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Statement on Signing a Bill Providing for the Conveyance of Certain Land Rights to the Arkansas Forestry Commission

October 14, 1982

I have signed H.R. 3881, which provides for the conveyance to the State of Arkansas Forestry Commission of certain rights in land now held by the Secretary of Agriculture. In 1980, a sale of nearly 20,000 acres of land to the Forestry Commission for use as a State forest was completed. The sale was conditioned on retention of mineral rights in the land by the United States and a stipulation that the land would revert to the United States if it were not used for public purposes.

This bill would direct the Secretary of Agriculture to release the reverter clause on 80 acres of the land conveyed to the Arkansas Forestry Commission in 1980, so that the Commission may sell this tract to a private party. The bill would also require proceeds from such a sale to be used for a public purpose. When the land was sold in 1980, the purchase price represented a 30 percent discount from fair market value. I am directing the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to ensure that the fair market value stipulated to be paid to the United States for the mineral interests adequately reflects the 30 percent discount that was granted in the original sale of the tract because of the retention of mineral interests and the public use requirement.

While the United States is quite pleased to enter into transactions with the States and localities for the sale of Federal lands, the principle of full and fair compensation to the taxpayers of the United States must be maintained.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 3881 is Public Law 97 - 302, approved October 13.