STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS; Congressional Record Vol. 158, No. 61
(Senate - April 26, 2012)

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          STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

      By Mr. BINGAMAN (for himself, Mr. Barrasso, Mr. Wyden, and Mr. 
        Enzi:
  S. 2374. A bill to amend the Helium Act to ensure the expedient and 
responsible draw-down of the Federal Helium Reserve in a manner that 
protects the interests of private industry, the scientific, medical, 
and industrial communities, commercial users, and Federal agencies, and 
for other purposes: to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I am pleased to introduce the Helium 
Stewardship Act of 2012, along with my cosponsors, Senators Barrasso, 
Wyden, and Enzi. This bipartisan bill addresses the need for ongoing 
stewardship of the nation's helium reserve in Amarillo, Texas. The 
helium reserve is not only a domestic treasure, but it also provides 
nearly 30 percent of the world's helium.
  Helium is a commodity that is frequently overlooked and often only 
considered when you are going to the florist to purchase party balloons 
for your child's birthday party. I want to take a moment and highlight 
the importance of this commodity, as well as the importance of the U.S. 
helium reserve in the world's helium market.
  Helium is critical to a wide range of industrial, scientific, and 
medical markets, including medical devices such as MRIs, industrial 
welding, high tech manufacturing of microchips and fiber optic cables, 
manufacturing magnets for wind turbines, space exploration at NASA, and 
other important scientific research that is conducted at national 
laboratories like those in my State.
  The current sales and management structure for the helium reserve is 
distorting the private helium market and threatening helium supplies 
for Federal medical and scientific research, and other private 
commercial applications. The low government sales price is also a 
barrier to the development of private sources of helium. But more 
importantly, if Congress does not act, the helium program will 
disappear altogether in less than three years, leaving our hospitals, 
national labs, domestic manufacturers, and helium producers high and 
dry.
  This bipartisan bill will address these issues by authorizing prudent 
helium sales and management beyond 2015 and securing private access to 
Federal supplies. It will also allow for the continued repayment of the 
national debt by selling helium at fair market prices--providing a good 
return on investment to the American taxpayer. This will bolster the 
private helium sector, and help to create long-term jobs in this 
American resource sector, as well as ensure the continued success of 
domestic manufacturers that utilize helium in their manufacturing 
process.
  Finally, this bill will ensure secure access to helium for our 
national labs, scientific researchers, NASA, medical institutions, and 
universities, who rely on helium to push the boundaries of science and 
technology here in the USA. In particular, as the reserve is sold off, 
a 15 year supply of helium will be set aside exclusively for Federal 
researchers to guarantee continuity of our research programs as we 
transition to purely private sources of helium.
  The bill is based on stakeholder input of the National Academies of 
Science, Bureau of Land Management staff, scientific researchers, high-
tech manufacturers, and the private helium industry to address the most 
pressing problems facing Federal helium users and the helium industry 
today.
  I would like to conclude by taking a moment to acknowledge the 
exceptional efforts of Dr. Marcius Extavour who was the AAAS Science 
policy fellow and physicist working on the Energy and Natural Resources 
Committee last year. He worked diligently to help craft this important 
piece of legislation and I thank him for his efforts.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 2374

       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 ``Helium Stewardship Act of 
     2012''.

     SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

       Section 2 of the Helium Act (50 U.S.C. 167) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (1), by striking the semicolon at the end 
     and inserting a period;
       (2) in paragraph (2), by striking ``; and'' and inserting a 
     period; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(4) Federal helium reserve.--
       ``(A) In general.--The term `Federal Helium Reserve' means 
     helium reserves owned by the United States.
       ``(B) Inclusions.--The term `Federal Helium Reserve' 
     includes--
       ``(i) the Cliffside Field helium storage reservoir;
       ``(ii) the federally owned helium pipeline system; and
       ``(iii) all associated infrastructure owned, leased, or 
     managed under contract by the Secretary for storage, 
     transportation, withdrawal, purification, or management of 
     helium.
       ``(5) Low-btu gas.--The term `low-Btu gas' means a fuel gas 
     with a heating value of less than 250 Btu per standard cubic 
     foot measured as the higher heating value resulting from the 
     inclusion of noncombustible gases, including nitrogen, 
     helium, argon, and carbon dioxide.''.

     SEC. 3. SALE OF CRUDE HELIUM.

       Section 6 of the Helium Act (50 U.S.C. 167d) is amended to 
     read as follows:

     ``SEC. 6. SALE OF CRUDE HELIUM.

       ``(a) Phase A: Business as Usual.--
       ``(1) In general.--Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary 
     may offer for sale crude helium for Federal, medical, 
     scientific, and commercial uses in such quantities, at such 
     times, and under such conditions as the Secretary, in 
     consultation with the helium industry, determines necessary 
     to carry out this subsection with minimum market disruption.
       ``(2) Minimum quantity.--The Secretary shall offer for sale 
     during each fiscal year under paragraph (1) a quantity of 
     crude helium that is not less than the quantity of crude 
     helium offered for sale by the Secretary during fiscal year 
     2012.
       ``(3) Purchase by federal agencies.--Federal agencies, and 
     extramural holders of 1 or more Federal research grants, may 
     purchase refined helium under this subsection for Federal, 
     medical, and scientific uses from persons who have entered 
     into enforceable contracts to purchase an equivalent quantity 
     of crude helium from the Secretary.
       ``(4) Duration.--This subsection applies during the 
     period--
       ``(A) beginning on the date of enactment of the Helium 
     Stewardship Act of 2012; and
       ``(B) ending on the date on which all amounts required to 
     be repaid to the United States under this Act as of October 
     1, 1995, are repaid in full.
       ``(b) Phase B: Maximizing Total Recovery of Helium.--
       ``(1) In general.--The Secretary may offer for sale crude 
     helium for Federal, medical, scientific, and commercial uses 
     in such quantities, at such times, and under such conditions 
     as the Secretary, in consultation with the helium industry, 
     determines necessary--
       ``(A) to maximize total recovery of helium from the Federal 
     Helium Reserve over the long term;
       ``(B) to manage crude helium sales according to the ability 
     of the Secretary to extract and produce helium from the 
     Federal Helium Reserve;
       ``(C) to respond to helium market supply and demand;

[[Page S2827]]

       ``(D) to give priority to meeting the helium demand of 
     Federal users in event of any disruption to the Federal 
     Helium Reserve; and
       ``(E) to carry out this subsection.
       ``(2) Purchase by federal agencies.--Federal agencies, and 
     extramural holders of 1 or more Federal research grants, may 
     purchase refined helium under this subsection for Federal, 
     medical, and scientific uses from persons who have entered 
     into enforceable contracts to purchase an equivalent quantity 
     of crude helium from the Secretary.
       ``(3) Duration.--This subsection applies during the 
     period--
       ``(A) beginning on the day after the date described in 
     subsection (a)(4)(B); and
       ``(B) ending on the date on which the volume of recoverable 
     crude helium at the Federal Helium Reserve (other than 
     privately owned quantities of crude helium stored temporarily 
     at the Federal Helium Reserve under section 5 and this 
     section) is 3,000,000,000 standard cubic feet.
       ``(c) Phase C: Access for Federal Users.--
       ``(1) In general.--The Secretary may offer for sale crude 
     helium for Federal uses (including medical and scientific 
     uses) in such quantities, at such times, and under such 
     conditions as the Secretary determines necessary to carry out 
     this subsection.
       ``(2) Purchase by federal agencies.--Federal agencies, and 
     extramural holders of 1 or more Federal research grants, may 
     purchase refined helium under this subsection for Federal 
     uses (including medical and scientific uses) from persons who 
     have entered into enforceable contracts to purchase an 
     equivalent quantity of crude helium from the Secretary.
       ``(3) Effective date.--This subsection applies beginning on 
     the day after the date described in subsection (b)(3)(B).
       ``(d) Prices and Determinations.--
       ``(1) In general.--Sales of crude helium by the Secretary 
     shall be at prices established by the Secretary that 
     approximate the crude helium price in the private market as 
     of the date of the offer for sale.
       ``(2) Determination of sale price.--The Secretary may make 
     a determination of the prices described in paragraph (1) 
     using--
       ``(A) a confidential survey of qualifying domestic helium 
     sourcing transactions to which any holder of a contract with 
     the Secretary for the acceptance, storage, and redelivery of 
     crude helium in the Cliffside Field helium storage reservoir 
     is a party;
       ``(B) current market crude helium prices inferred from any 
     amount received by the Secretary from the sale or disposition 
     of helium on Federal land under subsection (f); and
       ``(C) in consultation with the helium industry, the volume-
     weighted average cost among helium refiners, producers, and 
     liquefiers, in dollars per thousand cubic feet, of converting 
     gaseous crude helium into bulk liquid helium.
       ``(3) Authority of secretary.--The Secretary shall require 
     all persons or entities that are parties to a contract with 
     the Secretary for the acceptance, storage, and redelivery of 
     crude helium to disclose, on a strictly confidential basis in 
     dollars per thousand cubic feet, the weighted average price 
     of all crude helium and bulk liquid helium purchased or 
     processed by the persons in all qualifying domestic helium 
     sourcing transactions during the fiscal year.
       ``(4) Qualifying domestic helium sourcing transactions.--
       ``(A) In general.--In establishing the prices described in 
     paragraph (1), the Secretary shall consider subparagraphs (B) 
     and (C) to ensure a reasonable number of transactions.
       ``(B) Inclusions.--For the purposes of this subsection, 
     qualifying domestic helium sourcing transactions include any 
     new agreement in the United States for the purchase of at 
     least 20,000,000 standard cubic feet of crude helium or 
     liquid helium in the fiscal year in which the Secretary 
     collects the data.
       ``(C) Exclusions.--For the purposes of this subsection, 
     qualifying domestic helium sourcing transactions do not 
     include--
       ``(i) purchases of crude helium from the Secretary; or
       ``(ii) transactions at prices indexed to the posted crude 
     helium price of the Secretary.
       ``(5) Use of information.--The Secretary may use the 
     information gathered under this subsection to approximate the 
     current fair market price for crude helium to ensure recovery 
     of fair value for the taxpayers of the United States from 
     sales of crude helium.
       ``(6) Protection of confidentiality.--The Secretary shall 
     adopt such administrative policies and procedures that the 
     Secretary considers necessary and reasonable to ensure robust 
     protection of the confidentiality of data submitted by 
     private persons.
       ``(e) Helium Production Fund.--
       ``(1) In general.--All amounts received under this Act, 
     including amounts from the sale of crude helium, shall be 
     credited to the Helium Production Fund, which shall be 
     available without fiscal year limitation for purposes 
     considered necessary by the Secretary to carry out this 
     subsection.
       ``(2) Capital investments and maintenance.--The Secretary 
     may use funds credited to the Helium Production Fund to fund 
     capital investments in upgrades and maintenance at the 
     Federal Helium Reserve, including--
       ``(A) well head maintenance at the Cliffside Field helium 
     storage reservoir;
       ``(B) capital investments in maintenance and upgrades of 
     facilities that pressurize the Cliffside Field helium storage 
     reservoir;
       ``(C) capital investments in maintenance and upgrades of 
     equipment related to the storage, withdrawal, transportation, 
     purification, and sale of crude helium at the Cliffside Field 
     helium storage reservoir; and
       ``(D) any other scheduled or unscheduled maintenance of the 
     Cliffside Field helium storage reservoir and helium pipeline.
       ``(3) Excess funds.--Any amounts in the Fund described in 
     paragraph (1) that exceed the amounts that the Secretary 
     determines to be necessary to carry out paragraph (1) and any 
     contracts negotiated under this Act shall be paid to the 
     Treasury and credited against the amounts required to be 
     repaid to the Treasury under subsection (a).
       ``(f) Extraction of Helium From Deposits on Federal Land.--
     All amounts received by the Secretary from the sale or 
     disposition of helium on Federal land shall be paid to the 
     Treasury and credited against the amounts required to be 
     repaid to the Treasury under subsection (a).''.

     SEC. 4. HELIUM RESOURCE ASSESSMENT, CONSERVATION RESEARCH, 
                   AND HELIUM-3 SEPARATION.

       The Helium Act is amended by striking section 15 (50 U.S.C. 
     167m) and inserting the following:

     ``SEC. 15. HELIUM GAS RESOURCE ASSESSMENT.

       ``Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the 
     Helium Stewardship Act of 2012, the Secretary, acting through 
     the Director of the United States Geological Survey, shall--
       ``(1) in coordination with appropriate heads of State 
     geological surveys--
       ``(A) complete a national helium gas assessment that 
     identifies and quantifies the quantity of helium, including 
     the isotope helium-3, in each reservoir, including 
     assessments of the constituent gases found in each helium 
     resource, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and natural gas; 
     and
       ``(B) make available the modern seismic and geophysical log 
     data for characterization of the Bush Dome Reservoir;
       ``(2) in coordination with appropriate international 
     agencies and the global geology community, complete a global 
     helium gas assessment that identifies and quantifies the 
     quantity of the helium, including the isotope helium-3, in 
     each reservoir;
       ``(3) in coordination with the Secretary of Energy, acting 
     through the Administrator of the Energy Information 
     Administration, complete--
       ``(A) an assessment of trends in global demand for helium, 
     including the isotope helium-3;
       ``(B) a 10-year forecast of domestic demand for helium 
     across all sectors, including scientific and medical 
     research, manufacturing, space technologies, cryogenics, and 
     national defense; and
       ``(C) an inventory of medical, scientific, industrial, 
     commercial, and other uses of helium in the United States, 
     including Federal and commercial helium uses, that identifies 
     the nature of the helium use, the amounts required, the 
     technical and commercial viability of helium recapture and 
     recycling in that use, and the availability of material 
     substitutes wherever possible; and
       ``(4) submit to the Committee on Energy and Natural 
     Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Natural 
     Resources of the House of Representatives a report describing 
     the results of the assessments required under this paragraph.

     ``SEC. 16. LOW-BTU GAS SEPARATION AND HELIUM CONSERVATION 
                   RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT.

       ``(a) Authorization.--The Secretary of Energy shall support 
     programs of research, development, commercial application, 
     and conservation (including the programs described in 
     subsection (b))--
       ``(1) to expand the domestic production of low-Btu gas and 
     helium resources;
       ``(2) to separate and capture helium from natural gas 
     streams at the wellhead; and
       ``(3) to reduce the venting of helium and helium-bearing 
     low-Btu gas during natural gas exploration and production.
       ``(b) Programs.--
       ``(1) Membrane technology research.--The Secretary of 
     Energy, in consultation with other appropriate agencies, 
     shall support a civilian research program to develop advanced 
     membrane technology that is used in the separation of low-Btu 
     gases, including technologies that remove helium and other 
     constituent gases that lower the Btu content of natural gas.
       ``(2) Helium separation technology.--The Secretary of 
     Energy shall support a research program to develop 
     technologies for separating, gathering, and processing helium 
     in low concentrations that occur naturally in geological 
     reservoirs or formations, including--
       ``(A) low-Btu gas production streams; and
       ``(B) technologies that minimize the atmospheric venting of 
     helium gas during natural gas production.
       ``(3) Industrial helium program.--The Secretary of Energy, 
     working through the Industrial Technologies Program of the 
     Department of Energy, shall carry out a research program--
       ``(A) to develop low-cost technologies and technology 
     systems for recycling, reprocessing, and reusing helium; and
       ``(B) to develop industrial gathering technologies to 
     capture helium from other chemical processing, including 
     ammonia processing.

[[Page S2828]]

     ``SEC. 17. HELIUM-3 SEPARATION.

       ``(a) Interagency Cooperation.--The Secretary shall 
     cooperate with the Secretary of Energy, or a designee, on any 
     assessment or research relating to the extraction and 
     refining of the isotope helium-3 from crude helium at the 
     Federal Helium Reserve or along the helium pipeline system, 
     including--
       ``(1) gas analysis;
       ``(2) infrastructure studies; and
       ``(3) cooperation with private helium refiners.
       ``(b) Feasibility Study.--The Secretary, in consultation 
     with the Secretary of Energy, or a designee, may carry out a 
     study to assess the feasibility of establishing a facility to 
     separate the isotope helium-3 from crude helium at--
       ``(1) the Federal Helium Reserve; or
       ``(2) an existing helium separation or purification 
     facility connected to the helium pipeline system.
       ``(c) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
     enactment of the Helium Stewardship Act of 2012, the 
     Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Energy and Natural 
     Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Natural 
     Resources of the House of Representatives a report that 
     contains a description of the results of the assessments 
     conducted under this section.''.

     SEC. 5. MISCELLANEOUS.

       Section 102 of the Soda Ash Royalty Reduction Act of 2006 
     (30 U.S.C. 262 note; Public Law 109 338) is amended by 
     striking ``5-year'' and inserting ``7-year''.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. LEVIN (for himself and Mr. McCain) (by request):
  S. 2467. A bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2013 for 
military activities of the Department of Defense and for military 
construction, to prescribe military personnel strengths for fiscal year 
2013, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Armed Services.

  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, Senator McCain and I are introducing, by 
request, the Administration's proposed National Defense Authorization 
Act for fiscal year 2013. As is the case with any bill that is 
introduced by request, we introduce this bill for the purpose of 
placing the administration's proposals before Congress and the public 
without expressing our own views on the substance of these proposals. 
As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, we look 
forward to giving the administration's requested legislation our most 
careful review and thoughtful consideration.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. BINGAMAN (for himself and Mr. Udall of New Mexico):
  S. 2468. A bill to establish the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness in the 
State of New Mexico, to provide for the conveyance of certain parcels 
of National Forest System land in the State, and for other purposes; to 
the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Columbine-
Hondo Wilderness Act which will designate approximately 45,000 acres in 
the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in northern New Mexico as wilderness. I 
am pleased that my colleague, Senator Tom Udall, is a cosponsor of this 
legislation.
  Located in the Carson National Forest in Taos County, the Columbine-
Hondo is one of the last remaining segments of this high alpine 
ecosystem to receive permanent wilderness protection. The concept of 
wilderness has deep roots and a long history in the Carson National 
Forest. For example, in the early 1900s, Aldo Leopold, known as the 
father of wilderness, spent his early career in the Forest Service in 
the Carson where he quickly reached the post of Forest Supervisor. 
There is no doubt that he spent much time traveling through this 
landscape that likely helped cultivate his thoughts on the importance 
of wilderness.
  Leopold's concept of wilderness evolved over time and heavily 
influenced policy makers and the growing conservation community. He 
wrote, ``Wilderness is the raw material out of which man has hammered 
the artifact called civilization. . . . To the laborer in the sweat of 
his labor, the raw stuff on his anvil is an adversary to be conquered. 
So was wilderness an adversary to the pioneer. But to the laborer in 
repose, able for the moment to cast a philosophical eye on his world, 
that same raw stuff is something to be loved and cherished, because it 
gives definition and meaning to his life.'' One person who shared that 
definition and meaning with Aldo Leopold was former New Mexico Senator 
Clinton P. Anderson. In fact, due in large part to the conversations he 
had with Leopold forty years earlier, Senator Anderson led the effort 
in Congress to pass the Wilderness Act of 1964.
  In that 1964 Act, the Wheeler Peak Wilderness became the first 
wilderness area in the Carson National Forest, which lies just south of 
the Columbine-Hondo area. Shortly thereafter in 1970, the Taos Pueblo-
Blue Lake Wilderness, adjacent to Wheeler Peak, was established, 
further demonstrating that the idea of wilderness is a valuable concept 
to Indian tribes wishing to protect their most sacred sites for future 
generations. Another decade had to pass before Congress protected 
additional lands in New Mexico as wilderness in 1980, including the 
Latir Peak Wilderness, north of the Columbine-Hondo. In that same Act, 
the Columbine-Hondo was designated as a Wilderness Study Area to allow 
Congress further time to review the merits of designating this area as 
wilderness.
  Aldo Leopold laments in A Sand County Almanac that progress in 
conservation is slow--a fact that hasn't changed much in modern times. 
``Despite nearly a century of propaganda,'' he wrote, ``conservation 
still proceeds at a snail's pace.'' In this context, it is 
unfortunately not surprising that it has taken Congress over 30 years 
to review the merits of the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness Study Area.
  But the time to permanently protect the Columbine-Hondo is now before 
us. After many years of hard work by local community leaders, a nearly 
unanimous consensus has formed in support of protecting this landscape 
as wilderness. This is due to the longstanding recognition by the 
surrounding communities and their residents of the benefits that 
wilderness provides them. The mountains provide communities with clean 
air and act as a watershed, providing them with fresh and clean water. 
Sportsmen benefit from the protection of quality habitat that will 
ensure the elk, deer, and antelope found in the mountains and the fish 
in the mountain streams will continue to thrive. Communities like the 
Towns of Taos and Red River and the Villages of Questa and Taos Ski 
Valley can find economic benefits by attracting visitors seeking 
opportunities for solitude and quiet recreation, including hiking, 
birding, horseback riding, and even the occasional llama trekking. And 
community members can create job opportunities through outfitting and 
other service industries to assist residents and visitors alike explore 
these gateways to a more primitive era.

  Wilderness also ensures that the way of life of many local ranchers 
will remain protected from threats like mining or disruptive off-road 
vehicle use. Local mountain biking coalitions have also recognized that 
a balance can be reached to protect wilderness values while making 
practical and common sense boundary adjustments that will help promote 
sustainable mountain biking opportunities in the region.
  During my tenure in the Senate, it has been relatively uncommon to 
find such overwhelming support for the establishment of a new 
wilderness area. I commend the dedication and perseverance exhibited by 
the many local wilderness advocates who have devoted many years to see 
this effort come to fruition. Without their help, it may have taken 
another decade before Congress addressed this long outstanding matter. 
Congress has had 32 years now to review the designation of the 
Columbine-Hondo Wilderness. With such broad support having been 
developed, I urge my colleagues to support this initiative to protect 
this area without further delay.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 2468

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

       (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Columbine-
     Hondo Wilderness Act''.
       (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act 
     is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Definitions.

    TITLE I--ADDITION TO THE NATIONAL WILDERNESS PRESERVATION SYSTEM

Sec. 101. Designation of the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness.
Sec. 102. Wheeler Peak Wilderness boundary modification.
Sec. 103. Authorization of appropriations.

[[Page S2829]]

                 TITLE II--LAND CONVEYANCES AND SALES.

Sec. 201. Town of Red River land conveyance.
Sec. 202. Village of Taos Ski Valley land conveyance.
Sec. 203. Authorization of sale of certain National Forest System land.

     SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

       In this Act:
       (1) Red river conveyance map.--The term ``Red River 
     Conveyance Map'' means the map entitled ``Town of Red River 
     Town Site Act Proposal'' and dated April 19, 2012.
       (2) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
     of Agriculture.
       (3) State.--The term ``State'' means the State of New 
     Mexico.
       (4) Town.--The term ``Town'' means the town of Red River, 
     New Mexico.
       (5) Village.--The term ``Village'' means the village of 
     Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico.
       (6) Wilderness.--The term ``Wilderness'' means the 
     Columbine-Hondo Wilderness designated by section 101(a).
       (7) Wilderness map.--The term ``Wilderness Map'' means the 
     map entitled ``Columbine-Hondo, Wheeler Peak Wilderness'' and 
     dated April 19, 2012.

    TITLE I--ADDITION TO THE NATIONAL WILDERNESS PRESERVATION SYSTEM

     SEC. 101. DESIGNATION OF THE COLUMBINE-HONDO WILDERNESS.

       (a) In General.--In accordance with the Wilderness Act (16 
     U.S.C. 1131 et seq.), the approximately 45,000 acres of land 
     in the Carson National Forest in the State, as generally 
     depicted on the Wilderness Map, is designated as wilderness 
     and as a component of the National Wilderness Preservation 
     System, which shall be known as the ``Columbine-Hondo 
     Wilderness''.
       (b) Management.--Subject to valid existing rights, the 
     Wilderness shall be administered by the Secretary in 
     accordance with this Act and the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 
     1131 et seq.), except that any reference in that Act to the 
     effective date of that Act shall be considered to be a 
     reference to the date of enactment of this Act.
       (c) Incorporation of Acquired Land and Interests in Land.--
     Any land or interest in land that is within the boundary of 
     the Wilderness that is acquired by the United States shall--
       (1) become part of the Wilderness; and
       (2) be managed in accordance with--
       (A) the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.);
       (B) this section; and
       (C) any other applicable laws.
       (d) Grazing.--Grazing of livestock in the Wilderness, where 
     established before the date of enactment of this Act, shall 
     be administered in accordance with--
       (1) section 4(d)(4) of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 
     1133(d)(4)); and
       (2) the guidelines set forth in the report of the Committee 
     on Interior and Insular Affairs of the House of 
     Representatives accompanying H.R. 5487 of the 96th Congress 
     (H. Rept. 96 617).
       (e) Columbine Hondo Wilderness Study Area.--
       (1) Finding.--Congress finds that, for purposes of section 
     103(a)(2) of Public Law 96 550 (16 U.S.C. 1132 note; 94 Stat. 
     3223), any Federal land in the Columbine Hondo Wilderness 
     Study Area administered by the Forest Service that is not 
     designated as wilderness by subsection (a) has been 
     adequately reviewed for wilderness designation.
       (2) Applicability.--The Federal land described in paragraph 
     (1) is no longer subject to subsections (a)(2) and (b) of 
     section 103 of Public Law 96 550 (16 U.S.C. 1132 note; 94 
     Stat. 3223).
       (f) Maps and Legal Descriptions.--
       (1) In general.--As soon as practicable after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prepare maps and 
     legal descriptions of the Wilderness.
       (2) Force of law.--The maps and legal descriptions prepared 
     under paragraph (1) shall have the same force and effect as 
     if included in this Act, except that the Secretary may 
     correct errors in the maps and legal descriptions.
       (3) Public availability.--The maps and legal descriptions 
     prepared under paragraph (1) shall be on file and available 
     for public inspection in the appropriate offices of the 
     Forest Service.
       (g) Fish and Wildlife.--Nothing in this Act affects the 
     jurisdiction of the State with respect to fish and wildlife 
     located on public land in the State, except that the 
     Secretary, after consultation with the New Mexico Department 
     of Game and Fish, may designate zones in which, and establish 
     periods during which, hunting or fishing shall not be allowed 
     for reasons of public safety, administration, the protection 
     for nongame species and associated habitats, or public use 
     and enjoyment.
       (h) Withdrawals.--Subject to valid existing rights, the 
     Federal land described in subsections (a) and (e)(1) and any 
     land or interest in land that is acquired by the United 
     States in the Wilderness after the date of enactment of this 
     Act is withdrawn from--
       (1) entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land 
     laws;
       (2) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and
       (3) operation of the mineral leasing, mineral materials, 
     and geothermal leasing laws.

     SEC. 102. WHEELER PEAK WILDERNESS BOUNDARY MODIFICATION.

       (a) In General.--The boundary of the Wheeler Peak 
     Wilderness in the State is modified as generally depicted in 
     the Wilderness Map.
       (b) Withdrawal.--Subject to valid existing rights, any 
     Federal land added to or excluded from the boundary of the 
     Wheeler Peak Wilderness under subsection (a) is withdrawn 
     from--
       (1) entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land 
     laws;
       (2) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and
       (3) operation of the mineral leasing, mineral materials, 
     and geothermal leasing laws.

     SEC. 103. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

       There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are 
     necessary to carry out this title.

                 TITLE II--LAND CONVEYANCES AND SALES.

     SEC. 201. TOWN OF RED RIVER LAND CONVEYANCE.

       (a) In General.--Subject to the provisions of this section, 
     the Secretary shall convey to the Town, without consideration 
     and by quitclaim deed, all right, title, and interest of the 
     United States in and to the 1 or more parcels of Federal land 
     described in subsection (b) for which the Town submits a 
     request to the Secretary by the date that is not later than 1 
     year after the date of enactment of this Act.
       (b) Description of Land.--The parcels of Federal land 
     referred to in subsection (a) are the parcels of National 
     Forest System land (including any improvements to the land) 
     in Taos County, New Mexico, that are identified as ``Parcel 
     1'', ``Parcel 2'', ``Parcel 3'', and ``Parcel 4'' on the Red 
     River Conveyance Map.
       (c) Conditions.--The conveyance under subsection (a) shall 
     be subject to--
       (1) valid existing rights;
       (2) public rights-of-way through ``Parcel 1'', ``Parcel 
     3'', and ``Parcel 4'';
       (3) an administrative right-of-way through ``Parcel 2'' 
     reserved to the United States; and
       (4) such additional terms and conditions as the Secretary 
     may require.
       (d) Use of Land.--As a condition of the conveyance under 
     subsection (a), the Town shall use--
       (1) ``Parcel 1'' for a wastewater treatment plant;
       (2) ``Parcel 2'' for a cemetery;
       (3) ``Parcel ``3'' for a public park; and
       (4) ``Parcel 4'' for a public road.
       (e) Reversion.--In the quitclaim deed to the Town under 
     subsection (a), the Secretary shall provide that any parcel 
     of Federal land conveyed to the Town under subsection (a) 
     shall revert to the Secretary, at the election of the 
     Secretary, if the parcel of Federal land is used for a 
     purpose other than the purpose for which the parcel was 
     conveyed, as required under subsection (d).
       (f) Survey; Administrative Costs.--
       (1) Survey.--The exact acreage and legal description of the 
     National Forest System land conveyed under subsection (a) 
     shall be determined by a survey approved by the Secretary.
       (2) Costs.--The Town shall pay the reasonable survey and 
     other administrative costs associated with the conveyance.

     SEC. 202. VILLAGE OF TAOS SKI VALLEY LAND CONVEYANCE.

       (a) In General.--Subject to the provisions of this section, 
     the Secretary shall convey to the Village, without 
     consideration and by quitclaim deed, all right, title, and 
     interest of the United States in and to the parcel of Federal 
     land described in subsection (b) for which the Village 
     submits a request to the Secretary by the date that is not 
     later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.
       (b) Description of Land.--The parcel of Federal land 
     referred to in subsection (a) is the parcel comprising 
     approximately 4.6 acres of National Forest System land 
     (including any improvements to the land) in Taos County 
     generally depicted as ``Parcel 1'' on the map entitled 
     ``Village of Taos Ski Valley Town Site Act Proposal'' and 
     dated April 19, 2012.
       (c) Conditions.--The conveyance under subsection (a) shall 
     be subject to--
       (1) valid existing rights;
       (2) an administrative right-of-way through the parcel of 
     Federal land described in subsection (b) reserved to the 
     United States; and
       (3) such additional terms and conditions as the Secretary 
     may require.
       (d) Use of Land.--As a condition of the conveyance under 
     subsection (a), the Village shall use the parcel of Federal 
     land described in subsection (b) for a wastewater treatment 
     plant.
       (e) Reversion.--In the quitclaim deed to the Village, the 
     Secretary shall provide that the parcel of Federal land 
     conveyed to the Village under subsection (a) shall revert to 
     the Secretary, at the election of the Secretary, if the 
     parcel of Federal land is used for a purpose other than the 
     purpose for which the parcel was conveyed, as described in 
     subsection (d).
       (f) Survey; Administrative Costs.--
       (1) Survey.--The exact acreage and legal description of the 
     National Forest System land conveyed under subsection (a) 
     shall be determined by a survey approved by the Secretary.
       (2) Costs.--The Village shall pay the reasonable survey and 
     other administrative costs associated with the conveyance.

     SEC. 203. AUTHORIZATION OF SALE OF CERTAIN NATIONAL FOREST 
                   SYSTEM LAND.

       (a) In General.--Subject to the provisions of this section 
     and in exchange for consideration in an amount that is equal 
     to the fair

[[Page S2830]]

     market value of the applicable parcel of National Forest 
     System land, the Secretary may convey--
       (1) to the holder of the permit numbered ``QUE302101'' for 
     use of the parcel, the parcel of National Forest System land 
     comprising approximately 0.2 acres that is generally depicted 
     as ``Parcel 5'' on the Red River Conveyance Map; and
       (2) to the owner of the private property adjacent to the 
     parcel, the parcel of National Forest System land comprising 
     approximately 0.1 acres that is generally depicted as 
     ``Parcel 6'' on the Red River Conveyance Map.
       (b) Disposition of Proceeds.--Any amounts received by the 
     Secretary as consideration for a conveyance under subsection 
     (a) shall be--
       (1) deposited in the fund established under Public Law 90 
     171 (commonly known as the ``Sisk Act'') (16 U.S.C. 484a); 
     and
       (2) available to the Secretary, without further 
     appropriation and until expended, for the acquisition of land 
     or interests in land in the Carson National Forest.
       (c) Conditions.--The conveyance under subsection (a) shall 
     be subject to--
       (1) valid existing rights; and
       (2) such additional terms and conditions as the Secretary 
     may require.
       (d) Survey; Administrative Costs.--
       (1) Survey.--The exact acreage and legal description of the 
     National Forest System land conveyed under subsection (a) 
     shall be determined by a survey approved by the Secretary.
       (2) Costs.--The reasonable survey and other administrative 
     costs associated with the conveyance shall be paid by the 
     holder of the permit or the owner of the private property, as 
     applicable.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. AKAKA (for himself and Mr. Inouye):
  S. 2474. A bill to improve the health of minority individuals, and 
for other purposes; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and 
Pensions.
  Mr. AKAKA. Mr. President, I am proud to once again introduce 
legislation addressing the health care disparities in racial and ethnic 
minority communities, the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2012. 
I would like to thank my cosponsor, Senator Inouye, along with a number 
of our colleagues in the House of Representatives, for all their 
support and contributions to this important legislation, and for 
raising awareness of this widespread problem.
  While there are glaring health disparities based on racial and ethnic 
identity alone, they are further exacerbated by factors such as 
socioeconomics, geography, and sexual orientation and identity. 
Although the exact causes for the current state of health disparities 
in our country may be debatable, it is undeniable that ethnic, racial, 
geographic, and other minorities across the United States are plagued 
by disproportionately high rates of disease and experience a diminished 
quality of health care. Statistics paint a disturbing picture of 
minority health, consistently showing higher rates of illness and death 
for members of minority and marginalized groups.
  For instance, HIV/AIDS has had a devastating impact on minorities in 
the U.S. In 2009, ethnic minorities accounted for over 70 percent of 
newly diagnosed cases of HIV. That year, nine out of ten babies born 
with HIV belonged to minority groups. The Office of Minority Health 
reported that, compared to Caucasians, Hispanic individuals are 3 times 
more likely to be diagnosed with AIDS; Native Americans are 1.4 times 
more likely; and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are 2.4 times 
more likely to be diagnosed with AIDS.
  Cancer is the number one killer of Asian American Pacific Islanders 
and the second leading cause of death for most other racial and ethnic 
minorities in the United States. Cancer also affects African Americans 
at particularly alarming rates and has a disproportionate prevalence in 
the population of Hispanic women, who are 1.6 times more likely to be 
diagnosed with cervical cancer than non-Hispanic women. In addition, 
Native Americans are twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to develop 
stomach or liver cancer.
  The infant mortality rates for African Americans are one-and-a-half 
to 3 times higher than the rates for infants born to women of other 
races and ethnicities. Hispanic individuals are three times more likely 
to be diagnosed with AIDS than Caucasian individuals. As our nation 
continues to struggle with obesity, trends show increasingly high rates 
of obesity in minority groups, with young Mexican-American men under 
the age of 20 experiencing obesity at a rate of 25 percent of the 
population, while white men of the same age have a rate of just 15 
percent.
  Circulatory diseases are a growing problem in the Pacific region. 
These diseases not only lower patients' quality of life, but they are 
also very costly. Data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and 
Quality shows that eliminating preventable hospitalizations that are 
associated with lower incomes would save $6.7 billion in health care 
costs each year. However, the numbers alone do not capture the full 
extent of health disparities since there are additional issues with 
data collection and multiple factors often contribute to deaths.
  In 2005, I introduced a similar piece of legislation, S. 1580, 
because many of the indigenous and ethnic minority communities across 
the United States and its territories lacked essential access to health 
care and suffered from certain key diseases at disproportionately high 
rates. The bill I am introducing today addresses many of the same 
issues and also takes into account the strong advances made by the 
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In 2008, the landmark 
health care reform legislation laid the foundation to start reducing 
some of those health disparities. Senator Inouye and I are introducing 
this legislation today to build on the work of the Affordable Care Act, 
and to advance the national discussion on how we can better achieve 
health equity.
  While the Affordable Care Act expanded care in diverse communities 
across the country, such as Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and 
Pacific Islanders, it is important that we take further steps to ensure 
that all Americans, regardless of racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, 
physical, and geographic circumstances, have affordable access to high-
quality health care. Because the causes of health care disparities are 
wide-ranging, the scope of this bill must be equally encompassing. 
Therefore, my bill focuses on two main strategies: first, encouraging 
research on diseases and conditions that disproportionately impact 
minority individuals; and second, improving access to effective care 
for minority communities.

  We must make it easier to identify existing disparities through 
comprehensive data collection, ensure workforce diversity, target 
diseases that disproportionately affect minorities, and make culturally 
and linguistically appropriate health care services available to all.
  We need more comprehensive data on the most significant health care 
problems experienced by minority individuals and the factors that play 
a role in how these diseases affect different communities. The more we 
know about the way populations are affected by disease, the better 
prepared health care professionals will be to create strategies to both 
treat and prevent each high-impact disease in specific communities. My 
bill will help to accomplish this by strengthening both data collection 
and the reporting of health data.
  To complement our efforts in data collection, we must also target 
disease awareness education and effective preventative services towards 
communities with large populations of ethnic and racial minorities at 
high risk for certain diseases. Community-based programs as well as 
comprehensive disease-specific programs already in place are helping to 
ensure that the health needs of minority communities are being met. My 
legislation would revitalize efforts in community health and preventive 
services, which are the most cost-effective ways of providing care.
  This bill builds upon the Affordable Care Act's historic investment 
in prevention and calls for resources to target communities striving to 
overcome negative social factors. This bill encourages these 
investments and focuses on preventing fatal diseases, which could save 
thousands of lives each year and lower health care costs.
  Although prevention plays a critical role in finding ways to close 
disparities, we also have to invest in research to develop better 
treatment plans for diseases that disproportionately affect indigenous, 
racial, and ethnic minorities, and to ensure that currently underserved 
communities have access to care. My bill proposes focused approaches to 
combat a variety of diseases and conditions, including heart disease, 
cancer, diabetes, and HIV/

[[Page S2831]]

AIDS, which have a disparate impact on racial and ethnic minorities. 
This legislation also helps to provide affordable and culturally 
appropriate access to care in several ways.
  My bill, the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2012, includes 
proposals to remove significant barriers to health care coverage and 
access and maximize the positive impact of federal investments in 
health care in minority communities. For example, it would re-establish 
Medicaid eligibility for citizens of the Compact of Free Association 
nations living in the United States. This would greatly ease the 
financial burden on States like Hawaii and Arkansas, which have been 
forced to absorb the costs of providing health and social services, 
education, and public safety for Compact migrants in accordance with 
unfunded Federal mandates since 1996.
  My bill would also make health care more affordable and improve 
access by providing a 100 percent Federal Medicaid Assistance 
Percentage, FMAP, for Native Hawaiians who receive health care from 
Federally Qualified Health Centers or the Native Hawaiian Health Care 
System. The increased FMAP will ensure that Native Hawaiians have 
access to the essential health services provided by community health 
centers and the Native Hawaiian Health Care System. These provisions 
would provide treatment for Native Hawaiians that is similar to that 
already provided to Native Alaskans through the Indian Health Service 
or tribal organizations.
  This legislation will make it easier for minorities with cultural and 
language barriers to improve their health outcomes by enhancing 
language access services, making health literacy a priority in patient 
care, and making sure there is culturally competent care in the health 
care delivery system. My bill will support professionals who are well-
equipped to provide quality health care that is culturally and 
linguistically appropriate. As a part of this effort, this legislation 
creates training opportunities for willing and competent minority 
candidates to enter the health care workforce.
  The Health Equity and Accountability Act also seeks to ensure that 
communities of color benefit from the rapid advances in health 
information technology, or health IT. It also encourages new 
investments in health IT infrastructure, which will serve as the 
foundation for improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency for 
all Americans in our future health care system. Improvements in health 
IT and health IT infrastructure will also make it possible for rural 
communities to access mobile health services and other treatment and 
diagnostics that were previously unavailable.
  Another vital service that my bill seeks to make more accessible is 
mental health care. The Affordable Care Act fundamentally improved 
services for individuals with mental health and addiction disorders. 
Despite the improvements, mental health treatment remains 
underutilized, especially by minorities, due to social stigma and 
cultural resistance. To develop access and encourage treatment, my bill 
incorporates culturally competent strategies to address mental and 
behavioral health problems affecting minority communities and 
authorizes investment in researching and treating these serious 
conditions.
  However, we cannot simply put these provisions in place and believe 
that they will eliminate all health disparities. We must have 
accountability and regular evaluation of these programs to ensure they 
are being carried out as they were intended, and that they are meeting 
their goals. To that end, my bill strengthens oversight by the 
Department of Health and Human Services, requiring the Department to 
make regular scheduled reports to Congress on the impact of these 
initiatives to ensure that they are continuing to reduce health 
disparities.
  April is National Minority Health Month, and as we work diligently to 
transform health care in America, it is essential that we strive to 
eliminate the health disparities that affect our minority groups. This 
bill would significantly improve the quality of life for indigenous 
people, ethnic and racial minorities, as well as other marginalized 
groups. I encourage my colleagues to support this legislation, and 
begin an open dialogue on how we can close the gap in health care 
across the country.

                          ____________________