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                                                       Calendar No. 297
111th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     111-147

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



 
     BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY AND TOWN OF BLOWING ROCK LAND EXCHANGE ACT

                                _______
                                

                 March 2, 2010.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1121]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the Act (H.R. 1121) to authorize a land exchange to 
acquire lands for the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Town of 
Blowing Rock, North Carolina, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the Act do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of H.R. 1121 is to authorize a land exchange 
between the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Town of Blowing Rock, 
North Carolina.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    H.R. 1121 authorizes the exchange of approximately 20 acres 
of land within the Blue Ridge Parkway, containing the Blowing 
Rock Reservoir, for approximately 192 acres of nearby land 
owned by the Town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
    The land containing the Blowing Rock Reservoir was 
bequeathed to the Federal Government in 1908 upon the death of 
prominent local resident Moses Cone, but was held in trust 
until its actual donation in 1949. In the intervening years, 
the Town was allowed to remove water from a stream on the 
property and pipe it to the Town's water system. The National 
Park Service issued the Town a Special Use Permit to construct 
a dam on the stream in 1955, creating a small reservoir.
    Both parties agree that the best long-term resolution would 
be to transfer the reservoir and its management to the Town, in 
exchange for other lands which support the mission and purposes 
of the Parkway.
    The approximately 192-acre parcel to be acquired by the 
Park Service is undeveloped land owned by the Town. It is a 
desirable addition to the Parkway because it will provide a 
buffer from adjacent developed areas. It will also protect 
scenic views and enhance recreational opportunities on the 
Parkway.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 1121, sponsored by Representative Foxx, passed the 
House of Representatives on July 27, 2009, by a vote of 377-0. 
Companion legislation, S. 1767, was introduced on October 8, 
2009, by Senators Burr and Hagan. The Subcommittee on National 
Parks held a hearing on S. 1767 and H.R. 1121 on November 4 (S. 
Hrg. 111-92). At its business meeting on December 16, 2009, the 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered H.R. 1121 
favorably reported without amendment.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on December 16, 2009, by a voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 1121.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 provides the short title, the ``Blue Ridge 
Parkway and Town of Blowing Rock Land Exchange Act of 2009''.
    Section 2 defines key terms used in the bill.
    Section 3(a) authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to 
exchange approximately 20 acres of land within the boundaries 
of the Blue Ridge Parkway for approximately 192 acres of land 
owned by the Town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, as depicted 
on the referenced map.
    Subsection (b) requires that the map be on file and 
available for public inspection in the appropriate offices of 
the National Park Service.
    Subsection (c) directs the Secretary to seek to complete 
the exchange within three years after the date of enactment of 
this Act.
    Subsection (d) provides that all laws, regulations, and 
policies regarding exchanges of land administered by the 
National Park Service shall apply, including those involving 
appraisals, equalization of values, and environmental 
compliance. The Secretary is also authorized to set other terms 
and conditions as the Secretary considers appropriate.
    Subsection (e) states that if the lands proposed for 
exchange are found to be not equal in value, the values may be 
equalized by adjusting the acreage amounts listed in subsection 
(a).
    Subsection (f) directs the Secretary, upon completion of 
the exchange, to adjust the boundary of the Blue Ridge Parkway 
to reflect the exchanged lands.
    Subsection (g) provides that lands acquired by the 
Secretary through the exchange shall be administered as part of 
the Parkway in accordance with all applicable laws and 
regulations.
    Subsection (h) states that if the Town later desires to 
dispose of the reservoir property that is the subject of the 
exchange, the Secretary shall have the right of first refusal 
to acquire the property for inclusion in the Parkway.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

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

H.R. 1121--Blue Ridge Parkway and Town of Blowing Rock

    Land Exchange Act of 2009
    H.R. 1121 would authorize the exchange of about 20 acres of 
federal land within the boundaries of the Blue Ridge Parkway in 
exchange for 192 acres of property owned by the town of Blowing 
Rock, North Carolina. Based on information provided by the 
National Park Service, which administers the parkway, CBO 
estimates that implementing H.R. 1121 would have no significant 
effect on discretionary spending and no effect on revenues or 
direct spending. We expect that the acreage to be added to the 
parkway (probably within the next three years) would remain 
open space.
    The bill 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.
    On July 21, 2009, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 
1121, as ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural 
Resources on July 9, 2009. The two versions of the legislation 
are similar, and our cost estimates are the same.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Deborah Reis 
and Daniel Hoople. The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, 
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. 1121.
    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. 1121, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    H.R. 1121, as 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 National Park Service at the 
November 4, 2009, Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 1121 follows:

 Statement of Katherine H. Stevenson, Assistant Director for Business 
      Services, National Park Service, Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the 
views of the Department of the Interior on S. 1767 and H.R. 
1121, bills to authorize a land exchange to acquire lands for 
the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Town of Blowing Rock, North 
Carolina, and for other purposes.
    The Department supports this legislation. S. 1767 and H.R. 
1121, which are identical in substance, would authorize the 
Secretary of the Interior to exchange approximately 20 acres of 
land at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, a popular recreational 
area located within the boundary of the Blue Ridge Parkway, for 
approximately 192 acres of land owned by the Town of Blowing 
Rock (Town). This proposed exchange would be mutually 
beneficial to the National Park Service (NPS) and the Town.
    In 1949, the Moses Cone Hospital Trust deeded the 3,500-
acre Moses H. Cone Memorial Park to the Blue Ridge Parkway. 
This property had been held in trust by the hospital from 1911 
until 1949 under a deed from Bertha Cone, the property's owner. 
During that period, Mrs. Cone gave permission to the Town of 
Blowing Rock to install a pipeline from the Town to a creek on 
the property. In 1955, the NPS issued a permit to the Town 
allowing them to dam the creek to form a reservoir, which 
continues to be used by the Town as its primary source of 
drinking water.
    The Town and NPS officials at the Blue Ridge Parkway have 
long been in agreement that it would be better for the Town to 
own and manage their municipal water supply, rather than 
accessing it through the NPS permitting process. Several years 
ago, NPS and the Town sought to initiate an administrative land 
exchange. In November 2003, the Town purchased a 192-acre tract 
of land adjacent to the Cone Memorial Park in anticipation of 
exchanging this land for approximately 20 acres of land within 
the Cone Memorial Park that would include the reservoir and a 
small amount of land that the Town could flood in order to 
increase the size of the reservoir. The proposed exchange would 
give the Town an unencumbered water supply and the potential 
for some expansion of capacity, while the NPS would receive a 
192-acre buffer tract that would provide recreational 
opportunities and preservation and protection of resources at 
the Blue Ridge Parkway.
    We believe that this exchange, which has been underway for 
several years, would be facilitated and hastened through 
passage of S. 1767 or H.R. 1121, authorizing bills that 
establish clear expectations for both the Town and the NPS 
regarding the exchange process.
    When the House Resources Committee considered H.R. 1121 on 
July 9, 2009, the committee adopted amendments recommended by 
the Department to allow the acreage amounts in the bill to be 
adjusted to equalize land values and to provide a three-year 
time frame for the exchange. H.R. 1121, as amended, passed the 
House on July 27, 2009. The changes made to the H.R. 1121 are 
reflected in S. 1767.
    Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I would be happy 
to answer any questions that you may have.

                        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 H.R. 1121 as ordered 
reported.