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                                                       Calendar No. 629
108th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     108-305

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



 
        RAILROAD RIGHT-OF-WAY CONVEYANCE VALIDATION ACT OF 2003

                                _______
                                

                 July 13, 2004.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Domenici, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1658]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the Act (H.R. 1658) to amend the Railroad Right-of-Way 
Conveyance Validation Act to validate additional conveyances of 
certain lands in the State of California that form part of the 
right-of-way granted by the United States to facilitate the 
construction of the transcontinental railway, and for other 
purposes having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
with an amendment and recommends that the Act, as amended, do 
pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
    On page 2, line 17, strike ``104'' and insert ``401''.

                         Purpose of the Measure

    The purpose of H.R. 1658 is to validate the conveyance of 
two parcels of land, which were originally part of a public 
land grant to the Central Pacific Railroad Company for the 
first transcontinental railroad in 1862.

                          Background and Need

    The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862, 12 Stat. 489, granted 
thousands of acres of public land to the Union Pacific Railroad 
Company and the Central Pacific Railroad Company to aid in the 
construction of the first transcontinental railroad. The Act 
made two different types of land grants. Section 2 of the Act 
granted a ``right of way through the public lands * * * to the 
extent of two hundred feet in width on each side of said 
railroad where it may pass over the public lands * * *.'' 
Section 3 made so-called ``checkerboard'' grants of ``every 
alternate section of public land, designated by odd numbers, to 
the amount of five alternate sections per mile on each side of 
said railroad, on the line thereof, and within the limits of 
ten miles on each side of said road * * *.'' Congress later 
doubled the checkerboard grants to ten alternate sections per 
mile of track within twenty miles on each side of the railroad. 
13 Stat. 356, c. 216 (1864).
    These two types of land grants were made for different 
purposes and they conveyed different property interests. The 
checkerboard grants were made to the railroad companies for the 
companies to sell to the public to finance the cost of building 
the railroad. They conveyed fee title. The right-of-way grants 
were made for the companies to construct the railroad, and were 
made with the condition ``necessarily implied * * * that the 
road shall be constructed and used for the purpose designed.'' 
St. Joseph & Denver City R.R. Co. v. Baldwin, 103 U.S. 426, 
429-430 (1881). The Supreme Court held that ``the grant was of 
a limited fee, made on an implied condition of reverter in the 
event that the company ceased to use or retain the land for the 
purpose for which it was granted.'' Northern Pacific Railway 
Co. v. Townsend, 190 U.S. 267, 271 (1903).
    On at least one hundred occasions over the years, the 
Central Pacific Railroad Company's successors, the Central 
Pacific Railway Company and the Southern Pacific Transportation 
Company, have attempted to convey parcels of the 1862 right-of-
way land grant to others, even though the companies did not 
have the legal authority to make the conveyances and the 
conveyances were made without regard to the Federal 
Government's reversionary interest in the land. The Department 
of the Interior has not objected to validating these otherwise 
unauthorized conveyances so long as: (1) the parts of the 
right-of-way in question do not traverse public land; (2) the 
width of the remaining right-of-way is 50 or more feet on each 
side of the center line of the main track; and (3) all oil, 
coal, or other minerals are reserved to the United States. S. 
Rept. 95-1287 at 12 (1978); S. Rept. 99-455 at 4-5 (1986); S. 
Rept. 103-277 at 5 (1994). The Department has consistently held 
this view since the Carter Administration.
    Accordingly, on three prior occasions, Congress has enacted 
legislation to validate conveyances made by the Central Pacific 
Railway Company or the Southern Pacific Transportation Company. 
These Acts can be found at Public Law 95-586, 92 Stat. 2485 (6 
conveyances in San Joaquin Co., California); Public law 99-543, 
100 Stat. 3040 (37 conveyances in San Joaquin Co.and 5 others 
in other counties in California); and Private Law 103-2, 108 Stat. 5057 
(42 conveyances in Nevada Co., California, and 8 others in San Joaquin 
Co., California). Each of these Acts ``legalized, validated, and 
confirmed'' the conveyances, ``as far as any interest of the United 
States in such lands is concerned.'' Each included savings clauses to 
avoid any implied diminishment of the right-of-way to less than 50 feet 
on each side of the center of the tracks. Each reserved mineral 
interests in the parcels to the United States.
    H.R. 1658 amends Private Law 103-2, which validated 50 
right-of-way conveyances in 1994. H.R. 1658 adds two more 
conveyances in San Joaquin County, California, one to the Bank 
of America, as trustee of the last will and testament of Aaron 
Herschel, which was recorded in 1945, and one to the Tri-Valley 
Packing Association, which was recorded in 1957, to the either 
other conveyances in San Joaquin County validated by section 4 
of Private Law 103-2. The savings clauses and mineral 
reservation in section 5 of Private Law 103-2 will apply to 
these two new conveyances to the same extent as to those 
previously validated by that Act.
    The Department of the Interior testified that the parcels 
in question are at the northern end of the city of Stockton, 
California, that they have been in private ownership for nearly 
a century, and that the Administration had no objection to the 
enactment of H.R. 1658 to clear title to the parcels.

                          Legislative History

    H.R. 1658 was introduced by Representative Pombo on April 
7, 2003. The bill passed the House by unanimous consent on 
November 18, 2003. The Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests 
held a hearing on H.R. 1658 on May 5, 2004. At the business 
meeting on June 16, 2004, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources ordered H.R. 1658, as amended, favorably reported.

                        Committee Recommendation

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on June 16, 2004, by a unanimous vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 1658, if 
amended as described herein.

                          Committee Amendment

    During the consideration of H.R. 1658, the Committee 
adopted an amendment that makes a technical correction to the 
legal description of one of the properties.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1 contains the short title.
    Section 2 amends section 4 of Private Law 103-2 by adding 
two additional properties to the list of properties in San 
Joaquin County.

                   Cost and Budgetary Considerations

    The following estimate of the cost of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, June 17, 2004.
Hon. Pete V. Domenici,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared and enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1658, the Railroad 
Right-of-Way Conveyance Validation Act of 2003.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Megan 
Carroll.
            Sincerely,
                                         Elizabeth Robinson
                               (For Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1658--Railroad Right-of-Way Conveyance Validation Act of 2003

    H.R. 1658 would amend Private Law 103-2 to clarify that the 
federal government has no claim to two parcels of privately 
owned land in California. Those parcels were originally granted 
by the federal government to the Central Pacific Railroad in 
1862 and subsequently conveyed to private landowners. Based on 
information from the Bureau of Land Management, CBO estimates 
that enacting H.R. 1658 would have no impact on federal 
spending or revenues.
    On August 6, 2003, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 
1658 as ordered reported by the House Committee on Resources on 
July 9, 2003. The two versions of this legislation are similar, 
and our cost estimates are the same.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Megan Carroll. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, 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. 1658. 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. 1658, as ordered reported.

                        Executive Communications

    On May 3, 2004, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources requested legislative reports from the Department of 
the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget setting 
forth Executive agency recommendations on H.R. 1658. These 
reports had not been received at the time the report on H.R. 
1658 was filed. When the reports become available, the Chairman 
will request that they be printed in the Congressional Record 
for the advice of the Senate. The testimony provided by the 
Bureau of Land Management at the Subcommittee hearing follows:

Statement of Bob Anderson, Deputy Assistant Director, Minerals, Realty 
           and Resource Protection, Bureau of Land Management

    Thank you for inviting me to testify.
    H.R. 1658 is a private bill which amends the Railroad 
Right-of-Way Conveyance Validation Act. The administration has 
no objection to H.R. 1658.
    In 1994, the Congress passed H.R. 1183, Private Law 103-2. 
The Act validated the conveyances of 50 small tracts of land in 
Nevada County and San Joaquin County, California. The lands 
involved were originally part of the right-of-way grant of the 
United States to the Central Pacific Railroad by an 1862 Act of 
Congress. The Southern Pacific Railroad (the successor to 
Central Pacific) appears to have made conveyances of small 
tracts of land in some of these cases, and in others, adjacent 
landowners have made inadvertent encroachments. Under the 
original Act of 1862, a Federal reversionary interest existed 
if these rights-of-way were abandoned by the railroad. The 1994 
Act was necessary to remove any cloud on the title of these 
small landowners.
    The bill before us today amends the underlying 1994 Act by 
adding two additional small parcels in San Joaquin County, 
California. The parcels in question are at the northern end of 
the city of Stockton, California. According to the master title 
plat, maintained by the BLM, these parcels have been in private 
ownership for nearly a century. We see no conflict in clearing 
title for these lands through this legislation. As with the 
underlying Act, the mineral estate of these lands will continue 
to be reserved to the Federal government, and the lands will 
continue to be unavailable to all forms of mineral entry.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the act H.R. 1658, as ordered reported, are shown as follows 
(existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black 
brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law in 
which no change is proposed is shown in roman):

                           Private Law 103-2


    AN ACT To validate conveyances of certain lands in the State of 
  California that form part of the right-of-way granted by the United 
             States to the Central Pacific Railway Company

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Railroad Right-of-Way 
Conveyance Validation Act''.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 4. CONVEYANCES OF LAND IN SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY, STATE OF CALIFORNIA.

    The conveyances of land in San Joaquin County, State of 
California, referred to in section 2 are as follows:
          (1) The conveyance entered into between the Southern 
        Pacific Transportation Company, grantor, and Ronald M. 
        Lauchland and Lillian R. Lauchland, grantees, recorded 
        October 1, 1985, as instrument number 85066621 in the 
        official records of the county of San Joaquin.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (9) The conveyance entered into between the Central 
        Pacific Railway Company and the Southern Pacific 
        Transportation Company and the Bank of America, as 
        trustee of the last will and testament of Aaron 
        Herschel, recorded September 27, 1945, in volume 942 at 
        page 401 of the official records of the county of San 
        Joaquin.
          (10) The conveyance entered into between the Central 
        Pacific Railway Company and the Southern Pacific 
        Transportation Company and the Tri-Valley Packing 
        Association, recorded November 13, 1957, in volume 2016 
        at page 149 of the official records of the county of 
        San Joaquin.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *