Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Base Closure and Realignment Act

Base Closure and Realignment Act -- Title II of P.L. 100-526 (10 U.S.C. 2687 note), adopted October 24, 1988 and extensively amended in 1990, 1994 and 1996, established a procedure for closing or reducing the scope of activities at military bases.

When a commission appointed by the Secretary of Defense makes recommendations to the Secretary and the Congress for bases to be closed or reduced, and the Secretary accepts the recommendations without change, such action must be taken unless Congress passes a Joint Resolution to disapprove the recommendations, in their entirety, within 45 days of their submission. The actions and selection of the Commission, and the decisions to close or reduce bases, are not subject to other requirements (such as the National Environmental Policy Act), although the actions of the Secretary in carrying out the closures and realignments are subject to limited NEPA compliance. Court challenges to the adequacy of such NEPA compliance are also limited.

The Act establishes a preference for the sale of land made surplus as a result of base closures or reductions, with the funds to be utilized for the costs of the closures, or for transfer of the land to a local redevelopment authority. It does not require such sales, however, nor does it repeal the provisions of law permitting the no- or reduced-cost transfer of such land to the Service or the States for conservation purposes. (For information on those authorities, see the entry entitled "Refuge Authorizations." As noted in that entry, Congress has passed legislation transferring to the Service land made surplus under this Act at Ft. Meade, for addition to Patuxent WRC, Maryland, and at Pease AFB, New Hampshire.)

Return to Resource Laws