[House Report 115-541]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

115th Congress    }                                   {        Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                   {        115-541



February 2, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed


Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 1157]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 1157) to clarify the United States interest in 
certain submerged lands in the area of the Monomoy National 
Wildlife Refuge, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend 
that the bill do pass.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 1157 is to clarify the United States 
interest in certain submerged lands in the area of the Monomoy 
National Wildlife Refuge.


    Established in 1944, Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is a 
7,600-acre stretch of wetland and tidal habitat located off the 
elbow of Cape Cod. Nearly half of the Refuge is designated 
wilderness, which serves as a habitat for two federally-
protected migratory bird species.\1\ Created from an old Air 
Force training ground, the Refuge serves as the northernmost 
boundary of the Nantucket Sound, and is situated near historic 
fishing grounds and popular tourist destinations.\2\
    \1\U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Monomoy National Wildlife 
Refuge. ``About the Refuge.'' Last updated September 23, 2013. https://
    \2\U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Monomoy National Wildlife 
Refuge. ``Refuge Map.'' Last updated December 9, 2015. https://
    At its creation in 1944, the western boundary of the Refuge 
was set at the mean low-water level around the peninsula. This 
boundary includes many small islands, sand bars, and tidal 
flats exterior to the mainland, but crucially omits the 
submerged intertidal zones and open ocean between these 
features and the Refuge.\3\
    \3\``Comments on Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge . . .'' Exhibit 
A. Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General to Libby Herland, 
Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex. December 7, 
2015. http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/environmental/massag-cmts-on-fws-
    In the 2014 draft management plan, citing a ruling from the 
1944 court case United States v. 3,000 Acres of Land (Misc. 
Civil Action No. 6340), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(FWS) proposed to expand the Refuge by including submerged 
acres within the original boundary. In the plan, FWS pointed to 
shifting tides exposing new critical habitat and the need to 
begin conserving submerged horseshoe crab habitat as reasons 
justifying the expansion beyond the previously outlined mean 
low-water mark.\4\
    \4\U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Monomoy National Wildlife 
Refuge. ``Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental 
Impact Statement Executive Summary.'' Pages 4-6. April 2014. https://
    Despite sizable local outcry in opposition to FWS's action, 
and public comment from the Massachusetts Attorney General's 
office disputing FWS's reading of United States v. 3,000 Acres 
of Land, FWS finalized the management plan in March 2016. 
Shortly thereafter, Massachusetts's Governor Charles Baker 
joined 18 Cape Cod townships in a written request for 
legislation to rescind the boundary expansion.\5\ Further, in 
October 2016, the Attorney General of Massachusetts announced 
her intention to sue FWS if the boundary expansion was not 
revoked.\6\ From this, Congressman William Keating introduced 
H.R. 6075 in the 114th Congress to undo the boundary 
adjustment, and subsequently reintroduced the bill as H.R. 1157 
in the 115th Congress.
    \5\Wood, Tim. ``Boundary Change Could Cut Monomoy Refuge Area By 
Half.'' Cape Cod Chronicle. July 13, 2016. http://
    \6\Leggett, Doreen. ``Attorney general may sue over Monomoy 
Refuge.'' Wicked Local Cape Cod. October 06, 2016. http://
    This bill would not only prevent FWS from negatively 
impacting Massachusetts communities and the local fishing 
industry, but would also prevent FWS from incurring legal fees 
brought on by litigation from the State of Massachusetts.

Groups Supporting the Legislation

Association to Preserve Cape Cod
Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates Resolution
Barnstable County Commissioners
Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance
Cape and Islands Selectmen/Councilors' Association
Chatham Chamber of Commerce
Chatham Summer Residents Advisory Committee
City of New Bedford
Commonwealth of Massachusetts-Governor Baker
Gail Eldredge
Town of Bourne
Town of Brewster
Town of Chatham
Town of Falmouth
Town of Harwich
Town of Nantucket
Town of Orleans
Town of Provincetown
Town of Sandwich
Town of Wellfleet
The West Chatham Association, Inc.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 1157 was introduced on February 16, 2017, by 
Congressman William R. Keating (D-MA). The bill was referred to 
the Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to 
the Subcommittee on Federal Lands. On April 5, 2017, the 
Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On December 12, 2017, 
the Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The 
Subcommittee was discharged by unanimous consent. No amendments 
were offered, and the bill was ordered favorably reported to 
the House of Representatives by voice vote on December 13, 


    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.


    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, January 18, 2018.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1157, a bill to 
clarify the United States interest in certain submerged lands 
in the area of the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, and for 
other purposes.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jeff LaFave.
                                                Keith Hall,

H.R. 1157--A bill to clarify the United States interest in certain 
        submerged lands in the area of the Monomoy National Wildlife 
        Refuge, and for other purposes

    H.R. 1157 would express a finding by the Congress regarding 
the location of the western boundary of the Monomoy National 
Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts. Although the bill would not 
change current law, enacting the bill could cause the agency to 
change its determination of the refuge's boundary, which would 
reduce the size of the refuge by about 3,000 acres. However, 
using information provided by the agency, CBO estimates that 
any such change would have a minimal effect on the cost of 
administering the refuge.
    Enacting H.R. 1157 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1157 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 1157 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of Rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to clarify the United States interest 
in certain submerged lands in the area of the Monomoy National 
Wildlife Refuge.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of Rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       COMPLIANCE WITH H. RES. 5

    Directed Rule Making. This bill does not contain any 
directed rule makings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.


    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes to existing 

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    We strongly oppose H.R. 1157 because it revokes any federal 
interest in the submerged lands and water of Nantucket Sound, 
Massachusetts. This conveys to the Commonwealth of 
Massachusetts ownership and control over 3,900 acres of 
submerged land within the boundary of Monomoy National Wildlife 
Refuge (``Monomoy'').
    Monomoy was established in 1944 to protect habitat for 
migratory birds. In the process of updating its 15-year 
conservation plan, Monomoy initially proposed to limit some 
commercial (fishing) and recreational (kite surfing) activities 
in the open water area of Nantucket Sound that fall within the 
refuge boundary. The nearly Town of Chatham, Massachusetts, 
opposed these changes, which resulted in a final conservation 
plan that did not limit existing activities.
    In the meantime, however, the Massachusetts Attorney 
General became involved and is disputing the Fish and Wildlife 
Service's (FWS) valid, legal claim to the open waters and 
submerged lands within the Refuge boundary, even though the 
area has been under valid federal control since 1944 under the 
Migratory Bird Conservation Act. Despite efforts by the Fish 
and Wildlife Service to work with the Town of Chatham and other 
concerned stakeholders, H.R. 1157 attempts to ``clarify'' that 
Massachusetts retains ownership of and jurisdiction over the 
disputed area despite effective federal oversight.
    Supporters of the bill claim that this congressional 
``fix'' will save taxpayers money by stopping a costly court 
battle. In this case, we believe that decisions regarding the 
Monomoy boundary are best left to the courts. We cannot support 
this bill because it would undermine the federal management of 
public lands, especially when there us no evidence that points 
to better management under state control.
                                   Raul M. Grijalva,
                                           Ranking Member.
                                   Grace F. Napolitano.
                                   Jared Huffman.