H.R. 714 Senate Amendments: Senate Amendment to H.R. 714 To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to lease certain lands in Virgin Islands National Park, and for other purposes

H.R. 714

Senate Amendment to H.R. 714 To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to lease certain lands in Virgin Islands National Park, and for other purposes

Sponsor
Sen. Bernard Sanders

Date
September 28, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

The Senate Amendment to H.R. 714 is expected to be considered on the House floor on Tuesday, September 28, 2010, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  This legislation was introduced by Representative Donna Christensen (D-VI) on January 27, 2009, and approved by the House on February 23, 2009, by voice vote.

Bill Summary

H.R. 714 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to enter into a 40 year lease with the owner of the Caneel Bay resort, to allow the owner to keep operating the resort after the current retained use estate (RUE) expires in 2023.  The Secretary would only be authorized to lease the land if the Secretary determines that the long-term benefit to the Virgin Islands National Park would be greater by entering into a lease than by authorizing a concession contract upon the termination of the retained use estate.

The bill states that the lease cannot exceed 40 years, and may not be extended or renewed.  Rental amounts paid to the United States under a lease will be available to the Secretary for visitor services and resource protection within the Park.

The Senate Amendment to H.R. 714 would make clerical and technical changes to the legislation and would stipulate that the lease must “include provisions to ensure the protection of the natural, cultural, and historic features of the resort and associated property.”

Background

5,000 acres in size, the Virgin Islands National Park is located on the island of Saint John.  The Caneel Bay Resort is composed of over 170 acres, and it is situated within the Virgin Islands National Park.  The Resort was founded by Laurence Rockefeller and managed by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts since 1993.   CBI Acquisitions LLC is composed of several investing parties, including Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, and Equis Financial Group.  CBI Acquisitions acquired the Caneel Bay Resort property in 2004.  The House passed similar legislation to this bill (H.R. 1143) in the 110th Congress by a vote of 378-0.  The Senate never acted on that bill. 

Cost

According to CBO, H.R. 714 would “have no effect on discretionary spending.”