B-182247, MAR 25, 1975, 54 COMP GEN 799

B-182247: Mar 25, 1975

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NOR ANY OTHER MONIES ARE AVAILABLE TO PAY JUDGMENT. 1975: WE HAVE RECEIVED A REQUEST FOR DECISION FROM AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER OF THE FOREST SERVICE. THE CERTIFYING OFFICER STATES THAT THE FULL $4.5 MILLION WAS APPROPRIATED BY CONGRESS FOR THIS PURPOSE AND THAT. ARE PROBABLY ALSO AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE LAND IN THE BWCA. HE STATES THAT THESE FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE FOR ACQUISITIONS OF "INHOLDINGS WITHIN EXISTING BOUNDARIES OF WILDERNESS. 16 U.S.C. 4601) ARE AVAILABLE FOR THIS TYPE OF PURCHASE AND FUNDS WERE AVAILABLE AT TIME OF CONDEMNATION AND COULD HAVE BEEN USED. NO REASONING WAS SUPPLIED TO GIVE SUPPORT TO THIS STATEMENT. IT IS OUR VIEW THAT INASMUCH AS THE CONGRESS ESTABLISHED A SPECIFIC DOLLAR LIMITATION ON THE AMOUNT WHICH COULD BE APPROPRIATED FOR THE PURCHASE AND CONDEMNATION OF LAND IN THE BWCA.

B-182247, MAR 25, 1975, 54 COMP GEN 799

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT - FOREST SERVICE - BOUNDARY WATERS CANOE AREA - APPROPRIATIONS - ACQUISITION OF LAND CONGRESS HAVING AUTHORIZED APPROPRIATIONS NOT TO EXCEED $4.5 MILLION FOR ACQUISITION OF LAND BY PURCHASE OR CONDEMNATION IN BOUNDARY WATERS CANOE AREA, 16 U.S.C. 577H, AND HAVING APPROPRIATED THAT AMOUNT, ONLY SUCH FUNDS MAY BE USED FOR PARTICULAR LAND ACQUISITION. APPROPRIATIONS - LIMITATIONS - SPECIFIC DOLLAR LIMITATION V. GENERAL LANGUAGE SPECIFIC DOLLAR LIMITATION IN 16 U.S.C. 577H FOR SPECIFIC LAND ACQUISITION MUST TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER MORE GENERAL LANGUAGE AND AUTHORITY CONFERRED BY LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND ACT OF 1965 WHICH AUTHORIZES APPROPRIATIONS FOR ACQUISITIONS OF "INHOLDINGS WITHIN EXISTING BOUNDARIES OF WILDERNESS, WILD AND CANOE AREAS." APPROPRIATIONS - DEFICIENCIES - ANTIDEFICIENCY ACT - VIOLATIONS - OVEROBLIGATIONS SINCE AMOUNT OF JUDGMENT IN CONDEMNATION ACTION HAS EXHAUSTED SPECIAL APPROPRIATION FOR ACQUISITION OF LAND LEAVING AMOUNT STILL OWING TO FORMER OWNERS AND SINCE NEITHER PERMANENT INDEFINITE APPROPRIATION FOR JUDGMENTS, 31 U.S.C. 724A (1970), NOR ANY OTHER MONIES ARE AVAILABLE TO PAY JUDGMENT, OBLIGATION IN EXCESS OF AVAILABLE APPROPRIATIONS HAS BEEN CREATED IN VIOLATION OF ANTIDEFICIENCY ACT, 31 U.S.C. 665 (1970) AND DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION TO PAY CLAIM SHOULD BE REQUESTED.

IN THE MATTER OF MONIES FOR LAND CONDEMNATION, MARCH 25, 1975:

WE HAVE RECEIVED A REQUEST FOR DECISION FROM AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER OF THE FOREST SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AS TO WHETHER A VOUCHER TO PAY A JUDGMENT OBTAINED BY JACOB AND JAMES PETE FOR LAND CONDEMNED BY THE UNITED STATES FOR THE BOUNDARY WATERS CANOE AREA (BWCA) MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

PUBLIC LAW 80-733, JUNE 22, 1948, 62 STAT. 570, AS AMENDED, 16 U.S.C. SEC. 577H (1970), AUTHORIZED APPROPRIATIONS NOT TO EXCEED $4.5 MILLION FOR ACQUISITION OF LAND BY PURCHASE OR CONDEMNATION IN THE BWCA. THE CERTIFYING OFFICER STATES THAT THE FULL $4.5 MILLION WAS APPROPRIATED BY CONGRESS FOR THIS PURPOSE AND THAT, AS OF JULY 11, 1974, THIS SPECIAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE BWCA HAS, EXCEPT FOR $253.13, BEEN EXHAUSTED, LEAVING $16,717.33 STILL OWING THE PETES ON A $38,000 JUDGMENT RENDERED THEM BY THE U.S. DISTRICT COURT IN DULUTH, MINNESOTA.

THE CERTIFYING OFFICER SUGGESTS THAT FUNDS APPROPRIATED PURSUANT TO THE LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND ACT OF 1965 (L&WCFA), PUBLIC LAW 88-578, SEPTEMBER 3, 1964, 78 STAT. 897, AS AMENDED, 16 U.S.C. SEC. 4601-4 ET SEQ., (1970), ARE PROBABLY ALSO AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE LAND IN THE BWCA. HE STATES THAT THESE FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE FOR ACQUISITIONS OF "INHOLDINGS WITHIN EXISTING BOUNDARIES OF WILDERNESS, WILD AND CANOE AREAS." BEFORE CERTIFYING PAYMENT, HOWEVER, HE WISHES A DECISION ON THE MATTER FROM THIS OFFICE.

BY LETTER DATED OCTOBER 4, 1974, B-182247, WE REQUESTED THE VIEW OF THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE IN THIS MATTER. ON JANUARY 24, 1975, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ADMINISTRATION RESPONDED TO OUR INQUIRY BY SIMPLY STATING:

FUNDS APPROPRIATED UNDER THE LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND ACT OF 1965 (78 STAT. 897 AS AMENDED; 16 U.S.C. 4601) ARE AVAILABLE FOR THIS TYPE OF PURCHASE AND FUNDS WERE AVAILABLE AT TIME OF CONDEMNATION AND COULD HAVE BEEN USED. NO REASONING WAS SUPPLIED TO GIVE SUPPORT TO THIS STATEMENT. BASED ON THE FACTS PRESENTED BY THE CERTIFYING OFFICER, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT INASMUCH AS THE CONGRESS ESTABLISHED A SPECIFIC DOLLAR LIMITATION ON THE AMOUNT WHICH COULD BE APPROPRIATED FOR THE PURCHASE AND CONDEMNATION OF LAND IN THE BWCA, AND SINCE FOR THAT PURPOSE IT APPROPRIATED EXACTLY THAT AMOUNT ($4.5 MILLION), NO FUNDS OTHER THAN THOSE APPROPRIATED PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF 16 U.S.C. SEC. 577H MAY BE USED TO PURCHASE OR CONDEMN LAND IN THE BWCA. SEE, FOR EXAMPLE, 36 COMP. GEN. 526 (1957), 38 ID. 588 (1959), AND 38 ID. 758 (1959). SPECIFICALLY, IT IS OUR POSITION THAT THE AUTHORIZATION LIMITATION CONTAINED IN 16 U.S.C. SEC. 577H AND THE SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS MADE PURSUANT THERETO MUST TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER THE MORE GENERAL FUNDING AUTHORITY CONFERRED BY THE L&WCFA FOR LAND ACQUISITIONS, AND HENCE, NO MORE THAN $4.5 MILLION MAY BE OBLIGATED OR EXPENDED TO PURCHASE OR CONDEMN LAND FOR THE BWCA. MOREOVER, AS WE HELD IN OUR DECISION OF AUGUST 21, 1964, B-154988, COPY ENCLOSED, THE PERMANENT INDEFINITE APPROPRIATION FOR JUDGMENTS, 31 U.S.C. SEC. 724A (1970), IS NOT AVAILABLE TO PAY CONDEMNATION JUDGMENTS IN SITUATIONS SUCH AS THIS. THE CREATION OF AN OBLIGATION IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT AVAILABLE UNDER AN APPROPRIATION - A SITUATION THAT PERTAINS HERE - IS A VIOLATION OF THE ANTIDEFICIENCY ACT, 31 U.S.C. SEC. 665 (1970). HENCE, BASED ON THE RECORD BEFORE US, WE ARE ADVISING THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE BY SEPARATE LETTER THAT A DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION SHOULD BE OBTAINED TO MEET THE OUTSTANDING BALANCE ON THE COURT JUDGMENT.