A-17623, MARCH 11, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 568

A-17623: Mar 11, 1927

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

CONTEMPLATES THAT SUCH RIGHTS OF WAY SHALL BE OBTAINED IN THE MANNER IN WHICH INTERESTS IN LANDS FOR GOVERNMENTAL PURPOSES ARE USUALLY ACQUIRED. THAT IS. IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE DUTY. 1927: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 3. INCLUDING SUPPLIES * * *" IT WILL BE NOTICED THAT THE MONEY INCLUDED IN THIS PROVISION IS IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE. IS CONTEMPLATED THEREUNDER. IT IS PROPOSED TO START AT ONCE TO CONSTRUCT A PIPE LINE TO BRING HELIUM- BEARING NATURAL GAS FROM NOCONA TO THE FORT WORTH PLANT. ACQUIREMENT AND TRANSFER TO THE GOVERNMENT BY THE CONTRACTOR OF THE NECESSARY RIGHTS OF WAY OVER WHICH THE PIPE LINE IS TO BE LAID. YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE CONTRACTOR MAY SECURE AND ASSIGN TO THE GOVERNMENT SUCH RIGHTS OF WAY.

A-17623, MARCH 11, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 568

RIGHTS OF WAY - ACQUISITION - DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 24, 1927, 44 STAT. 1178, MAKING IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE AN APPROPRIATION FOR HELIUM PRODUCTION AND CONSERVATION, INCLUDING THE ACQUISITION BY PURCHASE OR OTHERWISE OF HELIUM-BEARING GAS LAND, SITES, RIGHTS OF WAY FOR PIPE LINES, ETC., CONTEMPLATES THAT SUCH RIGHTS OF WAY SHALL BE OBTAINED IN THE MANNER IN WHICH INTERESTS IN LANDS FOR GOVERNMENTAL PURPOSES ARE USUALLY ACQUIRED; THAT IS, THROUGH AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT. A CONTRACT FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PIPE LINES, PROVIDING ALSO FOR THE ACQUIREMENT BY THE CONTRACTOR OF THE NECESSARY RIGHTS OF WAY AND THEIR TRANSFER BY ASSIGNMENT TO THE GOVERNMENT, WOULD, THEREFORE, NOT BE AUTHORIZED. THE MATTER OF NEGOTIATING FOR THE PURCHASE OF LANDS OR ANY INTERESTS THEREIN FOR THE UNITED STATES, AS A GENERAL RULE, IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE DUTY, WHICH MAY BE DELEGATED ONLY TO RESPONSIBLE OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, MARCH 11, 1927:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 3, 1927, REQUESTING DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS:

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 24, 1927 (PUBLIC NO. 638), MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THIS DEPARTMENT, PROVIDES:

"HELIUM PLANTS: FOR HELIUM PRODUCTION AND CONSERVATION, IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXISTING LAW, INCLUDING ACQUISITION OF HELIUM-BEARING GAS LAND BY PURCHASE, LEASE, OR CONDEMNATION, OR INTEREST IN SUCH LAND, $1,063,000, TO BE IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE: PROVIDED, THAT NOT TO EXCEED $563,000 OF THIS AMOUNT SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE, LEASE, CONSTRUCTION, OR MODIFICATION OF PLANTS, PIPE LINES AND ACCESSORIES, COMPRESSOR STATIONS, CAMP BUILDINGS, AND OTHER FACILITIES FOR THE PRODUCTION, TRANSPORTATION, STORAGE, AND PURIFICATION OF HELIUM AND HELIUM-BEARING GAS, INCLUDING ACQUISITION OF SITES AND RIGHTS OF WAY BY PURCHASE, LEASE, OR CONDEMNATION, AND INCLUDING SUPPLIES * * *"

IT WILL BE NOTICED THAT THE MONEY INCLUDED IN THIS PROVISION IS IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE, AND THAT THE CONSTRUCTION OF PIPE LINES, TOGETHER WITH THE ACQUISITION OF RIGHTS OF WAY, IS CONTEMPLATED THEREUNDER.

IT IS PROPOSED TO START AT ONCE TO CONSTRUCT A PIPE LINE TO BRING HELIUM- BEARING NATURAL GAS FROM NOCONA TO THE FORT WORTH PLANT; THE CONSTRUCTION OF THIS PIPE LINE WOULD BE EXPEDITED IF A CONTRACT COULD BE LET FOR THE JOB, WHICH WOULD INCLUDE, IN ADDITION TO THE LAYING OF THE PIPE LINE, ACQUIREMENT AND TRANSFER TO THE GOVERNMENT BY THE CONTRACTOR OF THE NECESSARY RIGHTS OF WAY OVER WHICH THE PIPE LINE IS TO BE LAID.

BEFORE ADVERTISING FOR BIDS FOR THIS WORK, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE CONTRACTOR MAY SECURE AND ASSIGN TO THE GOVERNMENT SUCH RIGHTS OF WAY, OR WHETHER IT WILL BE NECESSARY FOR THE GOVERNMENT, ITSELF, TO FIRST SECURE THE RIGHTS OF WAY AND THEN LET THE CONTRACT FOR THE PIPE LINE.

THE QUESTION ON WHICH DECISION IS REQUESTED CONCERNS THE PROPOSED ACQUISITION OF RIGHTS OF WAY FOR PIPE LINES BY PARTIES OTHER THAN OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE SUBSEQUENT TRANSFER TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE RIGHTS OF WAY THUS ACQUIRED.

THE PROVISIONS OF LAW REFERRED TO AUTHORIZE THE ACQUIREMENT OF NEEDED RIGHTS OF WAY, EITHER BY PURCHASE, LEASE, OR CONDEMNATION, AS ONE OF THE MEANS OF TRANSPORTING HELIUM AND HELIUM-BEARING GAS, AND CONTEMPLATE THE ACQUISITION OF SUCH RIGHTS OF WAY IN THE MANNER IN WHICH INTERESTS IN LANDS FOR GOVERNMENTAL PURPOSES ARE USUALLY ACQUIRED, THAT IS, THROUGH AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT.

THE MATTER OF NEGOTIATING FOR THE PURCHASE OF LANDS OR ANY INTERESTS IN LANDS FOR THE UNITED STATES AS A GENERAL RULE, IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE DUTY THAT CAN NOT BE DELEGATED TO ANYONE OTHER THAN TO RESPONSIBLE OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT (3 COMP. GEN. 720) AND THE PROVISION OF LAW IN QUESTION DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE PROCEEDING ON ANY DIFFERENT BASIS IN REGARD TO THE ACQUIRING OF THE RIGHTS OF WAY FOR THESE PIPE LINES.

IN THE EVENT IT BECOMES NECESSARY TO RESORT TO CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS IN THE ACQUISITION OF ANY RIGHTS OF WAY FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF PIPE LINES IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THE PURPOSE AUTHORIZED BY THE QUOTED PROVISION OF LAW, ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE PROCEDURE PRESCRIBED IN THE ACTS OF AUGUST 1, 1888, 25 STAT. 357, AND THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1889, ID. 941, FOR THE ACQUISITION OF LANDS FOR GOVERNMENTAL PURPOSES.

YOU ARE ADVISED IN REPLY TO YOUR QUERY THAT IT WILL BE NECESSARY FOR OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT TO INITIATE AND CARRY TO CONCLUSION ANY ACTION LOOKING TO THE SECURING OF RIGHTS OF WAY ON WHICH THE PIPE LINES ARE TO BE CONSTRUCTED AND THAT THE PROPOSED CONTRACT TO INCLUDE SUCH SERVICES IS NOT AUTHORIZED.