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104th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1st Session 104-287
CONVEYANCE OF NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE LABORATORY AT
October 20, 1995.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Young of Alaska, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 1358]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill
(H.R. 1358) to require the Secretary of Commerce to convey to
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the National Marine Fisheries
Service laboratory located on Emerson Avenue in Gloucester,
Massachusetts, 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 out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu
thereof the following:
SECTION 1. CONVEYANCE OF NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE LABORATORY
AT GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS.
(a) Conveyance Required.--
(1) In general.--The Secretary of Commerce shall convey to
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, all right, title, and
interest of the United States in and to the property comprising
the National Marine Fisheries Service laboratory located on
Emerson Avenue in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
(2) Terms.--A conveyance of property under paragraph (1)
shall be made--
(A) without payment of consideration; and
(B) subject to the terms and conditions specified
under subsections (b) and (c).
(b) Conditions for Transfer.--
(1) In general.--As a condition of any conveyance of property
under this section, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts shall
assume full responsibility for maintenance of the property for
as long as the Commonwealth retains the rights and title to
(2) Continued use of property by nmfs.--The Secretary may
enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts under which the National Marine Fisheries
Service is authorized to occupy existing laboratory space on
the property conveyed under this section, if--
(A) the term of the memorandum of understanding is
for a period of not longer than 5 years beginning on
the date of enactment of this Act; and
(B) the square footage of the space to be occupied by
the National Marine Fisheries Service does not conflict
with the needs of, and is agreeable to, the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
(c) Reversionary Interest.--All right, title, and interest in and to
all property and interests conveyed under this section shall revert to
the United States on the date on which the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts uses any of the property for any purpose other than the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries resource
(d) Restriction.--Amounts provided by the South Essex Sewage District
may not be used by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to transfer
existing activities to, or conduct activities at, property conveyed
under this section.
purpose of the bill
The purpose of H.R. 1358 is to require the Secretary of
Commerce to convey to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the
National Marine Fisheries Service [NMFS] Laboratory in
background and need for legislation
The Gloucester Laboratory was established in 1931 as the
first Federal laboratory devoted to fishery technology. The
Laboratory is located on a 2.5-acre tract of land on the east
bank of the Annisquam River, and the land was acquired from the
City of Gloucester for $1. Lack of funds forced the
Laboratory's closure in 1935. It was reestablished and formally
dedicated in June of 1960. There are four permanent structures
at the site which provide 19,920 square feet of office,
laboratory, storage, and maintenance space.
NMFS has decided to once again close the Gloucester
Laboratory because ``its primary work conducted there is not
critical to the Fisheries Service mission in the Northeast and
the work could be absorbed by other agency laboratories.''
After years of discussion, the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts and NMFS were able to conclude a Memorandum of
Understanding on April 4, 1994, that allowed the Massachusetts
Division of Fisheries to occupy and utilize the Laboratory
facilities. This authority was renewed on March 6, 1995.
In the future, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would like
to use this facility for its contaminant monitoring program,
shellfish and water quality testing, sport fisheries, striped
bass management, northern shrimp management, sea sampling, and
field biological studies. It will also provide office space for
the State's Division of Marine Fisheries.
NMFS has indicated it has no intention of reoccupying this
laboratory in the future, and the facilities need substantial
repairs. Therefore, it is both good policy and necessary for
Congress to legally transfer title to this facility to the
State. Without this legislation, the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts will be unable to fully utilize the Laboratory
and to spend up to $4 million to rehabilitate its facilities.
In addition, if the Commonwealth does not use the facility for
State fisheries resource management purposes, it will
automatically revert back to the United States.
H.R. 1358 was introduced on March 29, 1995, by Congressman
Peter Torkildsen. The bill was referred to the Committee on
Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee on
Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans.
On September 21, 1995, the Subcommittee held a hearing on
H.R. 1358 and other issues. Congressman Torkildsen; Mr. Allen
Peterson, Director, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, NMFS;
and Mr. John C. Phillips, Commissioner, Department of
Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Law Enforcement,
Commonwealth of Massachusetts all testified in strong support
of the bill.
On September 27, 1995, the Full Resources Committee met to
consider H.R. 1358. The Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and
Oceans was discharged from further consideration of the bill.
Mr. Torkildsen offered an amendment to strike a provision which
directed the Secretary of Commerce to report to Congress on the
need for an intergovernmental personnel agreement with the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This amendment, requested by the
Administration, was adopted by voice vote. The bill, as
amended, was then ordered favorably reported to the House of
Representatives by voice vote.
Section 1. Conveyance of National Marine Fisheries Service Laboratory
at Gloucester, Massachusetts
Under subsection (a), the Secretary of Commerce shall
convey to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts all right, title,
and interest to the property comprising the NMFS Laboratory in
Subsection (b) provides that the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts shall assume full responsibility for the
maintenance of the property and the Secretary may enter into a
Memorandum of Understanding with the Commonwealth to authorize
the future use of the existing laboratory space by the NMFS for
up to five years after the date of enactment and without
conflicting with the needs of the Commonwealth of
Subsection (c) provides that all right, title, and interest
to all property and interests conveyed shall revert to the
United States, if the property is used for any purpose other
than the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Marine
Fisheries Resource Management Program.
Subsection (d) clarifies that amounts provided by the South
Essex Sewage District may not be used to transfer existing
activity to or conduct activities at the Gloucester Laboratory.
committee oversight findings and recommendations
With respect to the requirements of clause 2(l)(3) of rule
XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, and clause
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives,
the Committee on Resources' oversight findings and
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.
inflationary impact statement
Pursuant to clause 2(l)(4) of rule XI of the Rules of the
House of Representatives, the Committee estimates that the
enactment of H.R. 1358 will have no significant inflationary
impact on prices and costs in the operation of the national
cost of the legislation
Clause 7(a) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the
Committee of the costs which would be incurred in carrying out
H.R. 1358. However, clause 7(d) of the Rule provides that this
requirement does not apply when the Committee has included in
its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the bill
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office
under section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
compliance with house rule xi
1. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(B) of
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives and
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, H.R.
1358 does not contain any new budget authority, spending
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in
revenues or tax expenditures.
2. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(D) of
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee has received no report of oversight findings and
recommendations from the Committee on Government Reform and
Oversight on the subject of H.R. 1358.
3. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(C) of
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives and
section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the
Committee has received the following cost estimate for H.R.
1358 from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office.
congressional budget office cost estimate
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, October 19, 1995.
Hon. Don Young,
Chairman, Committee on Resources, U.S. House of Representatives,
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
reviewed H.R. 1358, a bill to require the Secretary of Commerce
to convey to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the National
Marine Fisheries Service laboratory located on Emerson Avenue
in Gloucester, Massachusetts. H.R. 1358 was ordered reported by
the House Committee on Resources on September 27, 1995. The
bill would not affect direct spending or receipts. Therefore,
pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply.
H.R. 1358 would direct the Secretary of Commerce to convey,
without reimbursement, the Gloucester laboratory to
Massachusetts, provided that it be used for fisheries
management programs. Because the Secretary of Commerce
currently plans to close this facility, we estimate that
implementing H.R. 1358 would have no impact on the federal
Transfer of this facility would result in savings for the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. While the state would incur some
costs to maintain the Gloucester laboratory, the use of this
facility would allow it to avoid the cost of building a new
facility for employees of the Massachusetts Division of
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Deborah
Reis, who can be reached at 226-2860, and Marjorie Miller, who
can be reached at 225-3220.
June E. O'Neill, Director.
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
If enacted, H.R. 1358 would make no changes in existing
The Committee received a report on H.R. 1358 from the
Department of Commerce on March 30, 1995. No other reports have
been received on H.R. 1358.
U.S. Department of Commerce,
Assistant Secretary for Administration,
Washington, DC, March 30, 1995.
Hon. Don Young,
Chairman, Committee on Resources, House of Representatives, Washington,
Dear Mr. Chairman: I wish to notify you of the Department
of Commerce's proposal to transfer the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries
Service (NMFS) laboratory at Gloucester, Massachusetts to the
State of Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. The
Gloucester Laboratory will remain open under State direction
once the transfer occurs.
One of the initial steps in the transfer of the facility is
to reassign Gloucester Laboratory employees (except those on
temporary appointments) to positions elsewhere in the Northeast
Region. We anticipate that 13 employees will be transferred
with the remaining accepting buy-outs. Most of the Gloucester
staff will be relocated to a new NMFS facility, the James J.
Howard Laboratory at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, which was
dedicated in late 1993. This facility is extremely well
equipped and is available to address critical issues in the
Northeast Region. The NMFS Northeast Regional Office in
Gloucester will not be affected by this change.
The transfer of the Gloucester facility has been under
consideration for a number of years and was included in NOAA's
Authorization bill last year. NOAA will continue to work with
the Committees to achieve the transfer of the laboratory to the
state of Massachusetts later this year.
I am available to answer any questions you may have
regarding this proposal. Thank you for your continued interest
in and support of the program of NOAA and the Department of
Thomas R. Bloom.