled ``Proposed La Paz County 
        Land Conveyance'' and dated May 24, 2017.
          (4) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
        the Interior.

SEC. 3. CONVEYANCE TO LA PAZ COUNTY, ARIZONA.

  (a) In General.--Not later than 90 days after the date on which the 
Secretary receives a request from the County to convey all or a portion 
of the Federal land, subject to valid existing rights and to such terms 
and conditions as the Secretary determines to be necessary and 
notwithstanding the land use planning requirements of sections 202 and 
203 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 
1712, 1713), the Secretary shall convey to the County all right, title, 
and interest of the United States in and to the Federal land identified 
on the map.
  (b) Phased Conveyance.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary shall convey the public land 
        described in subsection (a) in parcels over a period of up to 
        20 years, as is required to carry out the phased development of 
        renewable energy or other economic development.
          (2) Payment of fair market value.--A parcel shall be conveyed 
        by the Secretary on payment by La Paz County, Arizona, to the 
        Secretary, of the fair market value of the parcel, as 
        determined under paragraph (3).
          (3) Appraisal to determine fair market value.--The Secretary 
        shall determine the fair market value of the Federal land to be 
        conveyed--
                  (A) in accordance with the Federal Land Policy and 
                Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.); and
                  (B) based on an appraisal that is conducted in 
                accordance with--
                          (i) the Uniform Appraisal Standards for 
                        Federal Land Acquisition; and
                          (ii) the Uniform Standards of Professional 
                        Appraisal Practice.
  (c) Protection of Tribal Cultural Artifacts.--To the greatest extent 
practicable, the County and all subsequent owners of land conveyed 
under this Act shall--
          (1) make good faith efforts to avoid disturbing Tribal 
        artifacts;
          (2) minimize impacts on Tribal artifacts if they are 
        disturbed;
          (3) work with the Colorado River Indian Tribes Tribal 
        Historic Preservation Office to identify artifacts of cultural 
        and historic significance; and
          (4) allow Tribal representatives to rebury unearthed 
        artifacts at or near where they were discovered.
  (d) Availability of Map.--
          (1) In general.--The map shall be on file and available for 
        public inspection in the appropriate offices of the Bureau of 
        Land Management.
          (2) Corrections.--The Secretary and the County may, by mutual 
        agreement--
                  (A) make minor boundary adjustments to the Federal 
                land to be conveyed under subsection (a); and
                  (B) correct any minor errors in the map, an acreage 
                estimate, or the description of the Federal land.
  (e) Withdrawal.--The Federal land is withdrawn from the operation of 
the mining and mineral leasing laws of the United States.
  (f) Costs.--As a condition of the conveyance of the Federal land 
under subsection (a), the County shall pay--
          (1) an amount equal to the appraised value determined in 
        accordance with subsection (b)(3); and
          (2) all costs related to the conveyance, including all 
        surveys, appraisals, and other administrative costs associated 
        with the conveyance of the Federal land to the County under 
        subsection (a).

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 2630 is to authorize the Secretary of 
the Interior to convey certain land to La Paz County, Arizona.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Nearly 95% of La Paz County, Arizona, is owned by federal, 
State, or tribal governments, with 61% of the federal ownership 
controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).\1\ Uniquely 
positioned between the metropolitan areas of Phoenix and 
Southern California, the County seeks a land conveyance from 
BLM to provide ground for the construction of a solar field. 
The County will pay fair market value for the land, as well as 
any administrative costs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Arizona Department of Transportation, ``La Paz Transportation 
Planning Study Final Report,'' Page 25, June 2010, https://
apps.azdot.gov/ADOTLibrary/Multimodal_Planning_Division/
Planning_Assistance_for_Rural_Areas_Studies/PARA-
La_Paz_Transportation_Planning_Study-FR-1006.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The county has already worked with BLM to identify a site 
adjacent to preexisting and proposed electric, fiber optic and 
natural gas transmission lines. Review of the proposed site by 
the BLM has not revealed any endangered species or historic 
resources in the area, and much of the proposed site already 
has a significant amount of surface disturbance.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Information provided to the Committee by Rep. Gosar's office 
(AZ-04).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    La Paz County is 27% Latino and 18% Native American, and 
currently has an unemployment rate nearly 2% higher than the 
national average.\3\ Not only would this land conveyance help 
provide renewable energy to both the Southern California and 
Phoenix markets, but it would help bring family-wage jobs to 
the county.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\U.S. Census Bureau, ``La Paz County Statistics,'' U.S. Census 
Quickfacts, July 1, 2016, https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/
lapazcountyarizona/PST045216.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 2630 was introduced on May 24, 2017, by Congressman 
Paul A. Gosar (R-AZ). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee 
on Federal Lands. On October 11, 2017, the Subcommittee held a 
hearing on the legislation. On November 29, 2017, the Natural 
Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee 
was discharged by unanimous consent. Congressman Paul A. Gosar 
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 30, 2017.

            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 AND CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT

    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, January 23, 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. 2630, the La Paz 
County Land Conveyance Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jeff LaFave.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 2630--La Paz County Land Conveyance Act

    H.R. 2630 would direct the Department of the Interior (DOI) 
to convey, upon request, up to 8,800 acres of federal land to 
La Paz County, Arizona. The county would be required to pay the 
estimated fair-market value for the affected lands, which would 
be used by commercial entities to produce solar energy. Under 
the bill, the county would have up to 20 years to acquire those 
lands and would be required to pay any administrative costs 
associated with their conveyance.
    Based on the value of similar lands in La Paz County, CBO 
estimates that the county would pay DOI between $500 and $1,000 
per acre to acquire those lands or about $6 million in total. 
Because the 2018-2027 period is half of the 20 years within 
which the county could acquire the land, for the purposes of 
this estimate, CBO assumes that about half of the total value--
$3 million--would be conveyed in the first 10 years following 
enactment.
    Because enacting H.R. 2630 would affect direct spending, 
pay-as-you-go procedures apply. Enacting the bill would not 
affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2630 would not increase 
net direct spending or budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 2630 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 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 authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to convey certain land to La Paz County, Arizona.

                           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.

                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 to existing 
law.

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

    H.R. 2630 authorizes the conveyance, at fair market value, 
of 8,000 acres of Federal land to La Paz County, Arizona. La 
Paz County plans to use the land for the development of a solar 
energy installation.
    As introduced, the bill authorized to conveyance through 
the Recreation and Public Purposes Act, a law that authorizes 
the Bureau of Land Management to convey federal land for the 
establishment of parks and other suitable public uses. However, 
at markup the committee adopted an amendment by Representative 
Gosar to authorize a phased conveyance at fair market value. 
The amended bill is a significant improvement, but we have 
concerns that we hope can be addressed as this bill moves 
through the legislative process.
    Federal land is a public resource, and the conveyance of 
any part of this resource should include guarantees to protect 
the public's interest. Congress should only authorize a 
conveyance for a discreet public purpose and the proceeds 
should be reinvested back into federal conservation efforts. 
Without these guarantees, the accumulation of individual 
conveyances potentially threatens the viability of our system 
of public lands.

                                          Raul M. Grijalva,
                 Ranking Member, House Natural Resources Committee.

                                  [all]