Summary: S.1415 — 100th Congress (1987-1988)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate amended, 2nd committee reporting (09/28/1988)

(Reported to Senate from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources with amendment, S. Rept. 100-555)

Colorado Ute Indian Water Rights Settlement Act of 1988 - Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to supply water to the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe from the Animas-La Plata and Dolores Projects in accordance with the Colorado Ute Indian Water Rights Final Settlement Agreement. States that this Act shall not be construed to permit or prohibit the sale, lease, disposal, or other use of such water by the Tribes. Subjects water supplied to the Tribes from such projects to Federal reclamation laws only to the extent needed to effectuate such agreement.

Provides that the prohibition on the conveyance or lease of tribal lands or interests in land contained in the Indian Intercourse Act shall not be applicable to water rights confirmed in such Agreement and final consent decree. States that the preceding waiver is not intended to affect the various State, Federal, or international laws affecting the Colorado River or its tributaries. Prohibits the transfer of Project waters into the Lower Basin of such river unless water held by non-Federal, non-Indian holders of State water rights could be so transferred. Declares rights to such water used off the reservation to be Colorado State water rights subject to State, Federal, or international laws applicable to such river and its tributaries. Disapproves the use of the terms "project reserved right" and "nonproject reserved right" to characterize water rights used off the reservation.

Requires the Secretary to defer the repayment of the construction costs allocable to each Tribe's municipal and industrial water allocation from the Animas-La Plata and Dolores Projects until the water is used by the Tribe or pursuant to a water use contract with the Tribe. Requires a Tribe to begin bearing the pro rata costs for an increment of water as it is first used.

Requires the Secretary to defer the repayment of construction costs within the capability of the land to repay which are allocable to each Tribe's agricultural irrigation water allocation from the Animas-La Plata and Dolores Projects. Requires a Tribe to begin bearing the pro rata costs for each increment of water as it is first used.

Requires the Secretary to bear increased operation, maintenance, and replacement costs to Animas-La Plata Project water users caused by a decision of either tribe not to take delivery of its water allocations from the Ridges Basin Pumping Plant through the Long Hollow Tunnel and the Dry Side Canal until such water is first used by a Tribe or pursuant to a water use contract with the Tribe. Requires a Tribe to begin bearing the pro rata costs of each increment of water as it is first used.

Authorizes the Secretary to defer all or part of the tribal cost obligations further if a Tribe demonstrates its inability to satisfy them from its use or sale of such water rights.

Provides that use of water will be deemed to occur in any water year when a Tribe actually uses water or during the term of any water use contract, excluding any contract providing only a standby charge.

Authorizes appropriations for the annual operation, maintenance, and replacement costs to be paid by the Secretary.

Provides that the portion of the costs of the Animas-La Plata Project exceeding the irrigators' ability to repay shall be repaid from the Upper Colorado River Basin Fund.

Authorizes appropriations for three annual installments for the Tribal Development Fund which the Secretary will establish for each Tribe. Sets forth a schedule for payments to the Southern Ute Tribal Development Fund and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Development Fund. Requires the payment of interest if any portion is contributed after the period or in a smaller amount than what is specified.

Requires the Secretary, in the absence of an approved tribal investment plan, to invest the money in each Tribal Development Fund, to maintain separate accounts for each Fund and to disburse the principal and income in accordance with an economic development plan for each Tribe.

Authorizes each Tribe to submit a tribal investment plan for its Tribal Development Fund which the Secretary must approve in 60 days if he finds it reasonable. Requires the Secretary, if he approves the plan, to disburse the Fund to the Tribe for investment in accordance with the plan. Authorizes the Secretary to take the steps he deems necessary to monitor compliance with the plan. Removes the United States from liability for investment and responsibility for review of the plan.

Requires each Tribe to submit to the Secretary an economic development plan for all or part of its Tribal Development Fund. Requires the Secretary to approve the plan in 60 days if he finds it reasonable. Authorizes each Tribe to alter the plan with the Secretary's approval. Removes the Secretary from liability for the approval of such plan or from the use of the principal and income of the Fund following approval of such plan. Prohibits distribution of any part of Funds or the revenue from any water use contract to any member of either Tribe on a per capita basis.

Authorizes the Tribes to waive and release claims related to water rights under the Colorado Ute Indian Water Rights Final Settlement Agreement. Requires performance by the Secretary of his duties and tribal payments under this Act only when the Tribes execute a waiver and release as provided in the Agreement.

Requires the Secretary to comply with the administrative procedures governing water rights confirmed in such Agreement in administering water rights in the Ute Mountain and Southern Ute Indian Reservations.

Provides that the Bureau of Reclamation's design and construction functions for the Dolores and Animas-La Plata Projects shall be subject to the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act as if such functions were performed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs unless the construction schedules of the Projects would be detrimentally affected.

Requires the Agreement to be construed in a manner consistent with this Act and modifies the Agreement accordingly. States that nothing in the Agreement or this Act shall affect any State, Federal, or international laws pertaining to interstate allocation of uses of water of the Colorado River and its tributaries.

Requires any entitlement to reserved water of any member of either Tribe to be satisfied from the water secured to that member's Tribe.

Provides that provisions for the application of Federal reclamation laws, tribal water use contracts, and repayment of project costs will take effect when the final consent decree under the Agreement is entered by the district Courts.

Requires that moneys appropriate for Tribal Development Funds be placed in the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Tribal Development Funds but not be available for disbursement until the final consent decree is entered. Provides that if the final consent decree is not entered by December 31, 1991, the moneys will be returned to the contributors and the Funds will be terminated.

Prohibits the United States from exercising its right to void the Agreement.