STATEMENT OF DONALD J. HELLMANN, DEPUTY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, LEGISLATIVE AND CONGRESSIONAL AFFAIRS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, HISTORIC PRESERVATION, AND RECREATION OF THE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, UNITED STATES SENATE, ON S. 3000, A BILL TO AUTHORIZE THE EXCHANGE OF LAND BETWEEN THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR AND THE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY AT THE GEORGE WASHINGTON MEMORIAL PARKWAY IN MCLEAN, VIRGINIA.
September 14, 2000
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the Department of the Interiorís views on S. 3000, a bill to authorize the exchange of land between the Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the George Washington Memorial Parkway in McLean, Virginia and for other purposes.
The Department supports S. 3000 with the technical amendments outlined at the end of this testimony. This legislation is similar to a bill the Administration transmitted to Congress on June 19, 2000.
S. 3000 would allow the Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency to exchange 1.74 acres of land within the George Washington Memorial Parkway for approximately 2.92 acres of land adjacent to the boundary of the George Washington Memorial Parkway and currently under the jurisdiction of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The site also provides access to the Federal Highway Administrationís Turner-Fairbank Research facility.
The George Bush Center for Intelligence requires additional land outside its gates, located immediately off the parkway at the CIA exit, to provide sufficient security systems to prevent unauthorized entry onto its grounds and to exercise law enforcement powers in the area in front of the entrance. The CIA interchange was constructed in 1959 to serve the CIA complex at Langley, Virginia. The current CIA gate is located at the park boundary and just off the interchange exit ramps. Vehicles exiting the parkway onto the CIA ramp have the potential to gain sufficient speed to enter the gates before the guards at the gates can implement any protective measures. An exchange of lands between the CIA and the National Park Service, George Washington Memorial Parkway (NPS) will provide the necessary acreage to install speed and traffic control devices and signage to control approaching traffic at the gate. Section 15 of the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 (50 U.S.C. Sec. 4039(o)) requires that the agency either own, lease, or otherwise exercise custody and control over a parcel of land in order to exercise statutory police powers.
An agreement to exchange lands was signed on July 2, 1998. This agreement provides the CIA with temporary custody and control of the assigned NPS property. Under this agreement NPS agreed to permit the CIA to install or place traffic or speed control devices deemed necessary to prevent unauthorized entry and to acknowledge CIA law enforcement jurisdiction over the parcel. The agreement requires that the CIA work with NPS to obtain requisite Congressional approval for transfer of the property, and if Congress refuses to approve transfer, CIA will return the property to NPS in restored condition. This agreement will expire on September 20, 2001.
The United States Park Police have no opposition to the transfer or to CIA law enforcement outside CIA gates. The interchange road leading into the CIA is in good condition. The proposed exchange property owned by the CIA is wooded and has no developments on it. The exchange will benefit the National Park Service by bringing in these resources adjacent to the park's boundary. The exchange will not result in any additional staff or development costs to NPS.
We understand that the committee staff has drafted technical amendments to correct the bill's technical flaws. We support these technical amendments.
That concludes my prepared testimony, and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.