A-94317, JUNE 6, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 1052

A-94317: Jun 6, 1938

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WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF EXISTING NATIONAL PARKS AND NATIONAL MONUMENTS AS MATCHING FUNDS FROM OUTSIDE SOURCES ARE DONATED FOR THE SAME PURPOSE. WERE NOT INTENDED TO BE APPLIED AGAINST CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS INCURRED UNDER THE AUTHORIZATION IN THE ACT OF MARCH 4. WAS EXPRESSLY CONTINUED. INSOFAR AS CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS HAVE NOT BEEN INCURRED UNDER THE AUTHORIZATION. THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO THE PURCHASE OF THE LANDS AT ONE-HALF OF THEIR APPRAISED VALUE RATHER THAN BY PAYMENT OF THE REMAINING ONE-HALF OF THE PURCHASE PRICE WITH DONATED FUNDS. IS AS FOLLOWS: IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR APPROPRIATION ACT APPROVED MARCH 4. 000 AS MATCHING FUNDS FROM OUTSIDE SOURCES ARE DONATED FOR THE SAME PURPOSE.

A-94317, JUNE 6, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 1052

PURCHASE OF PRIVATE LANDS IN NATIONAL PARKS, ETC. - STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION THE FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1932, 46 STAT. 1154, TO BE EXPENDED FOR ACQUISITION OF PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS, ETC., WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF EXISTING NATIONAL PARKS AND NATIONAL MONUMENTS AS MATCHING FUNDS FROM OUTSIDE SOURCES ARE DONATED FOR THE SAME PURPOSE, WERE NOT INTENDED TO BE APPLIED AGAINST CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS INCURRED UNDER THE AUTHORIZATION IN THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1929, 45 STAT. 1600, AS SUCH AUTHORIZATION, TO THE EXTENT APPROPRIATIONS FOR OBLIGATIONS THEREUNDER HAD NOT THERETOFORE BEEN MADE, WAS EXPRESSLY CONTINUED,"UNTIL AVAILED OF," IN THE SAME PARAGRAPH OF THE SAID ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, THAT CONTAINED THE INVOLVED APPROPRIATION, AND, INSOFAR AS CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS HAVE NOT BEEN INCURRED UNDER THE AUTHORIZATION, AS CONTINUED, THE RIGHT TO DO SO STILL EXISTS, AND THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO THE PURCHASE OF THE LANDS AT ONE-HALF OF THEIR APPRAISED VALUE RATHER THAN BY PAYMENT OF THE REMAINING ONE-HALF OF THE PURCHASE PRICE WITH DONATED FUNDS.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JUNE 6, 1938:

YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 15, 1938, IS AS FOLLOWS:

IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR APPROPRIATION ACT APPROVED MARCH 4, 1929 (45 STAT. 1600), FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 1930, THE CONGRESS EMBARKED UPON A PROGRAM FOR THE ACQUISITION OF ALL PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS IN THE THEN EXISTING NATIONAL PARKS, AND AT THAT TIME ESTABLISHED A POLICY FOR THE GUIDANCE OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE OF THIS DEPARTMENT THAT, IN FUTURE PARK BUILDING, ALL PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS MUST BE ELIMINATED.

THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1929, SUPRA, APPROPRIATED $250,000 FOR THE ACQUISITION OF PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS AND/OR STANDING TIMBER WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF EXISTING NATIONAL PARKS AND MONUMENTS TO BE EXPENDED ONLY WHEN MATCHED BY EQUAL AMOUNTS BY DONATION FROM OTHER SOURCES FOR THE SAME PURPOSE, TO BE AVAILABLE UNTIL EXPENDED. THE ACT ALSO PROVIDED:

"THAT IN ADDITION TO THE AMOUNT HEREIN APPROPRIATED THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR MAY INCUR OBLIGATIONS AND ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR ADDITIONAL ACQUISITION OF PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS AND/OR STANDING TIMBER IN THE EXISTING NATIONAL PARKS AND NATIONAL MONUMENTS NOT EXCEEDING A TOTAL OF $2,750,000 AS MATCHING FUNDS FROM OUTSIDE SOURCES ARE DONATED FOR THE SAME PURPOSE, AND HIS ACTION IN SO DOING SHALL BE CONSIDERED CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THE SUM HEREIN APPROPRIATED AND THE APPROPRIATIONS HEREIN AUTHORIZED SHALL BE AVAILABLE TO REIMBURSE ANY FUTURE DONOR OF PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS AND/OR STANDING TIMBER WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF ANY EXISTING NATIONAL PARK OR NATIONAL MONUMENT TO THE EXTENT OF ONE HALF THE ACTUAL PURCHASE PRICE THEREOF: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT AS PART CONSIDERATION FOR THE PURCHASE OF LANDS, THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR MAY, IN HIS DISCRETION AND UPON SUCH CONDITIONS AS HE DEEMS PROPER, LEASE LANDS PURCHASED TO THE GRANTORS FOR PERIODS, HOWEVER, NOT TO EXCEED THE LIFE OF THE PARTICULAR GRANTOR, AND THE MATCHING OF FUNDS UNDER THE PROVISIONS HEREOF SHALL NOT BE GOVERNED BY ANY CASH VALUE PLACED UPON SUCH LEASES: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT APPROPRIATIONS HERETOFORE AND HEREIN MADE AND AUTHORIZED FOR THE PURCHASE OF PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS AND/OR STANDING TIMBER IN THE NATIONAL PARKS AND NATIONAL MONUMENTS SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT IN FULL OF EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE PURCHASE OF SAID LANDS AND/OR STANDING TIMBER.'

THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1931 (46 STAT. 318), APPROPRIATED "FOR THE ACQUISITION OF PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS AND/OR STANDING TIMBER WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF EXISTING NATIONAL PARKS AND NATIONAL MONUMENTS, EVIDENCE OF TITLE THERETO TO BE SATISFACTORY TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, $1,750,000, TO BE IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE AND TO REMAIN AVAILABLE UNTIL EXPENDED, BEING PART OF THE CONTRACTUAL AUTHORIZATION OF $2,750,000 CONTAINED IN THE ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1930, APPROVED MARCH 4, 1929.'

THE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THIS DEPARTMENT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1932 (46 STAT. 1154), PROVIDES "THAT IN ADDITION TO THE AMOUNT HEREIN APPROPRIATED, THE AUTHORITY GRANTED THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IN THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1930 (45 STAT. 1600), TO INCUR OBLIGATIONS AND ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR ADDITIONAL ACQUISITION OF SUCH LANDS AND/OR TIMBER IS, TO THE EXTENT OF $1,000,000 HEREBY CONTINUED UNTIL AVAILED OF AS MATCHING SUMS FROM OUTSIDE SOURCES ARE DONATED FOR THE SAME PURPOSE, AND HIS ACTION IN DOING SO SHALL BE CONSIDERED CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.'

IN THIS CONNECTION, THERE IS ATTACHED A TABLE PREPARED BY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE SHOWING THE APPROPRIATIONS AND EXPENDITURES MADE PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN THE ABOVE-MENTIONED APPROPRIATION ACTS TO CARRY OUT THE POLICY OF CONGRESS AS ESTABLISHED IN THE ACT OF CONGRESS OF MARCH 4, 1929, SUPRA, WHICH MAY BE HELPFUL IN ARRIVING AT A DECISION WITH REGARD TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:

DOES THE AUTHORIZATION GRANTED THIS DEPARTMENT IN THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1929, SUPRA, TO EXAMINE AND APPRAISE PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS AND/OR STANDING TIMBER WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF EXISTING NATIONAL PARKS AND MONUMENTS, AND TO MAKE CONTRACTS FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE SAME, SUBJECT TO FUTURE RATIFICATION AND APPROPRIATIONS BY CONGRESS, AS MATCHING FUNDS FROM OUTSIDE SOURCES ARE DONATED FOR THE SAME PURPOSE, STILL EXIST TO THE EXTENT OF OBLIGATING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UNDER CONTRACTS OF PURCHASE IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,000,000? IN OTHER WORDS, DOES THE ACT MARCH 4, 1929, SUPRA, STILL AUTHORIZE THE APPROPRIATION TO BE MADE IN THE EVENT THIS DEPARTMENT SHOULD MAKE CONTRACTS TO THE EXTENT OF $1,000,000 FOR THE PURCHASE OF PRIVATELY OWNED LAND OR STANDING TIMBER, IN THE NATIONAL PARKS AND NATIONAL MONUMENTS ON A "FIFTY-FIFTY" BASIS AS THEREIN PROVIDED?

SEVERAL OWNERS OF PRIVATELY OWNED LAND WITHIN NATIONAL PARKS HAVE CONTACTED THIS DEPARTMENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF DISPOSING OF THEIR HOLDINGS ON A "FIFTY-FIFTY" BASIS. IT IS BELIEVED ADVANTAGEOUS PURCHASE CONTRACTS ON THIS BASIS COULD BE ENTERED INTO BY THIS DEPARTMENT AT THIS TIME. ACCORDINGLY IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE THIS DEPARTMENT AT THE EARLIEST PRACTICABLE DATE AS TO WHETHER THERE IS PRESENT AUTHORITY IN LAW TO CONTRACT FOR THE PURCHASE OF PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS IN NATIONAL PARKS, AT ONE-HALF THEIR ACTUAL APPRAISED VALUE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1929, SUPRA, WITH THE UNDERSTANDING, OF COURSE, THAT APPROPRIATIONS MUST SUBSEQUENTLY BE SOUGHT TO SATISFY ANY CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS THAT MAY BE ENTERED INTO PURSUANT TO SUCH AUTHORITY.

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1154, APPROPRIATED $1,000,000 TO BE EXPENDED ONLY WHEN MATCHED BY DONATIONS OF EQUAL AMOUNTS FROM OTHER SOURCES, BUT THIS APPROPRIATION WAS NOT INTENDED TO APPLY AGAINST CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS INCURRED PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1929, AS THE SAME PARAGRAPH IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT EXPRESSLY CONTINUED "UNTIL AVAILED OF" THE PRIOR AUTHORIZATION TO INCUR OBLIGATIONS, AS MATCHING FUNDS ARE DONATED, TO THE EXTENT OF $1,000,000. THERE DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN SUBSEQUENTLY APPROPRIATED ANY FUND TO MEET THE CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS SO INCURRED. ACCORDINGLY, INSOFAR AS YOU HAVE NOT HERETOFORE NEGOTIATED CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE $1,000,000 AUTHORIZATION, THE RIGHT SO TO DO STILL EXISTS.

AS STATED IN THE DECISION TO YOU MARCH 2, 1929, A-26177, IF THE LANDS CAN BE PURCHASED FOR ONE-HALF OF THEIR APPRAISED VALUE, THE REMAINDER BEING DONATED TO THE UNITED STATES, THIS OFFICE WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THAT PROCEDURE RATHER THAN THE PAYMENT OF THE REMAINING ONE-HALF OF THE PURCHASE PRICE WITH DONATED FUNDS.