(a) Generally, each party to an exchange will bear their own costs of the exchange. However, if the authorized officer finds it is in the public interest as specified in paragraph (b) of this section, an agreement to initiate an exchange may provide that:
(1) One or more of the parties may assume, without compensation, all or part of the costs or other responsibilities or requirements that the authorized officer determines would ordinarily be borne by the other parties; or
(2) Subject to the limitation in paragraph (c) of this section, the parties may agree to make adjustments to the relative values involved in an exchange transaction, in order to compensate parties for assuming costs or other responsibilities or requirements that the authorized officer determines would ordinarily be borne by the other parties. These costs or services may include but are not limited to: land surveys; appraisals; mineral examinations; timber cruises; title searches; title curative actions; cultural resource surveys and mitigation; hazardous substance surveys and controls; removal of encumbrances; arbitration, including all fees; bargaining; cure of deficiencies preventing highest and best use of the land; conduct of public hearings; assemblage of non-Federal parcels from multiple ownerships; and the expenses of complying with laws, regulations, and policies applicable to exchange transactions, or which are necessary to bring the Federal and non-Federal lands involved in the exchange to their highest and best use for appraisal and exchange purposes.
(b) As a condition of an agreement to initiate, the authorized officer may agree to assume without compensation costs ordinarily borne by the non-Federal party or to compensate the non-Federal party for assuming Federal costs only on an exceptional basis when it is clearly in the public interest and when the authorized officer determines and documents that each of the following circumstances exist:
(1) The amount of such cost assumed or compensation is reasonable and accurately reflects the value of the cost or service provided, or any responsibility and requirement assumed;
(2) The proposed exchange is a high priority of the agency;
(3) The land exchange must be expedited to protect important Federal resource values, such as congressionally designated areas or endangered species habitat;
(4) Cash equalization funds are available for compensation of the non-Federal party; and
(5) There are no other practicable means available to the authorized officer for meeting Federal exchange processing costs, responsibilities, or requirements.
(c) The total amount of an adjustment agreed to as compensation for costs pursuant to this section shall not exceed the limitations set forth in § 254.12(b) of this subpart.