October 19, 1983
To the House of Representatives:
I am returning herewith, without my approval, H.R. 1062, a bill "To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to convey, without consideration, certain lands in Lane County, Oregon.''
H.R. 1062 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to convey to any person, without consideration, the real property they claim to have been deprived of in Lane County, Oregon, as a result of a particular Bureau of Land Management (BLM) resurvey. All right, title, and interest of the United States to such property could be conveyed if an application, accompanied by such proof of title, description of land, and other information as the Secretary of the Interior may require, is received by the Secretary within five years after enactment of the bill.
The title defects affecting the beneficiaries of this legislation were caused by the reliance of the developers and subsequent purchasers of this tract on an inaccurate private survey -- not by any act of the United States. To authorize the United States to convey public lands to persons who rely on erroneous private surveys is not in the public interest. Moreover, enactment of this legislation would create a clearly undesirable precedent, encouraging other persons who do not verify the validity of their title to assert claims for conveyance, at no charge, of the Federal lands on which they are encroaching. Without doubt, these claims would hinder effective public land management.
Moreover, administrative procedures exist under conditions set out in section 203 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act whereby the purposes of this legislation could be accomplished through a conveyance of the property at fair market value.
H.R. 1062 is clearly inconsistent with this policy of requiring fair market value for conveyance of Federal lands. There was no error in the survey by the United States. Instead, the problem arose because of an improper private survey. There is, therefore, no justification for legislating a conveyance of this tract without payment of fair market value or for bypassing administrative procedures that already exist for the conveyance of public lands in appropriate cases.
For these reasons, I have withheld my approval of H.R. 1062.
The White House,
October 19, 1983.
Note: On October 25 the House of Representatives and the Senate voted to override the President's veto. As enacted, H.R. 1062 is Public Law 98 - 137.