H.R. 443: To provide for the conveyance of certain property from the United States to the Maniilaq Association located in Kotzebue, Alaska

H.R. 443

To provide for the conveyance of certain property from the United States to the Maniilaq Association located in Kotzebue, Alaska

Sponsor
Rep.

Date
December 13, 2011 (112th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 443, a bill to provide for the conveyance of certain property from the United States to the Maniilaq Association located in Kotzebue, Alaska, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority for passage. 

H.R. 443 was introduced by Rep. Don Young (R-AK) on January 25, 2011, and was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.  The Committee held a markup of the bill on October 5, 2011, and ordered the bill to be reported, as amended, by unanimous consent.

Bill Summary

H.R. 443 would require that, no later than 180 days after enactment, the Secretary of  Health and Human Services convey to the Maniilaq Association, located in Kotzebue, Alaska, all right, title, and interest of the U.S. in and to the property for use in connection with health and social services programs.

The bill would prohibit the Maniilaq Association from being liable for any soil, surface water, groundwater, or other contamination resulting from the disposal, release, or presence of any environmental contamination, including any oil or petroleum products, or any hazardous substances, hazardous materials, hazardous waste, pollutants, toxic substances, solid waste, or any other environmental contamination or hazard as of the date of the conveyance.  

Background

According to the House Committee on Natural Resources House Report 112-318, H.R. 443 would transfer 14.6 acres of federal land and appurtenances to the Maniilaq Association, in Kotzebue, Alaska, for use in connection with health care and social services facilities operated by the Association.

The Maniilaq Association is a non-profit corporation that provides a range of health care and social services for the benefit of rural residents in remote northwest Alaska under the self governance provisions of the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.). Under this arrangement, Maniilaq is basically a contractor for the Indian Health Service, a unit of the Department of Health and Human Services responsible for providing health care benefits to Native Americans.

H.R. 443 would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to transfer by warranty deed three parcels of land (totaling 14.6 acres) and appurtenances to Maniilaq. One parcel is the site of the existing health care facility, and the other two will host future expansion of related facilities including employee housing.

The subject lands have already been conveyed by the Secretary to Maniilaq through a quit claim deed; however, this method of transferring land does not guarantee clear title that a warranty deed provides. Moreover, Maniilaq argues that under its Indian Self-Determination contracts with the Indian Health Service, transfer of government land using a quit claim deed creates certain obstacles on the Association's use and management of the property.

Under H.R. 443, the Indian Health Service properties would be conveyed to Maniilaq without consideration. Property valued at more than $5000 reverts to the United States if the contract through which Maniilaq provides health services is withdrawn or reassumed by the Secretary.

Cost

Based on information from the Indian Health Service (IHS), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the conveyances would not have a significant impact on the federal budget.  According to the agency, it does not currently receive any lease payments or other receipts from the properties.  Enacting H.R. 443 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.  H.R. 443 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.