S.2142 - Pine River Project Conveyance Act105th Congress (1997-1998)
|Sponsor:||Sen. Campbell, Ben Nighthorse [R-CO] (Introduced 06/05/1998)|
|Committees:||Senate - Energy and Natural Resources | House - Resources|
|Committee Reports:||S. Rept. 105-376|
|Latest Action:||House - 10/08/1998 Referred to the House Committee on Resources. (All Actions)|
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Text: S.2142 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)
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Referred in House (10/08/1998)
[Congressional Bills 105th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] [S. 2142 Referred in House (RFH)] 2d Session S. 2142 _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES October 8, 1998 Referred to the Committee on Resources _______________________________________________________________________ AN ACT To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to convey the facilities of the Pine River Project, to allow jurisdictional transfer of lands between the Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Pine River Project Conveyance Act''. SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS. For purposes of this Act: (1) The term ``Jurisdictional Map'' means the map entitled ``Transfer of Jurisdiction--Vallecito Reservoir, United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service and United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs'' dated March, 1998. (2) The term ``Pine River Project'' or the ``Project'' means Vallecito Dam and Reservoir owned by the United States and authorized in 1937 under the provisions of the Department of the Interior Appropriation Act of June 25, 1910, 36 Stat. 835; facilities appurtenant to the Dam and Reservoir, including equipment, buildings, and other improvements; lands adjacent to the Dam and Reservoir; easements and rights-of-way necessary for access and all required connections with the Dam and Reservoir, including those for necessary roads; and associated personal property, including contract rights and any and all ownership or property interest in water or water rights. (3) The term ``Repayment Contract'' means Repayment Contract #I1r-1204, between Reclamation and the Pine River Irrigation District, dated April 15, 1940, and amended November 30, 1953, and all amendments and additions thereto, including the Act of July 27, 1954 (68 Stat. 534), covering the Pine River Project and certain lands acquired in support of the Vallecito Dam and Reservoir pursuant to which the Pine River Irrigation District has assumed operation and maintenance responsibilities for the dam, reservoir, and water-based recreation in accordance with existing law. (4) The term ``Reclamation'' means the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. (5) The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of the Interior. (6) The term ``Southern Ute Indian Tribe'' or ``Tribe'' means a federally recognized Indian tribe, located on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, La Plata County, Colorado. (7) The term ``Pine River Irrigation District'' or ``District'' means a political division of the State of Colorado duly organized, existing, and acting pursuant to the laws thereof with its principal place of business in the City of Bayfield, La Plata County, Colorado and having an undivided \5/6\ right and interest in the use of the water made available by Vallecito Reservoir for the purpose of supplying the lands of the District, pursuant to the Repayment Contract, and the decree in Case No. 1848-B, District Court, Water Division 7, State of Colorado, as well as an undivided \5/6\ right and interest in the Pine River Project. SEC. 3. TRANSFER OF THE PINE RIVER PROJECT. (a) Conveyance.--The Secretary is authorized to convey, without consideration or compensation to the District, by quitclaim deed or patent, pursuant to section 6, the United States undivided \5/6\ right and interest in the Pine River Project under the jurisdiction of Reclamation for the benefit of the Pine River Irrigation District. No partition of the undivided \5/6\ right and interest in the Pine River Project shall be permitted from the undivided \1/6\ right and interest in the Pine River Project described in subsection (b) and any quitclaim deed or patent evidencing a transfer shall expressly prohibit partitioning. Effective on the date of the conveyance, all obligations between the District and the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the one hand and Reclamation on the other hand, under the Repayment Contract or with respect to the Pine River Project are extinguished. Upon completion of the title transfer, said Repayment Contract shall become null and void. The District shall be responsible for paying 50 percent of all costs associated with the title transfer. (b) Bureau of Indian Affairs Interest.--At the option of the Tribe, the Secretary is authorized to convey to the Tribe the Bureau of Indian Affairs' undivided \1/6\ right and interest in the Pine River Project and the water supply made available by Vallecito Reservoir pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Bureau of Reclamation and the Office of Indian Affairs dated January 3, 1940, together with its Amendment dated July 9, 1964 (`MOU'), the Repayment Contract and decrees in Case Nos. 1848-B and W-1603-76D, District Court, Water Division 7, State of Colorado. In the event of such conveyance, no consideration or compensation shall be required to be paid to the United States. (c) Federal Dam Use Charge.--Nothing in this Act shall relieve the holder of the license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the Federal Power Act for Vallecito Dam in effect on the date of enactment of this Act from the obligation to make payments under section 10(e)(2) of the Federal Power Act during the remaining term of the present license. At the expiration of the present license term, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission shall adjust the charge to reflect either (1) the \1/6\ interest of the United States remaining in the Vallecito Dam after conveyance to the District; or (2) if the remaining \1/6\ interest of the United States has been conveyed to the Tribe pursuant to subsection (b), then no Federal dam charge shall be levied from the date of expiration of the present license. SEC. 4. JURISDICTIONAL TRANSFER OF LANDS. (a) Inundated Lands.--To provide for the consolidation of lands associated with the Pine River Project to be retained by the Forest Service and the consolidation of lands to be transferred to the District, the administrative jurisdiction of lands inundated by and along the shoreline of Vallecito Reservoir, as shown on the Jurisdictional Map, shall be transferred, as set forth in subsection (b) (the ``Jurisdictional Transfer''), concurrently with the conveyance described in section 3(a). Except as otherwise shown on the Jurisdictional Map-- (1) for withdrawn lands (approximately 260 acres) lying below the 7,765-foot reservoir water surface elevation level, the Forest Service shall transfer an undivided \5/6\ interest to Reclamation and an undivided \1/6\ interest to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in trust for the Tribe; and (2) for Project acquired lands (approximately 230 acres) above the 7,765-foot reservoir water surface elevation level, Reclamation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs shall transfer their interests to the Forest Service. (b) Map.--The Jurisdictional Map and legal descriptions of the lands transferred pursuant to subsection (a) shall be on file and available for public inspection in the offices of the Chief of the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, the Commissioner of Reclamation, Department of the Interior, appropriate field offices of those agencies, and the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate. (c) Administration.--Following the Jurisdictional Transfer: (1) All lands that, by reason of the Jurisdictional Transfer, become National Forest System lands within the boundaries of the San Juan National Forest, shall be administered in accordance with the laws, rules, and regulations applicable to the National Forest System. (2) Reclamation withdrawals of land from the San Juan National Forest established by Secretarial Orders on November 9, 1936, October 14, 1937, and June 20, 1945, together designated as Serial No. C-28259, shall be revoked. (3) The Forest Service shall issue perpetual easements to the District and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, at no cost to the District or the Bureau of Indian Affairs, providing adequate access across all lands subject to Forest Service jurisdiction to insure the District and the Bureau of Indian Affairs the ability to continue to operate and maintain the Pine River Project. (4) The undivided \5/6\ interest in National Forest System lands that, by reason of the Jurisdictional Transfer is to be administered by Reclamation, shall be conveyed to the District pursuant to section 3(a). (5) The District and the Bureau of Indian Affairs shall issue perpetual easements to the Forest Service, at no cost to the Forest Service, from National Forest System lands to Vallecito Reservoir to assure continued public access to Vallecito Reservoir when the Reservoir level drops below the 7,665-foot water surface elevation. (6) The District and the Bureau of Indian Affairs shall issue a perpetual easement to the Forest Service, at no cost to the Forest Service, for the reconstruction, maintenance, and operation of a road from La Plata County Road No. 501 to National Forest System lands east of the Reservoir. (d) Valid Existing Rights.--Nothing in this Act shall affect any valid existing rights or interests in any existing land use authorization, except that any such land use authorization shall be administered by the agency having jurisdiction over the land after the Jurisdictional Transfer in accordance with subsection (c) and other applicable law. Renewal or reissuance of any such authorization shall be in accordance with applicable law and the regulations of the agency having jurisdiction, except that the change of administrative jurisdiction shall not in itself constitute a ground to deny the renewal or reissuance of any such authorization. SEC. 5. LIABILITY. Effective on the date of the conveyance of the remaining undivided \1/6\ right and interest in the Pine River Project to the Tribe pursuant to subsection 3(b), the United States shall not be held liable by any court for damages of any kind arising out of any act, omission, or occurrence relating to such Project, except for damages caused by acts of negligence committed by the United States or by its employees, agents, or contractors prior to the date of conveyance. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to increase the liability of the United States beyond that currently provided in the Federal Tort Claims Act (28 U.S.C. 2671 et seq.). SEC. 6. COMPLETION OF CONVEYANCE. (a) In General.--The Secretary's completion of the conveyance under section 3 shall not occur until the following events have been completed: (1) Compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and other applicable Federal and State laws. (2) The submission of a written statement from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe to the Secretary indicating the Tribe's satisfaction that the Tribe's Indian Trust Assets are protected in the conveyance described in section 3. (3) Execution of an agreement acceptable to the Secretary which limits the future liability of the United States relative to the operation of the Project. (4) The submission of a statement by the Secretary to the District, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the State of Colorado on the existing condition of Vallecito Dam based on Bureau of Reclamation's current knowledge and understanding. (5) The development of an agreement between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the District to prescribe the District's obligation to so operate the Project that the \1/6\ rights and interests to the Project and water supply made available by Vallecito Reservoir held by the Bureau of Indian Affairs are protected. Such agreement shall supercede the Memorandum of Agreement referred to in section 3(b) of this Act. (6) The submission of a plan by the District to manage the Project in a manner substantially similar to the manner in which it was managed prior to the transfer and in accordance with applicable Federal and State laws, including management for the preservation of public access and recreational values and for the prevention of growth on certain lands to be conveyed hereunder, as set forth in an Agreement dated March 20, 1998, between the District and residents of Vallecito Reservoir. Any future change in the use of the water supplied by Vallecito Reservoir shall comply with applicable law. (7) The development of a flood control plan by the Secretary of the Army acting through the Corps of Engineers which shall direct the District in the operation of Vallecito Dam for such purposes. (b) Report.--If the transfer authorized in section 3 is not substantially completed within 18 months from the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary, in coordination with the District, shall promptly provide a report to the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives and to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate on the status of the transfer described in section 3(a), any obstacles to completion of such transfer, and the anticipated date for such transfer. (c) Future Benefits.--Effective upon transfer, the District shall not be entitled to receive any further Reclamation benefits attributable to its status as a Reclamation project pursuant to the Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902, and Acts supplementary thereto or amendatory thereof. Passed the Senate October 7 (legislative day, October 2), 1998. Attest: GARY SISCO, Secretary.