The White House Property Review Board, charged with overseeing the federal land sales program, assured Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) yesterday that the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge and Research Center is not going to be sold because it is a wildlife refuge.
But while one White House staffer was passing that message, Joshua A. Muss, the board's executive director, said that he was not convinced that the property in northern Prince George's County is a refuge, a designation that would make it exempt from review for possible future sale.
In a letter delivered to Hoyer yesterday, Muss wrote that "if the Patuxent . . . is in fact a wildlife refuge, then this property, in my opinion, should not be surveyed by the GSA."
The General Services Administration, on a directive by the Property Review Board, has said it plans to survey the 4,700-acre property later this year to determine if it was fully used in the public interest.
Penny Eastman, a board spokeswoman, said Muss will meet with Department of the Interior officials next week to discuss the status of the facility.
Hoyer's spokeswoman, Sherry Conway, said Bruce I. Selfon, board deputy director, had called to report that the panel had decided it was a refuge and exempt from sale.
Conway said Jones would not tell Hoyer that the survey plans were canceled, indicating that it was a "policy decision" best left to the board.