S. 363: A bill to authorize the Secretary of Commerce to convey property of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the City of Pascagoula, Mississippi, and for other purposes

S. 363

A bill to authorize the Secretary of Commerce to convey property of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the City of Pascagoula, Mississippi, and for other purposes

Sponsor
Sen. Bernard Sanders

Date
June 5, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, June 5, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider S. 363, A bill to authorize the Secretary of Commerce to convey property of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the City of Pascagoula, Mississippi, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority for approval. The bill was introduced on February 16, 2011, by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and approved in the Senate on November 10, 2011, by unanimous consent. On November 14, 2011, the bill was sent to the House and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which held a markup and reported the bill by unanimous consent on April 25, 2012.

Bill Summary

S. 363 would authorize the Secretary of Commerce to convey certain land under the administrative jurisdiction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to the City of Pascagoula, Mississippi. Under the bill, the Secretary could only allow the conveyance if it were determined that it is in the best interest of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Federal Government to do so. The bill would allow NOAA to exchange less than one acre of property with the City of Pascagoula to improve the administration of a science center while providing the City with land it needs for a park and Pascagoula River access. The bill would require that the government receive it fair market value of the property, which could include any combination of property, cash or cash equivalents, or in-kind consideration.  In addition, the bill would allow the government to convey to the city of Pascagoula a right of way or easement if the department determines the conveyance to be in the best interest of NOAA and the federal government.

Background

According to House Report 112-502, The NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Southeast Science Center located in the City of Pascagoula, Mississippi, encroached on surrounding county property in late 1990s. According to NOAA, the agency encroached on two small parcels plus a portion of a street outside the Science Center for security purposes. Jackson County originally owned the property and agreed to the encroachment. The County later sold the property to the City of Pascagoula in 2008. Over the years, NOAA used the encroached land parcels for parking and storage. In addition to these encroached land areas, NOAA would like to acquire City property adjacent to the Science Center to provide for more parking and storage, and potential facility expansion. The total land NOAA would like to acquire from the City adds up to roughly 46,466 square feet. The City of Pascagoula is interested in developing green space along its waterfront area and would like to acquire NOAA property to create a park, as well as secure public access to the Pascagoula River, and to expand the City's contiguous land holdings. The City would like to acquire 35,059 square feet of NOAA property within a tract of land bounded by Delmas Avenue to the south, Pascagoula River to the west, Pol Street to the north, and City owned property to the east. According to NOAA, it has removed modular buildings from the property and could release the lands without disruption to its operations.

Cost

According to CBO, S. 363 “would have no significant impact on the federal budget.”