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                                                       Calendar No. 493
105th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE

 2d Session                                                     105-263
_______________________________________________________________________


 
CONVEYANCE OF THE MARION NATIONAL FISH HATCHERY TO THE STATE OF ALABAMA

                                _______
                                

                 July 24, 1998.--Ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


    Mr. Chafee, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1883]

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1883) to direct the Secretary of the 
Interior to convey the Marion National Fish Hatchery and the 
Claude Harris National Aquacultural Research Center to the 
State of Alabama, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon with amendments, and recommends 
that the bill, as amended, do pass.

                           General Statement

    The Marion National Fish Hatchery (NFH) is located in Perry 
County, Alabama, on the outskirts of Marion. In 1934, Congress 
established the site as a national fish hatchery. The original 
hatchery property consisted of approximately 600 acres of land, 
and was operated as a Federal fish production facility. Since 
1974, about 300 acres of the Marion NFH has been operated by 
the Alabama Game and Fish Division, pursuant to a cooperative 
agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the 
Service), which terminates on Sept. 30, 2033. The remaining 298 
acres were converted into the Federal Southeastern Fish Culture 
Laboratory, subsequently renamed the Claude Harris National 
Aquacultural Research Center.
    The Marion NFH is operated by the Alabama Game and Fish 
Division. During the past 24 years, the Game and Fish Division 
has undertaken numerous capital improvements at the Marion NFH, 
expending more than $2 million. These improvements include 
construction and renovation of fish culture ponds, construction 
of a new striped bass hatchery laboratory, a new fish holding 
house, a new warehouse and equipment storage building, and two 
chemical and equipment storage buildings. The property consists 
of 100 culture ponds with a total impounded surface area of 
more than 66 acres. In 1994, the property was valued at 
$465,000, and structures have been assessed at $1,062,000, 
according to the Realty Division of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service.
    The Marion NFH supports the production of warmwater fish, 
such as channel catfish, bluegill, and largemouth bass. In the 
current fiscal year, the hatchery produced 345,000 bluegill, 
86,860 channel catfish, 499,000 hybrid striped bass, 120,000 
largemouth bass, and 377,000 striped bass. These fish are 
stocked in over 500,000 acres of public waters in the State of 
Alabama, and provide numerous recreational sport fish 
opportunities.
    A cooperative agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service and state fisheries management agencies in Alabama, 
Georgia and Florida seeks to restore the region's native race 
of striped bass, known as the Gulf striped bass, to its former 
range. The Marion NFH has contributed to these efforts by 
providing 1,250,000 Gulf striped bass fry and 188,000 
fingerlings in 1997 for Federal and State programs in the 
region. In 1997, the Marion NFH was designated as the lead 
facility for the culture and propagation of the Alabama 
shovelnose sturgeon, a species that is a candidate for listing 
under the Endangered Species Act.
    The Claude Harris National Aquacultural Research Center was 
closed in 1995, but in 1997, the use of of the facilities at 
the Research Center was transferred to the Alabama Game and 
Fish Division, through a memorandum of agreement with the 
Service. The Game and Fish Division is currently using a 
portion of the pond space there to support State fish 
production programs of the Marion NFH, and plans to repair the 
pond facilities for long-term use. The Alabama Agriculture 
Experiment Station, a research institute affiliated with both 
the Game and Fish Division and Auburn University, has expressed 
an interest in operating in the Research Center.

                     Objectives of the Legislation

    The purpose of this legislation is to direct the Secretary 
of the Interior to convey the Marion National Fish Hatchery and 
the Claude Harris National Aquacultural Research Center to the 
State of Alabama.

                      Section-By-Section Analysis

Section 1. Short title
    Section 1 provides that the title of the Act is the 
``Marion National Fish Hatchery and Claude Harris National 
Aquacultural Research Center Conveyance Act''.
Section 2. Conveyance of Marion National Fish Hatchery and Claude 
        Harris National Aquacultural Research Center to the State of 
        Alabama
    Section 2(a) provides that within 180 days of enactment of 
this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall convey to the 
State of Alabama, without reimbursement, all right, title, and 
interest of the United States in and to the portion of the 
Marion NFH leased to the Game and Fish Division and the Claude 
Harris National Aquacultural Research Center. The properties 
shall be used by the Game and Fish Division of the Alabama 
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as part of the 
fish culture program of the State of Alabama. As a condition of 
the conveyance, the Game and Fish Division shall offer to lease 
the Research Center to the Alabama Agriculture Experiment 
Station, at no cost to the Station or the Game and Fish 
Division, and for the period requested by the Station and 
provided by Alabama law.
    Section 2(b) describes both the Marion NFH and Research 
Center as being located 7 miles northeast of Marion, Alabama, 
on State Highway 175, each consisting of approximately 300 and 
298 acres of land, respectively, and including all buildings, 
structures, equipment, as well as all easements, leases, and 
water and timber rights relating to the properties. Amendment 
No. 2, referenced in section 2(b)(1)(A), was entered into on 
September 1, 1983 between the Service and the Alabama Game and 
Fish Division. The document entitled ``EXHIBIT A,'' referenced 
in section 2(b)(1)(B), is attached to a cooperative agreement 
among the National Biological Service, the Service, and the 
Alabama Game and Fish Division, providing for the management of 
the Research Center, signed on September 25, 1996 by both 
Services, and on September 18, 1996 by the Division.
    Section 2(c) mandates that the properties revert to the 
United States if used for any purpose other than as part of the 
State's fish culture program. Also, in the case of a reversion, 
the properties shall be returned to the United States by the 
State of Alabama in substantially the same condition as, or in 
better condition than, at the time of conveyance.

                          Legislative History

    S. 1883 was introduced by Senator Shelby, for himself and 
Senator Sessions, on March 31, 1998. A similar bill, H.R. 608, 
was introduced by Congressman Hilliard on February 5, 1997. No 
hearings were held on the bill. The committee met on July 22, 
1998, to consider the bill. An amendment was offered by Senator 
Chafee and adopted by voice vote. The bill was ordered 
reported, as amended, by voice vote.

                           Regulatory Impact

    In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact of the bill. The bill does 
not create any additional regulatory burdens.

                          Mandates Assessment

    In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Public Law 104-4), the committee finds that this bill would 
impose no Federal intergovernmental unfunded mandates on State, 
local, or tribal governments. All of its governmental 
directives are imposed on Federal agencies. The bill does not 
impose any private sector mandates.

                          Cost of Legislation

    Section 403 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act requires that a statement of the cost of the 
reported bill, prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, be 
included in the report. That statement follows:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 23, 1998.

Hon. John H. Chafee, Chairman,
Committee on Environment and Public Works,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1883, the Marion 
National Fish Hatchery and Claude Harris Naitonal Aquaculture 
Research Center Conveyance Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis, 
who can be reached at 226-2860.

            Sincerely,
                                           June E. O'Neill,
                                                          Director.
                                ------                                


               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    S. 1883; Marion National Fish Hatchery and Claude Harris 
National Aquacultural Research Center Conveyance Act, as 
ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Environment and 
Public Works on July 22, 1998.

    CBO estimates that enacting S. 1883 would have no impact on 
the Federal budget. The bill would not affect direct spending 
or receipts; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not 
apply. S. 1883 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on State, local, or tribal governments.
    S. 1883 would direct the Secretary of the Interior to 
convey to the state of Alabama the Marion National Fish 
Hatchery and the Claude Harris National Aquacultural Research 
Center, without reimbursement. Because these facilities are 
already operated by the state or by other nonfederal entities 
(at their expense), CBO expects that implementing S. 1883 would 
have no impact on the federal budget.
    The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis, who can be reached 
at 226-2860. This estimate was approved by Paul N. Van de 
Water, Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    Section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate 
requires publication of any changes in existing law made by the 
reported bill. This bill does not change existing law.