H. Rept. 113-218 - 113th Congress (2013-2014)
September 20, 2013, As Reported by the Natural Resources Committee

Report text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this legislative text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.




House Report 113-218 - NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE REVIEW ACT OF 2013




[House Report 113-218]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


113th Congress   }                                   {          Report
                 }      HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES     {
 1st Session                                                  113-218
======================================================================
 
             NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE REVIEW ACT OF 2013

                                _______
                                

 September 20, 2013.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following


                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 638]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 638) to amend the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Administration Act of 1966 to require that any new 
national wildlife refuge may not be established except as 
expressly authorized by statute, 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. 638 is to amend the National Wildlife 
Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 to require that any 
new national wildlife refuge may not be established except as 
expressly authorized by statute.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The National Wildlife Refuge System is comprised of federal 
lands that have been acquired for the conservation and 
enhancement of fish and wildlife, and on which compatible 
recreation is allowed. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(FWS) manages the System in accordance with the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966. This law was 
amended and updated by the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement 
Act of 1997. The statutory mission of the System is ``to 
administer a national network of lands and waters for the 
conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of 
the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats 
within the United States for the benefit of present and future 
generations of Americans.'' Recreational and other uses of 
System lands are permitted if those uses are compatible with 
the mission of the System and the purposes for which the refuge 
was established. In fact, more than 47 million people visited 
one or more refuges in 2012.
    The System is comprised of 150 million acres of land and 
waters, including 54 million acres of submerged lands in four 
marine national monuments. There are 561 refuges and 38 wetland 
management districts, which provide habitat for hundreds of 
fish and wildlife species. Refuges are located in all 50 States 
and five U.S. territories and range in size from the less than 
one-acre Mille Lacs National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota, to 
the 19-million acre Yukon Delta Refuge in Alaska. The first 
wildlife refuge was established by President Theodore Roosevelt 
at Pelican Island, Florida, in 1903.
    The current maintenance backlog for the Refuge System, 
which is recorded within the FWS's Service Asset and 
Maintenance Management System (SAMMS), now stands at $2.3 
billion. There are 3,342 projects worth $1 billion that are 
considered ``mission critical'' to the Refuge System. According 
to FWS, the term ``mission critical'' refers to the highest 
priority projects from the Refuge Operations Needs System. The 
Refuge Operation Need System (RONS) is a database for the 
operation of the National Wildlife Refuge System which includes 
a comprehensive inventory of projects needed to enable the 
System to carry out its mission. According to FWS, the current 
operations backlog is $676.9 million. Together, the maintenance 
and operations backlog facing the National Wildlife Refuge 
System is approximately $3 billion.
    Under current law, FWS can administratively establish, 
without any input from local communities, officials, states, or 
Congress, a wildlife refuge regardless of its size and 
potential costs to taxpayers. During the past ten years, FWS 
has administratively created 19 new wildlife refuges, which 
will ultimately cost billions of dollars and add millions of 
acres of private property to the federal land inventory. Two of 
the best examples of this policy are FWS's decision to 
administratively establish a 1-million acre refuge in the Flint 
Hills Legacy Conservation Area in Kansas and the 150,000-acre 
Everglades Headwater National Wildlife Refuge in Central 
Florida. The estimated cost of these two wildlife refuges alone 
is more than $1 billion. Since 1903, 505 refuges were 
administratively created and 56 units were established through 
an Act of Congress.
    Since the Congress must decide whether to appropriate money 
to complete the land acquisition process for these new refuges, 
Congress should review the merits of each project before FWS 
commits the taxpayers of this nation to these future 
expenditures. By contrast, no Administration can 
administratively create or expand a national park, a wilderness 
area, a national forest, a wild and scenic river, a national 
heritage area, a National Scenic and Historic Trail, a National 
Conservation Area, or establish or modify a unit of the Coastal 
Barrier Resources System without an authorization from 
Congress. Ironically, if FWS wants to remove property from the 
National Wildlife Refuge System, then an act of Congress is 
required.
    Based on an analysis by the Congressional Research Service, 
there has been no legislation considered during the past 30 
years that would diminish Congress' responsibility to 
establish, expand or reduce the size of the other federal land 
management units under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land 
Management, National Park Service or U.S. Forest Service. In 
fact, each Congress, the House Committee on Natural Resources 
considers dozens of bills to study the feasibility of, to 
establish or expand a national park and whether to add or 
delete land from a national forest, wilderness area, national 
heritage area and other federal land management units under the 
jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior. There is 
nothing unique about creating a new national wildlife refuge, 
and Congress should exert its oversight responsibility before 
and not after a national wildlife refuge is established.
    The fundamental purpose of this measure is to require that 
any new national wildlife refuge established after January 3, 
2013, must be authorized by Congress. This legislation does not 
affect any of the 561 refuges that have already been 
established nor does it prevent FWS from expanding an existing 
unit.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 638 was introduced on February 13, 2013, by 
Congressman John Fleming (R-LA). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular 
Affairs. On April 25, 2013, the Subcommittee held a hearing on 
the bill. On July 24, 2013, the full Natural Resources 
Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee on 
Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs was discharged 
by unanimous consent. No amendments were offered, and the bill 
was adopted and ordered favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives by a roll call vote of 22 to 12, as follows:
<GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT>

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    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.

                    Compliance With House Rule XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 638--National Wildlife Refuge Review Act of 2013

    H.R. 638 would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from 
establishing new national wildlife refuges unless those refuges 
are expressly authorized by law. Based on information provided 
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), CBO estimates 
that implementing the bill would have no impact on the federal 
budget. Enacting the legislation would not affect direct 
spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do 
not apply.
    Under current law, USFWS has the authority to identify 
potential sites, perform environmental assessments, and 
establish boundaries for new national wildlife refuges. The 
agency can formally establish new refuges by acquiring lands 
within the proposed boundaries. Under the bill, USFWS could 
only establish new national wildlife refuges if those refuges 
are expressly authorized by law. CBO expects that any 
appropriated funds that would have been spent to acquire lands 
to establish new refuges under current law would be spent to 
acquire lands within existing refuges under the bill; 
therefore, we estimate that implementing the bill would have no 
impact on discretionary spending.
    In addition, USFWS has the authority, under current law, to 
spend a portion of the proceeds from the sale of duck stamps, 
without further appropriation, to acquire lands within the 
national wildlife refuge system. The agency can use those funds 
to purchase lands to formally establish new wildlife refuges. 
Under the bill, proceeds from the sale of duck stamps could not 
be used for that purpose. CBO expects that any such funds that 
would have been spent to acquire lands to establish new refuges 
under current law also would be spent by USFWS to acquire lands 
within existing refuges under the bill; therefore, we estimate 
that enacting H.R. 638 would not affect direct spending.
    H.R. 638 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required 
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget 
authority, spending authority, credit authority, or an increase 
or decrease in revenues or tax expenditures. Based on 
information provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, CBO 
estimates that implementing the bill would have no impact on 
the federal budget.
    3. 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 amend the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Administration Act of 1966 to require that any new 
national wildlife refuge may not be established except as 
expressly authorized by statute.

                           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. The Chairman does not believe that 
this bill directs any executive branch official to conduct any 
specific rule-making proceedings.
    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.

                Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law

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

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE SYSTEM ADMINISTRATION ACT OF 1966

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


  Sec. 4. (a)(1) For the purpose of consolidating the 
authorities relating to the various categories of areas that 
are administered by the Secretary for the conservation of fish 
and wildlife, including species that are threatened with 
extinction, all lands, waters, and interests therein 
administered by the Secretary as wildlife refuges, areas for 
the protection and conservation of fish and wildlife that are 
threatened with extinction, wildlife ranges, game ranges, 
wildlife management areas, or waterfowl production areas are 
hereby designated as the ``National Wildlife Refuge System'' 
(referred to herein as the ``System''), which shall be subject 
to the provisions of this section, and shall be administered by 
the Secretary through the United States Fish and Wildlife 
Service. With respect to refuge lands in the State of Alaska, 
those programs relating to the management of resources for 
which any other agency of the Federal Government exercises 
administrative responsibility through cooperative agreement 
shall remain in effect, subject to the direct supervision of 
the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, as long as such 
agency agrees to exercise such responsibility.
  (2) The mission of the System is to administer a national 
network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, 
and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and 
plant resources and their habitats within the United States for 
the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
  (3) With respect to the System, it is the policy of the 
United States that--
          (A) each refuge shall be managed to fulfill the 
        mission of the System, as well as the specific purposes 
        for which that refuge was established;
          (B) compatible wildlife-dependent recreation is a 
        legitimate and appropriate general public use of the 
        System, directly related to the mission of the System 
        and the purposes of many refuges, and which generally 
        fosters refuge management and through which the 
        American public can develop an appreciation for fish 
        and wildlife;
          (C) compatible wildlife-dependent recreational uses 
        are the priority general public uses of the System and 
        shall receive priority consideration in refuge planning 
        and management; and
          (D) when the Secretary determines that a proposed 
        wildlife-dependent recreational use is a compatible use 
        within a refuge, that activity should be facilitated, 
        subject to such restrictions or regulations as may be 
        necessary, reasonable, and appropriate.
  (4) In administering the System, the Secretary shall--
          (A) provide for the conservation of fish, wildlife, 
        and plants, and their habitats within the System;
          (B) ensure that the biological integrity, diversity, 
        and environmental health of the System are maintained 
        for the benefit of present and future generations of 
        Americans;
          (C) plan and direct the continued growth of the 
        System in a manner that is best designed to accomplish 
        the mission of the System, to contribute to the 
        conservation of the ecosystems of the United States, to 
        complement efforts of States and other Federal agencies 
        to conserve fish and wildlife and their habitats, and 
        to increase support for the System and participation 
        from conservation partners and the public;
          (D) ensure that the mission of the System described 
        in paragraph (2) and the purposes of each refuge are 
        carried out, except that if a conflict exists between 
        the purposes of a refuge and the mission of the System, 
        the conflict shall be resolved in a manner that first 
        protects the purposes of the refuge, and, to the extent 
        practicable, that also achieves the mission of the 
        System;
          (E) ensure effective coordination, interaction, and 
        cooperation with owners of land adjoining refuges and 
        the fish and wildlife agency of the States in which the 
        units of the System are located;
          (F) assist in the maintenance of adequate water 
        quantity and water quality to fulfill the mission of 
        the System and the purposes of each refuge;
          (G) acquire, under State law, water rights that are 
        needed for refuge purposes;
          (H) recognize compatible wildlife-dependent 
        recreational uses as the priority general public uses 
        of the System through which the American public can 
        develop an appreciation for fish and wildlife;
          (I) ensure that opportunities are provided within the 

        System for compatible wildlife-dependent recreational 
        uses;
          (J) ensure that priority general public uses of the 
        System receive enhanced consideration over other 
        general public uses in planning and management within 
        the System;
          (K) provide increased opportunities for families to 
        experience compatible wildlife-dependent recreation, 
        particularly opportunities for parents and their 
        children to safely engage in traditional outdoor 
        activities, such as fishing and hunting;
          (L) continue, consistent with existing laws and 
        interagency agreements, authorized or permitted uses of 
        units of the System by other Federal agencies, 
        including those necessary to facilitate military 
        preparedness;
          (M) ensure timely and effective cooperation and 
        collaboration with Federal agencies and State fish and 
        wildlife agencies during the course of acquiring and 
        managing refuges; and
          (N) monitor the status and trends of fish, wildlife, 
        and plants in each refuge.
  (5) No acquired lands which are or become a part of the 
System may be transferred or otherwise disposed of under any 
provision of law (except by exchange pursuant to subsection 
(b)(3) of this section) unless--
          (A) the Secretary determines with the approval of the 
        Migratory Bird Conservation Commission that such lands 
        are no longer needed for the purposes for which the 
        System was established; and
          (B) such lands are transferred or otherwise disposed 
        of for an amount not less than--
                  (i) the acquisition costs of such lands, in 
                the case of lands of the system which were 
                purchased by the United States with funds from 
                the migratory bird conservation fund, or fair 
                market value, whichever is greater; or
                  (ii) the fair market value of such lands (as 
                determined by the Secretary as of the date of 
                the transfer or disposal), in the case of lands 
                of the System which were donated to the System.
The Secretary shall pay into the migratory bird conservation 
fund the aggregate amount of the proceeds of any transfer or 
disposal referred to in the preceding sentence.
  (6) Each area which is included within the System on January 
1, 1975, or thereafter, and which was or is--
          (A) designated as an area within such System by law, 
        Executive order, or secretarial order; or
          (B) so included by public land withdrawal, donation, 
        purchase, exchange, or pursuant to a cooperative 
        agreement with any State or local government, any 
        Federal department or agency, or any other governmental 
        entity,
shall continue to be a part of the System until otherwise 
specified by Act of Congress, except that nothing in this 
paragraph shall be construed as precluding--
                  (i) the transfer or disposal of acquired 
                lands within any such area pursuant to 
                paragraph (5) of this subsection;
                  (ii) the exchange of lands within any such 
                area pursuant to subsection (b)(3) of this 
                section; or
                  (iii) the disposal of any lands within any 
                such area pursuant to the terms of any 
                cooperative agreement referred to in 
                subparagraph (B) of this paragraph.
  (6) The Secretary may not establish any national wildlife 
refuge except as expressly authorized by a law enacted after 
January 3, 2013.
  (b) In administering the System, the Secretary is authorized 
to take the following actions:
          (1) Enter into contracts with any person or public or 
        private agency through negotiation for the provision of 
        public accommodations when, and in such locations, and 
        to the extent that the Secretary determines will not be 
        inconsistent with the primary purpose for which the 
        affected area was established.
          (2) Accept donations of funds and to use such funds 
        to acquire or manage lands or interests therein.
          (3) Acquire lands or interests therein by exchange 
        (A) for acquired lands or public lands, or for 
        interests in acquired or public lands, under his 
        jurisdiction which he finds to be suitable for 
        disposition, or (B) for the right to remove, in 
        accordance with such terms and conditions as he may 
        prescribe, products from the acquired or public lands 
        within the System. The values of the properties so 
        exchanged either shall be approximately equal, or if 
        they are not approximately equal the values shall be 
        equalized by the payment of cash to the grantor or to 
        the Secretary as the circumstances require.
          (4) Subject to standards established by and the 
        overall management oversight of the Director, and 
        consistent with standards established by this Act, to 
        enter into cooperative agreements with State fish and 
        wildlife agencies for the management of programs on a 
        refuge.
          (5) Issue regulations to carry out this Act.
  (c) No person shall disturb, injure, cut, burn, remove, 
destroy, or possess any real or personal property of the United 
States, including natural growth, in any area of the System; or 
take or possess any fish, bird, mammal, or other wild 
vertebrate or invertebrate animals or part or nest or egg 
thereof within any such area; or enter, use, or otherwise 
occupy any such area for any purpose; unless such activities 
are performed by persons authorized to manage such area, or 
unless such activities are permitted either under subsection 
(d) of this section or by express provision of the law, 
proclamation, Executive order, or public land order 
establishing the area, or amendment thereof: Provided, That the 
United States mining and mineral leasing laws shall continue to 
apply to any lands within the System to the same extent they 
apply prior to the effective date of this Act unless 
subsequently withdrawn under other authority of law. With the 
exception of endangered species and threatened species listed 
by the Secretary pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973 in States wherein a cooperative agreement 
does not exist pursuant to section 6(c) of that Act, nothing in 
this Act shall be construed to authorize the Secretary to 
control or regulate hunting or fishing of resident fish and 
wildlife on lands not within the system. The regulations 
permitting hunting and fishing of resident fish and wildlife 
within the System shall be, to the extent practicable, 
consistent with State fish and wildlife laws and regulations.
  (d)(1) The Secretary is authorized, under such regulations as 
he may prescribe, to--
          (A) permit the use of any area within the System for 
        any purpose, including but not limited to hunting, 
        fishing, public recreation and accommodations, and 
        access whenever he determines that such uses are 
        compatible with the major purposes for which such areas 
        were established: Provided, That not to exceed 40 per 
        centum at any one time of any area that has been, or 
        hereafter may be acquired, reserved, or set apart as an 
        inviolate sanctuary for migratory birds, under any law, 
        proclamation, Executive order, or public land order may 
        be administered by the Secretary as an area within 
        which the taking of migratory game birds may be 
        permitted under such regulations as he may prescribe 
        unless the Secretary finds that the taking of any 
        species of migratory game birds in more than 40 percent 
        of such area would be beneficial to the species; and
          (B) permit the use of, or grant easements in, over, 
        across, upon, through, or under any areas within the 
        System for purposes such as but not necessarily limited 
        to, powerlines, telephone lines, canals, ditches, 
        pipelines, and roads, including the construction, 
        operation, and maintenance thereof, whenever he 
        determines that such uses are compatible with the 
        purposes for which these areas are established.
  (2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary 
may not grant to any Federal, State, or local agency or to any 
private individual or organization any right-of-way, easement, 
or reservation in, over, across, through, or under any area 
within the system in connection with any use permitted by him 
under paragraph (1)(B) of this subsection unless the grantee 
pays to the Secretary, at the option of the Secretary, either 
(A) in lump sum the fair market value (determined by the 
Secretary as of the date of conveyance to the grantee) of the 
right-of-way, easement, or reservation; or (B) annually in 
advance the fair market rental value (determined by the 
Secretary) of the right-of-way, easement, or reservation. If 
any Federal, State, or local agency is exempted from such 
payment by any other provision of Federal law, such agency 
shall otherwise compensate the Secretary by any other means 
agreeable to the Secretary, including, but not limited to, 
making other land available or the loan of equipment or 
personnel; except that (A) any such compensation shall relate 
to, and be consistent with, the objectives of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System, and (B) the Secretary may waive such 
requirement for compensation if he finds such requirement 
impracticable or unnecessary. All sums received by the 
Secretary pursuant to this paragraph shall, after payment of 
any necessary expenses incurred by him in administering this 
paragraph, be deposited into the Migratory Bird Conservation 
Fund and shall be available to carry out the provisions for 
land acquisition of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act (16 
U.S.C. 715 et seq.) and the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act 
(16 U.S.C. 718 et seq.).
  (3)(A)(i) Except as provided in clause (iv), the Secretary 
shall not initiate or permit a new use of a refuge or expand, 
renew, or extend an existing use of a refuge, unless the 
Secretary has determined that the use is a compatible use and 
that the use is not inconsistent with public safety. The 
Secretary may make the determinations referred to in this 
paragraph for a refuge concurrently with development of a 
conservation plan under subsection (e).
  (ii) On lands added to the System after March 25, 1996, the 
Secretary shall identify, prior to acquisition, withdrawal, 
transfer, reclassification, or donation of any such lands, 
existing compatible wildlife-dependent recreational uses that 
the Secretary determines shall be permitted to continue on an 
interim basis pending completion of the comprehensive 
conservation plan for the refuge.
  (iii) Wildlife-dependent recreational uses may be authorized 
on a refuge when they are compatible and not inconsistent with 
public safety. Except for consideration of consistency with 
State laws and regulations as provided for in subsection (m), 
no other determinations or findings are required to be made by 
the refuge official under this Act or the Refuge Recreation Act 
for wildlife-dependent recreation to occur.
  (iv) Compatibility determinations in existence on the date of 
enactment of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement 
Act of 1997 shall remain in effect until and unless modified.
  (B) Not later than 24 months after the date of the enactment 
of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, 
the Secretary shall issue final regulations establishing the 
process for determining under subparagraph (A) whether a use of 
a refuge is a compatible use. These regulations shall--
          (i) designate the refuge official responsible for 
        making initial compatibility determinations;
          (ii) require an estimate of the timeframe, location, 
        manner, and purpose of each use;
          (iii) identify the effects of each use on refuge 
        resources and purposes of each refuge;
          (iv) require that compatibility determinations be 
        made in writing;
          (v) provide for the expedited consideration of uses 
        that will likely have no detrimental effect on the 
        fulfillment of the purposes of a refuge or the mission 
        of the System;
          (vi) provide for the elimination or modification of 
        any use as expeditiously as practicable after a 
        determination is made that the use is not a compatible 
        use;
          (vii) require, after an opportunity for public 
        comment, reevaluation of each existing use, other than 
        those uses 
        specified in clause (viii), if conditions under which 
        the use is permitted change significantly or if there 
        is significant new information regarding the effects of 
        the use, but not less frequently than once every 10 
        years, to ensure that the use remains a compatible use, 
        except that, in the case of any use authorized for a 
        period longer than 10 years (such as an electric 
        utility right-of-way), the reevaluation required by 
        this clause shall examine compliance with the terms and 
        conditions of the authorization, not examine the 
        authorization itself;
          (viii) require, after an opportunity for public 
        comment, reevaluation of each compatible wildlife-
        dependent recreational use when conditions under which 
        the use is permitted change significantly or if there 
        is significant new information regarding the effects of 
        the use, but not less frequently than in conjunction 
        with each preparation or revision of a conservation 
        plan under subsection (e) or at least every 15 years, 
        whichever is earlier; and
          (ix) provide an opportunity for public review and 
        comment on each evaluation of a use, unless an 
        opportunity for public review and comment on the 
        evaluation of the use has already been provided during 
        the development or revision of a conservation plan for 
        the refuge under subsection (e) or has otherwise been 
        provided during routine, periodic determinations of 
        compatibility for wildlife-dependent recreational uses.
  (4) The provisions of this Act relating to determinations of 
the compatibility of a use shall not apply to--
          (A) overflights above a refuge; and
          (B) activities authorized, funded, or conducted by a 
        Federal agency (other than the United States Fish and 
        Wildlife Service) which has primary jurisdiction over a 
        refuge or a portion of a refuge, if the management of 
        those activities is in accordance with a memorandum of 
        understanding between the Secretary or the Director and 
        the head of the Federal agency with primary 
        jurisdiction over the refuge governing the use of the 
        refuge.
  (e)(1)(A) Except with respect to refuge lands in Alaska 
(which shall be governed by the refuge planning provisions of 
the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 
3101 et seq.)), the Secretary shall--
          (i) propose a comprehensive conservation plan for 
        each refuge or related complex of refuges (referred to 
        in this 
        subsection as a ``planning unit'') in the System;
          (ii) publish a notice of opportunity for public 
        comment in the Federal Register on each proposed 
        conservation plan;
          (iii) issue a final conservation plan for each 
        planning unit consistent with the provisions of this 
        Act and, to the extent practicable, consistent with 
        fish and wildlife conservation plans of the State in 
        which the refuge is located; and
          (iv) not less frequently than 15 years after the date 
        of issuance of a conservation plan under clause (iii) 
        and every 15 years thereafter, revise the conservation 
        plan as may be necessary.
  (B) The Secretary shall prepare a comprehensive conservation 
plan under this subsection for each refuge within 15 years 
after the date of enactment of the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Improvement Act of 1997.
  (C) The Secretary shall manage each refuge or planning unit 
under plans in effect on the date of enactment of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, to the extent 
such plans are consistent with this Act, until such plans are 
revised or superseded by new comprehensive conservation plans 
issued under this subsection.
  (D) Uses or activities consistent with this Act may occur on 
any refuge or planning unit before existing plans are revised 
or new comprehensive conservation plans are issued under this 
subsection.
  (E) Upon completion of a comprehensive conservation plan 
under this subsection for a refuge or planning unit, the 
Secretary shall manage the refuge or planning unit in a manner 
consistent with the plan and shall revise the plan at any time 
if the Secretary determines that conditions that affect the 
refuge or planning unit have changed significantly.
  (2) In developing each comprehensive conservation plan under 
this subsection for a planning unit, the Secretary, acting 
through the Director, shall identify and describe--
          (A) the purposes of each refuge comprising the 
        planning unit;
          (B) the distribution, migration patterns, and 
        abundance of fish, wildlife, and plant populations and 
        related habitats within the planning unit;
          (C) the archaeological and cultural values of the 
        planning unit;
          (D) such areas within the planning unit that are 
        suitable for use as administrative sites or visitor 
        facilities;
          (E) significant problems that may adversely affect 
        the populations and habitats of fish, wildlife, and 
        plants within the planning unit and the actions 
        necessary to correct or 
        mitigate such problems; and
          (F) opportunities for compatible wildlife-dependent 
        recreational uses.
  (3) In preparing each comprehensive conservation plan under 
this subsection, and any revision to such a plan, the 
Secretary, acting through the Director, shall, to the maximum 
extent 
practicable and consistent with this Act--
          (A) consult with adjoining Federal, State, local, and 
        private landowners and affected State conservation 
        agencies; and
          (B) coordinate the development of the conservation 
        plan or revision with relevant State conservation plans 
        for fish and wildlife and their habitats.
  (4)(A) In accordance with subparagraph (B), the Secretary 
shall develop and implement a process to ensure an opportunity 
for active public involvement in the preparation and revision 
of comprehensive conservation plans under this subsection. At a 
minimum, the Secretary shall require that publication of any 
final plan shall include a summary of the comments made by 
States, owners of adjacent or potentially affected land, local 
governments, and any other affected persons, and a statement of 
the disposition of concerns expressed in those comments.
  (B) Prior to the adoption of each comprehensive conservation 
plan under this subsection, the Secretary shall issue public 
notice of the draft proposed plan, make copies of the plan 
available at the affected field and regional offices of the 
United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and provide 
opportunity for public comment.
  (f) Penalties.--
          (1) Knowing violations.--Any person who knowingly 
        violates or fails to comply with any of the provisions 
        of this Act or any regulations issued thereunder shall 
        be fined under title 18, United States Code, or 
        imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both.
          (2) Other violations.--Any person who otherwise 
        violates or fails to comply with any of the provisions 
        of this Act (including a regulation issued under this 
        Act) shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, 
        or imprisoned not more than 180 days, or both.
  (g) Any person authorized by the Secretary to enforce the 
provisions of this Act or any regulations issued thereunder, 
may, without a warrant, arrest any person violating this Act or 
regulations in his presence or view, and may execute any 
warrant or other process issued by an officer or court of 
competent jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of this Act or 
regulations, and may with a search warrant search for and seize 
any property, fish, bird, mammal, or other wild vertebrate or 
invertebrate animals or part or nest or egg thereof, taken or 
possessed in violation of this Act or the regulations issued 
thereunder. Any property, fish, bird, mammal, or other wild 
vertebrate or invertebrate animals or part or egg thereof 
seized with or without a search warrant shall be held by such 
person or by a United States marshal, and upon conviction, 
shall be forfeited to the United States and disposed of by the 
Secretary, in accordance with law. The Director of the United 
States Fish and Wildlife Service is authorized to utilize by 
agreement, with or without reimbursement, the personnel and 
services of any other Federal or State agency for purposes of 
enhancing the enforcement of this Act.
  (h) Regulations applicable to areas of the System that are in 
effect on the date of enactment of this Act shall continue in 
effect until modified or rescinded.
  (i) Nothing in this section shall be construed to amend, 
repeal, or otherwise modify the provision of the Act of 
September 28, 1962 (76 Stat. 653; 16 U.S.C. 460K--460K-4) which 
authorizes the Secretary to administer the areas within the 
System for public recreation. The provisions of this section 
relating to recreation shall be administered in accordance with 
the provisions of said Act.
  (j) Nothing in this Act shall constitute an express or 
implied claim or denial on the part of the Federal Government 
as to exemption from State water laws.
  (k) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the 
Secretary may temporarily suspend, allow, or initiate any 
activity in a refuge in the System if the Secretary determines 
it is necessary to protect the health and safety of the public 
or any fish or wildlife population.
  (l) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the 
Secretary to control or regulate hunting or fishing of fish and 
resident wildlife on lands or waters that are not within the 
System.
  (m) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as affecting the 
authority, jurisdiction, or responsibility of the several 
States to manage, control, or regulate fish and resident 
wildlife under State law or regulations in any area within the 
System. Regulations permitting hunting or fishing of fish and 
resident wildlife within the System shall be, to the extent 
practicable, consistent with State fish and wildlife laws, 
regulations, and management plans.
  (n)(1) Nothing in this Act shall--
          (A) create a reserved water right, express or 
        implied, in the United States for any purpose;
          (B) affect any water right in existence on the date 
        of enactment of the National Wildlife Refuge System 
        Improvement Act of 1997; or
          (C) affect any Federal or State law in existence on 
        the date of the enactment of the National Wildlife 
        Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 regarding water 
        quality or water quantity.
  (2) Nothing in this Act shall diminish or affect the ability 
to join the United States in the adjudication of rights to the 
use of water pursuant to the McCarran Act (43 U.S.C. 666).
  (o) Coordination with State fish and wildlife agency 
personnel or with personnel of other affected State agencies 
pursuant to this Act shall not be subject to the Federal 
Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    H.R. 638 passed out of committee without a single 
Democratic Member voting for its passage. This bill would harm 
the environment and limit opportunities for hunting, fishing, 
and other outdoor recreation. Further, H.R. 638 would ensure 
that the creation of any new National Wildlife Refuge would be 
based on politics, not science. For these reasons, we oppose 
this legislation.
    The National Wildlife Refuge System is the world's most 
comprehensive network of land and water devoted solely to 
wildlife conservation and management. The System, operated by 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), contains 561 Refuges 
and 38 Wetland Management Districts covering more than 150 
million acres of land and water throughout the United States 
and its territories and an additional 214 million acres 
encompassed by the four Pacific National Marine Monuments. The 
Refuge System provides hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching 
opportunities for about 44 million visitors each year. The most 
recent data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated 
that the Refuge System generates $1.7 billion in annual sales 
for local communities, creating nearly 27,000 U.S. jobs and 
$543 million in employment income, and contributing more than 
$185 million in tax revenue. Every dollar invested in the 
Refuge System by the federal government returns an average of 
$4 to local communities.
    Republican President Theodore Roosevelt created the first 
National Wildlife Refuge in 1903. In 1966, Congress passed the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, which 
formally established a unified system of National Wildlife 
Refuges. Subsequently, Congress passed the National Wildlife 
Refuge System Administration Improvement Act of 1997 to provide 
a unifying mission for the Refuge System to manage it first and 
foremost as ``a national network of lands and waters for the 
conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of 
the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats 
within the United States for the benefit of present and future 
generations of Americans.'' The Improvement Act designated six 
priority wildlife-dependent recreational uses: hunting, 
fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental 
education, and interpretation. The House passed the Improvement 
Act by a vote of 407 to 1.
    In essence, the National Wildlife Refuge System is a bank 
of natural capital for the American people. The more principal 
we have in this bank, the more interest we all accrue. That 
means more outdoor recreation opportunities, more resilience to 
climate change and natural disasters, and more potential for 
discovery of natural products and processes that can aid 
agriculture, improve industry, and cure disease. Unfortunately, 
H.R. 638 would make it more difficult for us to add natural 
capital to this bank. By amending the Refuge System 
Administration Act to prohibit the Secretary of the Interior 
from establishing any National Wildlife Refuge except those 
selected by Congress, this legislation would eliminate the 
authority to add to the Refuge System that the Executive Branch 
has had since the Presidency of Teddy Roosevelt. Removing the 
ability of FWS to prioritize conservation based on science and 
a well-established public input process would severely retard 
our progress toward conserving our limited store of 
biodiversity and wildlife habitat for the benefit of future 
generations of Americans. Not surprisingly, the Obama 
Administration opposed the bill during subcommittee 
consideration on April 25, 2013.
    Allowing FWS to establish new Refuges without waiting for 
additional, project-specific legislative authority is critical 
to allow responsive and adaptive action to protect ecologically 
significant systems as new threats from encroaching development 
or changing environmental conditions arise. Only about 60 units 
have been created, in part or whole, by special legislation. 
Contrary to the claims of the majority that National Wildlife 
Refuges are created on a whim with little opportunity for 
public input, establishing a Refuge administratively requires 
exhaustive scientific and economic analysis, a formal public 
comment period, and buy-in from surrounding communities and 
affected landowners. In addition, FWS purchases land only from 
willing sellers. H.R. 638 is a step backwards for natural 
resources conservation and local economies, and we do not 
support its passage.
                                   Peter A. DeFazio.
                                   Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan.