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                                                     Calendar No. 376
115th Congress      }                                   {      Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session         }                                   {     115-228

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



 
            GULF ISLANDS NATIONAL SEASHORE LAND EXCHANGE ACT

                                _______
                                

                 April 11, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Ms. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2615]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (H.R. 2615) to authorize the exchange of 
certain land located in Gulf Islands National Seashore, Jackson 
County, Mississippi, between the National Park Service and the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment in the nature of a substitute and recommends that the 
bill, as amended, do pass.

                               AMENDMENT

    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 ``Gulf Islands National Seashore Land 
Exchange Act of 2017''.

SEC. 2. LAND EXCHANGE, GULF ISLANDS NATIONAL SEASHORE, JACKSON COUNTY, 
                    MISSISSIPPI.

    (a) Land Exchange Authorized.--The Secretary of the Interior, 
acting through the Director of the National Park Service (in this 
section referred to as the ``Secretary'') may convey to the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars Post 5699 (in this section referred to as the ``Post'') 
all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to a parcel 
of real property, consisting of approximately 1.542 acres, located 
within the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Jackson County, 
Mississippi, and identified as ``NPS Exchange Area'' on the map 
entitled ``Gulf Islands National Seashore, Proposed Land Exchange with 
VFW, Davis Bayou Area--Jackson County, MS'', numbered 635/133309, and 
dated June 2016.
    (b) Land To Be Acquired.--In exchange for the property described in 
subsection (a), the Post shall convey to the Secretary all right, 
title, and interest of the Post in and to a parcel of real property, 
consisting of approximately 2.161 acres, located in Jackson County, 
Mississippi, and identified as ``VFW Exchange Area'' on the map 
described in subsection (a).
    (c) Equal Value Exchange.--
          (1) In general.--The values of the parcels of real property 
        to be exchanged under this section shall be determined by an 
        appraisal conducted--
                  (A) by a qualified and independent appraiser; and
                  (B) in accordance with nationally recognized 
                appraisal standards.
          (2) Equalization.--If the values of the parcels of real 
        property to be exchanged under this section, as determined 
        pursuant to paragraph (1), are not equal, the values shall be 
        equalized through--
                  (A) a cash payment; or
                  (B) adjustments to the acreage of the parcels of real 
                property to be exchanged.
    (d) Payment of Costs of Conveyance.--
          (1) Payment required.--The Secretary shall require the Post 
        to cover costs to be incurred by the Secretary, or to reimburse 
        the Secretary for such costs incurred by the Secretary, to 
        carry out the land exchange under this section, including 
        survey costs, costs related to environmental documentation, and 
        any other administrative costs related to the land exchange. If 
        amounts are collected from the Secretary 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 land exchange, the Secretary shall refund the excess 
        amount to the Post.
          (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 land exchange. 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.
    (e) Description of Property.--The exact acreage and legal 
description of property to be exchanged under this section shall be 
determined by surveys satisfactory to the Secretary and the Post.
    (f) Conveyance Agreement.--The exchange of real property under this 
section shall be accomplished using a quit claim deed or other legal 
instrument and upon terms and conditions mutually satisfactory to the 
Secretary and the Post, including such additional terms and conditions 
as the Secretary considers appropriate to protect the interests of the 
United States.
    (g) Valid Existing Rights.--The exchange authorized under this 
section shall be subject to valid existing rights.
    (h) Title Approval.--Title to the real property described in 
subsection (a) and the real property described in subsection (b) to be 
exchanged under this section shall be in a form acceptable to the 
Secretary.
    (i) Treatment of Acquired Land.--Land and interests in land 
acquired by the United States under subsection (b) shall be 
administered by the Secretary as part of the Gulf Islands National 
Seashore.
    (j) Modification of Boundary.--Upon completion of the land exchange 
under this section, the Secretary shall modify the boundary of the Gulf 
Islands National Seashore to reflect such land exchange.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of H.R. 2615 is to authorize the exchange of 
certain Federal land located in Gulf Islands National Seashore 
for certain non-Federal land in Jackson County, Mississippi.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5699 (Post) is located in 
Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The Post owns a 3.3-acre lot 
adjacent to the Gulf Islands National Seashore's Davis Bayou 
Area. National Park Service (NPS) property separates the Post 
from the public road. The only access to the Post's property is 
by way of a one-lane dirt access road across NPS land. The NPS 
allowed the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to construct and 
maintain the access road under an informal agreement. However, 
no right-of-way or special use permit was ever issued. As a 
means of guaranteeing access to the driveway, the VFW is 
seeking a mutually beneficial land exchange with the NPS, as 
outlined on NPS Map Number 635/133309, dated June 2016. As 
proposed, the 2.16 acres of VFW land would be exchanged for 
1.54 acres of NPS land.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 2615 was introduced in the House of Representatives by 
Rep. Palazzo on May 23, 2017, and referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources. H.R. 2615 was reported by the House 
Committee on Natural Resources (H. Rept. 115-302) on September 
11, 2017, and passed the House of Representatives by voice vote 
on November 28, 2017.
    A companion measure, S. 1260, was introduced by Senators 
Cochran and Wicker on May 25, 2017. The Senate Subcommittee on 
National Parks conducted a hearing on H.R. 2615 and S. 1260 on 
February 14, 2018. Similar language is included in section 7133 
of S. 1460, the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017 (Cal. 
162).
    In the 114th Congress, similar legislation, H.R. 4119 was 
introduced in the House of Representatives on November 19, 
2015, by Rep. Palazzo. H.R. 4119 was reported favorably by the 
House Committee on Natural Resources on March 2, 2016, and 
passed the House of Representatives on March 22, 2016, by voice 
vote. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's 
Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on H.R. 4119 on 
June 15, 2016. The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 
ordered H.R. 4119 favorably reported with amendments on July 
13, 2016 (S. Rept. 114-340).
    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met in open 
business session on March 8, 2018, and ordered H.R. 2615 and S. 
1260 favorably reported.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on March 8, 2018, by a majority voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 
2615, as amended.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 contains the short title.

Section 2. Definitions

    Section 2 contains key definitions.

Section 3. Gulf Islands National Seashore Land Exchange

    Section 3(a) authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, 
acting through the NPS Director, to convey to the Post 
approximately 1.542 acres of Federal property located within 
the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Jackson County, 
Mississippi, in exchange for a 2.161 acre parcel of land owned 
by the Post.
    Subsection (b) requires the values of the Federal and non-
federal parcels to be exchanged to be equal, as determined by a 
qualified and independent appraiser. If the values are not 
found to be equal, this subsection directs the equalization of 
such values through a cash payment or adjustments to the 
acreage of the Federal or non-Federal land, as applicable.
    Subsection (c)(1) requires the Post to pay the costs of 
exchange incurred by the Secretary, or provide for the 
Secretary's reimbursement, including costs associated with 
surveys, environmental documentation, and any other 
administrative costs relating to the land exchange.
    Paragraph (2) directs the Secretary to provide the Post 
with a refund if the amount collected by the Secretary from the 
Post exceeds the costs actually incurred in carrying out the 
land exchange.
    Paragraph (3) specifies that amounts received by the 
Secretary from the Post as reimbursement for costs incurred 
shall be credited to the fund or account from which amounts 
were used to pay the costs incurred by the Secretary in 
carrying out the land exchange; merged with amounts in the fund 
or account to which the amounts were credited; and available 
for the same purposes, subject to the same conditions and 
limitations.
    Subsection (d) requires the exact acreage and legal 
description of the Federal land and non-Federal land to be 
exchanged to be determined by surveys that are satisfactory by 
both the Secretary and the Post.
    Subsection (e) directs the land exchange to be carried out 
through a quitclaim deed or other legal instrument. This 
subsection further specifies that the land exchange shall be 
subject to such terms and conditions as are mutually 
satisfactory to the Secretary and the Post, including 
additional terms or conditions the Secretary considers to be 
appropriate to protect the interests of the United States.
    Subsection (f) subjects the land exchange to valid existing 
rights.
    Subsection (g) states that the title to the land to be 
exchanged shall be in an acceptable form to the Secretary.
    Subsection (h) specifies that any land acquired under this 
section by the United States shall be administered by the 
Secretary as part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
    Subsection (i) directs the Secretary to modify the 
boundaries of the Gulf Islands National Seashore upon 
completion of the land exchange to reflect the exchange.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of the costs of this measure has 
been provided by the Congressional Budget Office: H.R. 2615 
would authorize the National Park Service (NPS) to exchange 
about 2 acres of land within the Gulf Islands National Seashore 
in Mississippi with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 
5699. The exchange would provide the VFW with an access road.
    If appraisals indicate that the value of the parcels to be 
exchanged are different, the act would require that the party 
receiving the more valuable land provide a cash equalization 
payment or adjust the acreage of the land exchange. If the NPS 
were to acquire land of a higher value than the federal land 
exchanged, the NPS could make a cash payment to the VFW. Using 
information from the NPS, CBO expects that the properties to be 
exchanged are of roughly equal value and that any such payment 
would not exceed $500,000; such spending would be subject to 
the availability of appropriated funds. H.R. 2615 would require 
the VFW to cover all administrative costs associated with the 
land exchange.
    Enacting H.R. 2615 could affect direct spending; therefore, 
pay-as-you-go procedures apply. If the NPS were to acquire land 
of a lower value than the federal land exchanged, the NPS could 
receive a cash payment to equalize the values; any such 
payments would be recorded as offsetting receipts, which are 
treated as reductions in direct spending. However, CBO 
estimates that any such payment would not exceed $500,000. 
Enacting H.R. 2615 would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2615 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 2615 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). 
The act would authorize a land exchange between the federal 
government and a private entity, and that exchange would have a 
small incidental effect on property taxes collected by local 
governments in Mississippi. That effect, however, would not 
result from an intergovernmental mandate as defined in UMRA.
    On September 8, 2017, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for 
H.R. 2615, the Gulf Islands National Seashore Land Exchange Act 
of 2017, as ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural 
Resources on July 26, 2017. On March 20, 2018, CBO transmitted 
a cost estimate for S. 1260, the Gulf Islands National Seashore 
Land Exchange Act, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee 
on Energy and Natural Resources on March 8, 2018. All of the 
pieces of legislation are similar, and CBO's estimates of their 
budgetary effects are the same.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Janani 
Shankaran. The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
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 H.R. 2615. 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 H.R. 2615, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    H.R. 2615, 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

    The testimony provided by the Department of the Interior at 
the February 14, 2018, hearing on H.R. 2615 follows:

Statement of P. Daniel Smith, Deputy Director, Exercising the Authority 
    of the Director of the National Park Service, Department of the 
 Interior, Before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee 
on National Parks, Concerning H.R. 2615 and S. 1260, Bills To Authorize 
a Land Exchange Between Gulf Islands National Seashore and the Veterans 
                       of Foreign Wars Post 5699

    Chairman Daines, Ranking Member King, and members of the 
Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the 
Department of the Interior's views on H.R. 2615 and S. 1260, 
bills to authorize a land exchange between Gulf Islands 
National Seashore and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5699.
    The Department supports H.R. 2615 and S. 1260. The two 
bills, which would resolve an access issue at Gulf Islands 
National Seashore in Mississippi, are drafted differently but 
contain substantially the same provisions. Either version is 
acceptable to the Department.
    The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 5699 owns a parcel 
that is bordered on two sides by land that is under the 
administrative jurisdiction of the National Park Service (NPS) 
and managed as part of Gulf Islands National Seashore. The VFW 
property is not connected to a public road, and its only access 
is across NPS lands.
    Under a previous informal agreement with the National 
Seashore, the VFW created and maintained a one-lane dirt access 
road across NPS property from the public road to its building. 
The VFW also removed vegetation and mowed NPS property adjacent 
to that access road. No right-of-way or special use permit was 
ever issued.
    In 2015, the VFW approached the National Seashore with a 
proposal to exchange 2.16 acres of undeveloped land, adjacent 
to NPS land, at the south end of its property for 1.54 acres of 
NPS land in order to connect its property to the public road. 
This land exchange would formalize the existing land use, 
providing the VFW with ownership and permanent access, and 
providing the National Seashore undeveloped acreage adjacent to 
other undeveloped, NPS-managed lands. These parcels are 
delineated on the map referenced in both bills.
    H.R. 2615 and S. 1260 would authorize this land exchange. 
The bills would require the values of the parcels to be 
exchanged to be determined through an appraisal conducted by a 
qualified and independent appraiser and in accordance with 
nationally recognized appraisal standards. If the values are 
not equal, they would be required to be equalized through cash 
payments or adjustments to the acreage of the parcels. In 
addition, the bills would require the VFW to pay for the costs 
associated with the exchange, including any required costs for 
environmental compliance. Finally, the bills would modify the 
boundary of the National Seashore to reflect the land exchange 
upon its completion.

                        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 as ordered 
reported.

                                  [all]