H.R.2370 – Escambia County Land Conveyance Act

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Week ending July 28, 2017

H.R.2370 – Escambia County Land Conveyance Act

Brief

“H.R. 2370 would authorize Escambia County in Florida to convey to private entities certain property that it received from the federal government. The specified properties were formerly part of the Santa Rosa Island National Monument and were transferred from the National Park Service (NPS) to Escambia County in 1947 for public purposes. Under the terms of that conveyance, Escambia County may re-convey the properties to the federal government or to the state of Florida. H.R. 2370 would remove that condition and add new conditions. First, the bill would require Escambia County to convey to Santa Rosa County, Florida, any of the property that falls within the jurisdictional boundary of Santa Rosa County. Second, any proceeds above the direct or incidental costs of the conveyances would be transferred to the federal government.” – cbo

“The bill prohibits any person or entity holding a leasehold interest in such land from being required to involuntarily accept a fee interest to such land in place of the leasehold interest.

“The bill conditions such conveyance on requirements that: (1) all interest of Escambia County in any part of such land that is within the jurisdictional boundaries of Santa Rosa County, Florida, must be conveyed to Santa Rosa County within two years of the enactment of this bill; and (2) Escambia County must preserve in perpetuity the areas of the conveyed monument land that, as of this bill’s enactment, are dedicated for conservation, preservation, public recreation access, and public parking. Santa Rosa County shall assume ownership of the non-federal land conveyed to it free of such restrictions.

“Santa Rosa County or any other person to whom such county re-conveys such land may re-convey any part of it. Any proceeds from the conveyance of such land by either county shall be considered to be windfall profits that shall revert to the United States.” –crs

(Dissenting Views)

 (Full text of H.R. 2370 at congress.gov)

SponsorRep. Gaetz, Matt [R-FL-1] (Introduced 05/04/2017)

Status:

VOTES and FLOOR ACTION

HOUSE

On Passage:

House Amendments:

Motion to recommit:

Text of the motion:

SENATE

On Passage:

Procedural Actions:

Senate Amendments:

COST AND IMPACT

Cost to the taxpayersCBO estimates that implementing the legislation would result in no costs to the federal government. Enacting H.R. 2370 could affect revenues because any proceeds collected above the direct and incidental costs associated with a land conveyance would be deposited into the general fund of the Treasury.

Pay-as-you-go requirements:  pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, based upon information provided by Escambia County and Santa Rosa County, CBO expects that the proceeds, net of the conveyance costs, would not be significant.

Regulatory and Other Impact: H.R. 2370 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.

Dynamic Scoring:   CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2370 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028

Tax Complexity:  Not applicable to this bill.

Earmark Certification:  None

Duplication of programs: None

Direct Rule-Making:  None

Advisory Committee Statement: None

Budget Authority: Data not available

Constitutional Authority:   Assumed.

 

More Bill Information:

DISSENTING VIEWS

H.R. 2370 removes the reversionary interest from certain  land on Santa Rosa Island, a 40-mile barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. Settled by Spanish explorer Tristan De Luna in 1559, it’s the site of the earliest European settlement in North America and an eventual home to Fort Pickens, an important U.S. military base throughout much of early American history.

In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt recognized the historical significance of the island and used the Antiquities Act to proclaim the Santa Rosa Island National Monument. The monument was abolished by Congress in 1946 and the Department of Interior conveyed a portion of the island to Escambia County. The conveyance included a reversionary clause, which states that the land is to be used for public purposes and prohibits further conveyance of the land, except to the State of Florida or back to the federal government. The island, excluding Navarre Beach and Pensacola Beach, is now managed as part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which Congress established in 1971. The national seashore receives over five million annual visitors and is an important engine for the local tourism economy.

In 1956, Escambia County granted a 100-year lease of Navarre Beach to neighboring Santa Rosa County. The counties have since re-zoned to place Navarre Beach within Santa Rosa County, but it is still owned by Escambia County because of the use restrictions put in place by Congress. H.R. 2370 would convey, without restriction, land associated with the former Santa Rosa Island National Monument to the County of Escambia to be used at their discretion, removing the reversionary interest so that Escambia County can then transfer the deed to Santa Rosa County.

Santa Rosa County is considering plans to enhance a marina at Navarre Beach. The proposed enhancements include dredging a channel through Santa Rosa Island, which could cut off public access to local beaches and have sizable impacts on the estuaries and wetlands that support wildlife habitat at Gulf Island National Seashore. Not only would this destroy estuaries, wetlands and negatively impact fisheries and water quality, but it would, at the American taxpayer’s expense, further destabilize an already unstable strip of sand, putting lives, private property, and public infrastructure at risk.     Barrier islands form to protect coastal areas. They are critical to healthy environments. Intact islands are important protection from rising waters, tides, and storm damage, so artificially breaching a barrier island is rarely good ecological practice.

The National Park Service, in a statement for the record on a similar bill in the 113th Congress, recommended several amendments to the bill that would authorize the conveyance in a manner consistent with Congressional intent. Those changes have not been made.

We understand that a lot of development has happened on Santa Rosa Island in the sixty years since the land was first conveyed to Escambia County, but Congressional intent remains the same: federal land conveyed to Escambia must be used for a public purpose. H.R. 2370 undermines that intent.

We would support legislation to assist Escambia County and Santa Rosa County with zoning and ownership, but this is not that. We are opposed to any bill that does not include safeguards to ensure ongoing public access and prevent the channelization of Santa Rosa Island.

Raul M. Grijalva,

Ranking Member, House

Natural Resources

Committee.

Jared Huffman,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee

on Water, Power and

Oceans.

Colleen Hanabusa,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee

on Federal Lands.

Nanette Diaz Barragan,

Member of Congress.

Grace F. Napolitano,

Member of Congress.

  1. Donald McEachin,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee

on Oversight and

Investigations.

 

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