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.