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LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION UND
BACKLOG AFTER P.Y. 1988
(1) Based on estimate updated to September 30, 1987.
indicates no statutory ceiling balance and/or actual cost to
Mr. Mott. But that changes every year, of course. Some people have an inholding and it's very good and all of a sudden they sell it to somebody else and then they want to develop it and it becomes critical again.
But I can give you that information.
Mr. Yates. Let me ask you another question about Santa Monica. Santa Monica in my mind is unique legislation in the re sponsibilities that are placed upon the Secretary of the Interior and the Director in dealing with local groups.
For example, one of the provisions in the law requires that-I read from P.L. 96-625, dated November 10, 1978, section 5, page 7: “The Secretary shall give full consideration"-full consideration"to the recommendations of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the Santa Monica Mountains Commission, and the California Coastal Commission.” What does that mean, in your opinion? I don't find any reference to that particular section as I read through the debate when the bill was passed, but there was reference to the fact that there would be greater cooperation between the department and the local groups. Now, we have this language to deal with. The Secretary shall give full consideration to the recommendations of the California Department of Parks and Recreation—the use of the term "full" rather than just consideration-does that mean that you must accept the recommendations of those three groups in your administration of the parks? What does full consideration mean to you, Mr. Secretary?
Mr. Mott. I have not encountered a question relating to that, and I've never asked or been asked the question before. I don't know what that means.
Mr. Yates. Well, apparently it was put in there for some purpose. The purpose wasn't explained.
Mr. Mott. Mr. Chairman, they have a committee which meets on a regular basis to discuss both the operations and land acquisition within the Santa Monica Mountains. I suspect that that's referring to that committee, to keep them fully apprised of what's going on and to get their suggestions and recommendations.
Mr. Yates. Well, but that says you shall give full consideration to what they say. That's a pretty drastic phrase.
Mr. HODEL. Mr. Chairman, you did say that in looking at the debate there are no references. It is not uncommon in my estimation, at least, in dealing with an issue of this type where there are so many disparate interests, property rights involved, for language such as that to be put in without defining it—as a means of salving the concerns of people who say, “Wait a minute, my interests will be ridden over." "Wait a minute, we'll put that in, we'll require the department to give full consideration." I don't know what representation might be made to the meaning of that, but I think sometimes that's used instead of sitting down and defining what does it really mean. Sometimes that faces us with a very serious problem. Somebody says that they were guaranteed veto, in effect. Their agreement had to be obtained. We say, wait a minute. The statute doesn't say that.
Mr. YATES. Let me ask a question. Let's go back to your statement respecting the condensed Santa Monica purchase plan. To the areas which are not within the areas you consider to be important for the Park Service, and the areas which are along the yellow lines which are the boundaries of the district on your map there. The law-again I repeat—the law states that holders of improved properties-and I assume the same thing would apply to unimproved properties—but at least the holders of improved properties—have to negotiate with you. At any rate, they can sell you their land, or else they can hold it during the lifetime of one of the owners. Suppose that period expires? Can that person sell his land to an outsider?
Mr. Mott. I assume that he can.
Mr. YATES. But the outsider wouldn't get a time limit. He doesn't own anything, does he? His interest has expired. His heirs would have only the right to be paid off by the Park Service at that point. They couldn't sell that land, could they?
Mr. HODEL. As long a time as I've practiced law, Mr. Chairman, I don't know what interest would be conveyed to a buyer unless it would be something analogous to the old idea of a person who was entitled to receive an estate who could convey his expected interest-I don't recall what it's called-
Mr. YATES. Here, let me read to you what this says. "The owner of an improved property as defined in the section on the date of acquisition may retain for herself or himself or assigns the right of use and occupancy on the improved property for non-commercial residential or agricultural purposes for a definite term of not more than 25 years, or in lieu thereof turn in at the death of the owner or the death of her or his spouse, whichever is later. The owner shall elect the terms of the usage.'
Mr. HODEL. Let us assume an owner died and the property was not acquired by us, it would seem to me that the estate could transfer an interest in the property-could transfer the Estate interest in the property subject to the right of the Park Service to buy it at whatever time the funds became available.
Mr. YATES. In other words, if the Park Service never bought it, this would go on and on and on.
Mr. HODEL. Yes, but he would have no rights—the Park Service could step in any time and buy it.
Mr. YATES. He'd have no rights other than what the Park Service gave him.
Mr. HODEL. That would be my assumption. In other words, there is some interest there until we pay for it, but it's an easily curtailed interest with the payment of some amount of money. It's an anomalous right in property.
NPS HOUSING Mr. YATES. All right. I have only two more questions. Mr. Mott, you've seen those, haven't you? The examples of housing? What do you do about those? Those aren't the best conditions for your employees to live in, are they?
Mr. Mort. No, they're not.
Mr. Mott. Well--
Mr. Mott. That's part of our program, and we have as first priority the elimination of the tents and the trailers. Most of those trailers were second-hand trailers when we got them. They're now completely worn out. I've looked at them on the ground, and we have almost slum conditions in the parks.
Mr. Yates. Do you have enough money in this budget to replace them?
Mr. Mort. The money that we had in there, that was $20 million, was cut out.
Mr. YATES. So you have no money?
Mr. HODEL. And that's why, Mr. Chairman-if I may say—I've not personally seen this employee housing report that you referenced to the Director, which is, I see now, something that he put out showing the conditions and I think laying the foundation for our proposal for $20 million. We have now announced that we will attempt to identify a nonbudgetary-if I can put it that way-approach. We think that may be feasible. It could even have some benefits that would not be available through employee housing. If we're not able to do that, it will also lay a foundation for a future presentation if we have to proceed.
OPTIMAL FUNDING FOR NPS
Mr. Yates. Mr. Mott, I ask you the same question I asked the Assistant Secretary who was here yesterday with Secretary Herrington. You have a wish list for the Park Service? Do you have a list of things that you would like to do that the budget doesn't provide?
Mr. Motr. Sure.
Mr. Yates. Do you want to submit that to the Committee with the amounts you think it would take?
Mr. Mott. You ask us for it?