A-84363, MARCH 15, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 856

A-84363: Mar 15, 1937

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FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH A MIGRATORY WATERFOWL PROJECT IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING THAT TITLE TO SAID LAND IS SATISFACTORY TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. NOTWITHSTANDING THERE IS NO INTENTION "TO ERECT UPON THIS LAND ANY PUBLIC BUILDING. AS THAT TERM IS USED IN SECTION 355. AS FOLLOWS: TRANSMITTED HEREWITH IS A PUBLIC VOUCHER FOR PURCHASES AND SERVICES OTHER THAN PERSONAL (FORMS 1034. THE FOREGOING TRACT OF LAND WAS ACQUIRED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF TITLE VII OF THE ACT OF CONGRESS APPROVED JUNE 15. AS THAT TERM IS USED IN SECTION 355. IT WAS CONSIDERED NECESSARY TO SUBMIT THIS TITLE TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR HIS APPROVAL BEFORE REQUESTING THAT PAYMENT BE MADE. THERE ARE TRANSMITTED HEREWITH: (1) THE OPINION OF THE SOLICITOR OF THIS DEPARTMENT.

A-84363, MARCH 15, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 856

LAND PURCHASES FOR MIGRATORY WATERFOWL PROJECTS - TITLE APPROVAL BY ATTORNEY GENERAL PAYMENT MAY NOT BE MADE FROM PUBLIC MONEYS FOR LAND ACQUIRED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE UNDER AUTHORITY OF TITLE VII OF THE ACT OF CONGRESS APPROVED JUNE 15, 1935, 49 STAT. 384, FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH A MIGRATORY WATERFOWL PROJECT IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING THAT TITLE TO SAID LAND IS SATISFACTORY TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, NOTWITHSTANDING THERE IS NO INTENTION "TO ERECT UPON THIS LAND ANY PUBLIC BUILDING, AS THAT TERM IS USED IN SECTION 355, REVISED STATUTES.'

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, MARCH 15, 1937:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 5, 1937, AS FOLLOWS:

TRANSMITTED HEREWITH IS A PUBLIC VOUCHER FOR PURCHASES AND SERVICES OTHER THAN PERSONAL (FORMS 1034, 1034A), SIGNED BY W. F. COOPER, APPROVED IN THE AMOUNT OF $260, BEING PAYMENT IN FULL FOR THE PURCHASE OF A TRACT OF LAND IN THE COUNTY OF BECKER, STATE OF MINNESOTA, DESIGNATED AS THE W. F. COOPER TRACT NO. 304.

THE FOREGOING TRACT OF LAND WAS ACQUIRED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF TITLE VII OF THE ACT OF CONGRESS APPROVED JUNE 15, 1935 (49 STAT. 378), FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH OUR TAMARAC MIGRATORY WATERFOWL PROJECT. INASMUCH AS THE DEPARTMENT DOES NOT INTEND TO ERECT UPON THIS LAND ANY PUBLIC BUILDING, AS THAT TERM IS USED IN SECTION 355, REVISED STATUTES OF THE UNITED STATES, IT WAS CONSIDERED NECESSARY TO SUBMIT THIS TITLE TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR HIS APPROVAL BEFORE REQUESTING THAT PAYMENT BE MADE.

IN SUPPORT OF THE FOREGOING VOUCHER, THERE ARE TRANSMITTED HEREWITH: (1) THE OPINION OF THE SOLICITOR OF THIS DEPARTMENT, DATED MARCH 3, 1937, SHOWING TITLE TO THE TRACT AS NOW BEING VESTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: (2) WARRANTY DEED FROM W. F. COOPER, A SINGLE MAN, TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DATED DECEMBER 31, 1936, AND RECORDED IN THE BECKER COUNTY RECORDS ON FEBRUARY 11, 1937, IN BOOK 107 OF DEEDS AT PAGE 623; (3) AGREEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE LAND SIGNED BY W. F. COOPER ON APRIL 1, 1936, AND ACCEPTED BY THIS DEPARTMENT ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES ON MAY 12, 1936, FIXING THE VALUE OF THE LAND AS $3.25 PER ACRE; (4) COPY OF THE SURVEY DESCRIPTION PREPARED AUGUST 7, 1936, DETERMINING THE TRACT TO CONTAIN 80 ACRES; (5) ABSTRACT OF TITLE CONTINUED BY THE BECKER COUNTY ABSTRACT COMPANY TO FEBRUARY 11, 1937, SHOWING THE CONVEYANCE OF THE LAND TO THE UNITED STATES; AND (6) A CERTIFICATE OF INTENTION MADE BY THE ACTING CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF BIOLOGICAL SURVEY OF THIS DEPARTMENT.

THIS DEPARTMENT HAS THE HONOR TO REQUEST AN EARLY CONSIDERATION OF THIS CASE AND APPROVAL OF THE PROPOSED PAYMENT.

TITLE VII OF THE ACT (49 STAT. 378, 384), CITED ABOVE, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

THAT THERE IS HEREBY APPROPRIATED OUT OF THE UNEXPECTED BALANCE OF THE SUM OF $3,300,000,000 APPROPRIATED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 16, 1933 (48 STAT. 274), MAKING APPROPRIATIONS TO SUPPLY DEFICIENCIES IN CERTAIN APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1933, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES, THE SUM OF $6,000,000, WHICH SHALL REMAIN AVAILABLE UNTIL EXPENDED, TO ENABLE THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE TO ACQUIRE BY PURCHASE OR OTHERWISE SUCH LANDS AS MAY BE NECESSARY IN HIS OPINION ADEQUATELY TO PROVIDE FOR THE RESTORATION, REHABILITATION, AND PROTECTION OF MIGRATORY WATERFOWL AND OTHER WILDLIFE AND TO ERECT AND CONSTRUCT THEREON AND IN CONNECTION THEREWITH SUCH BUILDINGS, DIKES, DAMS, CANALS, AND OTHER WORKS AS MAY BE NECESSARY; AND IN THE EXECUTION OF THIS ACT THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE SUCH EXPENDITURES FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND ELSEWHERE AS HE SHALL DEEM NECESSARY.

TITLE III OF THE SAME ACT (49 STAT. 378, 381), PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 301. THAT SECTION 6 OF THE MIGRATORY BIRD CONSERVATION ACT, APPROVED FEBRUARY 18, 1929 (45 STAT. 1222), IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

"SEC. 6. THAT THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE MAY DO ALL THINGS AND MAKE ALL EXPENDITURES NECESSARY TO SECURE THE SAFE TITLE IN THE UNITED STATES TO THE AREAS WHICH MAY BE ACQUIRED UNDER THIS ACT, BUT NO PAYMENTS SHALL BE MADE FOR ANY SUCH AREAS UNTIL THE TITLE THERETO SHALL BE SATISFACTORY TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BUT THE ACQUISITION OF SUCH AREAS BY THE UNITED STATES SHALL IN NO CASE BE DEFEATED BECAUSE OF RIGHTS-OF-WAY, EASEMENTS, AND RESERVATIONS WHICH FROM THEIR NATURE WILL IN THE OPINION OF THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE IN NO MANNER INTERFERE WITH THE USE OF THE AREAS SO ENCUMBERED FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS ACT; BUT SUCH RIGHTS-OF-WAY, EASEMENTS, AND RESERVATIONS RETAINED BY THE GRANTOR OR LESSOR FROM WHOM THE UNITED STATES RECEIVES TITLE UNDER THIS OR ANY OTHER ACT FOR THE ACQUISITION BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE OF AREAS FOR WILDFIRE REFUGES SHALL BE SUBJECT TO RULES AND REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE FOR THE OCCUPATION, USE, OPERATION, PROTECTION, AND ADMINISTRATION OF SUCH AREAS AS INVIOLATE SANCTUARIES FOR MIGRATORY BIRDS OR AS REFUGES FOR WILDLIFE; AND IT SHALL BE EXPRESSED IN THE DEED OR LEASE THAT THE USE, OCCUPATION, AND OPERATION OF SUCH RIGHTS-OF-WAY, EASEMENTS, AND RESERVATIONS SHALL BE SUBORDINATE TO AND SUBJECT TO SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS ARE SET OUT IN SUCH DEED OR LEASE, OR, IF DEEMED NECESSARY BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, TO SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY HIM FROM TIME TO TIME.'

IN DECISION TO YOU OF AUGUST 2, 1935, A-63806, WHICH INVOLVED ALSO THE ACQUISITION OF LANDS UNDER THE APPROPRIATION OF $6,000,000, SUPRA, IT WAS SAID:

YOUR SUBMISSION INVITES ATTENTION THAT THERE ARE NO STRUCTURES PLANNED TO BE ERECTED UPON THE TRACT TO BE REGARDED AS PUBLIC BUILDINGS WITHIN SECTION 355 OF THE REVISED STATUTES AND THAT CONGRESS HAS BY CERTAIN ACTS AUTHORIZED THE ACQUISITION OF LAND FREE OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 355 AND THE INTERPRETATIVE LIMITATIONS BASED THEREON. WHETHER OR NOT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 355, REVISED STATUTES, ARE LIMITED TO WHERE PUBLIC BUILDINGS ARE TO BE ERECTED UPON THE SITE TO BE ACQUIRED--- YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO TITLE III OF THE ACT OF JUNE 15, 1935, 49 STAT. 381, SECTION 301, WHICH AMENDS SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF 1929, AND SPECIFICALLY STIPULATES THAT "NO PAYMENT SHALL BE MADE FOR ANY SUCH AREAS UNTIL THE TITLE THERETO SHALL BE SATISFACTORY TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.' IN VIEW OF THIS STATUTORY REQUIREMENT PUBLIC MONEYS WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT --- AT LEAST UNTIL TITLE SATISFACTORY TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS BEEN ACQUIRED.'

WHAT WAS SAID IN THAT DECISION APPEARS TO BE EQUALLY APPLICABLE IN THE PRESENT CASE, AND IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING THAT TITLE TO SUBJECT LAND IS SATISFACTORY TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED IS NOT AUTHORIZED.