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Calendar No. 191
105th Congress Report
1st Session 105-96
LAND EXCHANGES IN COLORADO
October 6, 1997.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany S. 587]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the bill (S. 587) to require the Secretary of the
Interior to exchange certain lands located in Hinsdale County,
Colorado, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon
with an amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do
The amendment is as follows:
Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu
thereof the following:
SECTION 1. LARSON AND FRIENDS CREEK EXCHANGE.
(a) In General.--In exchange for conveyance to the United States of
an equal value of offered land acceptable to the Secretary of the
Interior that lies within, or in proximity to, the Handies Peak
Wilderness Study Area, the Red Cloud Peak Wilderness Study Area, or the
Alpine Loop Backcountry Bi-way, in Hinsdale County, Colorado, the
Secretary of the Interior shall convey to Lake City Ranches, Ltd., a
Texas limited partnership (referred to in this section as ``LCR''),
approximately 560 acres of selected land located in that county and
generally depicted on a map entitled ``Larson and Friends Creek
Exchange'', dated June 1996.
(b) Contingency.--The exchange under subsection (a) shall be
contingent on the granting by LCR to the Secretary of a permanent
conservation easement, on the approximately 440-acre Larson Creek
portion of the selected land (as depicted on the map), that limits
future use of the land to agricultural, wildlife, recreational, or open
(c) Appraisal and Equalization--
(1) In general.--The exchange under subsection (a) shall be
(A) the appraisal requirements and equalization
payment limitations set forth in section 206 of the
Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43
U.S.C. 1716); and
(B) reviews and approvals relating to threatened
species and endangered species, cultural and historic
resources, and hazardous materials under other Federal
(2) Costs of appraisal and review.--The costs of appraisals
and reviews shall be paid by LCR.
(3) Crediting.--The Secretary may credit payments under
paragraph (2) against the value of the selected land, if
appropriate, under section 206(f) of the Federal Land Policy
and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1716(f)).
purpose of the bill
The purpose of S. 587, as ordered reported, is to direct an
equal value exchange of approximately 560 acres of Federal
lands in Colorado for private inholdings within the Handies
Peak or Red Cloud Peak Wilderness Study Areas or the Alpine
Loop Backcountry Bi-way.
background and need for legislation
S. 587 request the Secretary of the Interior to transfer
approximately 560 acres of land currently managed by the Bureau
of Land Management (BLM) near Hinsdale, Colorado, to Lake City
Ranches, Ltd (LCR), a Texas limited partnership. In return, the
BLM will receive lands of equal value within the Handies Peak
or Red Cloud Peak Wilderness Study Areas or the Alpine Loop
Backcountry Bi-way. The exchange must be acceptable to the
Secretary of the Interior and is contingent upon LCR granting a
permanent conservation easement on approximately 440 of the 560
acres offered for exchange by the BLM. The permanent
conservation easement will limit future use of the 440 acres to
agricultural, wildlife, recreational, or open space purposes.
The inholdings offered for exchange by LCR will consolidate
existing BLM lands located within the boundaries of, or in
proximity to, either the Handies Peak or Red Cloud Wilderness
Study Areas or along the Alpine Loop Backcountry Bi-way.
Acquiring existing inholdings within areas such as these is a
top priority of the BLM Furthermore, the 560 acres offered for
exchange by the BLM to LCR are surrounded by private property,
thereby limiting public access and use.
This land exchange has wide support and is currently
endorsed by environmental groups, such as the Wilderness
Society, the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the
Colorado Environmental Coalition, as well as local government
entities, such as Club 20 (an association of 20 counties in
Colorado) and the Hinsdale County Board of County
summary of major provisions
S. 587 requires the Secretary of the Interior to exchange
approximately 560 acres of land near Hinsdale, Colorado, to
Lake City Ranches, Ltd (LCR), a Texas limited partnership. The
land exchange is subject to the standard appraisal requirements
and to reviews and approvals relating to threatened or
endangered species, hazardous materials, and cultural and
historic resources. The costs of the appraisals will be paid by
LCR. However, the Secretary may credit such payments against
the value of the selected land pursuant to applicable law. In
exchange for this conveyance, the United States will receive
land of equal value acceptable to the Secretary of the Interior
that lies within, or in proximity to, the Handies Park
Wilderness Study Area, the Red Cloud Peak Wilderness Study
Area, or the Alpine Loop Backcountry Bi-way in Hinsdale County.
This exchange is contingent upon Lake City Ranches granting a
permanent conservation easement on approximately 440 acres of
the land it receives pursuant to the exchange.
S. 587 was introduced by Senator Campbell on April 16,
1997. On June 18, 1997, the Subcommittee on Forests and Public
Land Management held a hearing on S. 587. At the business
meeting on September 24, 1997, the Committee on Energy and
Natural Resources ordered S. 587, as amended, favorably
reported. A companion bill, H.R. 951, passed the House by voice
vote on July 8, 1997.
committee recommendation and tabulation of votes
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open
business session on September 24, 1997, by a unanimous voice
vote of the quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S.
587, if amended as described herein.
During the consideration of S. 587, the Committee adopted
an amendment in the nature of a substitute that incorporates
changes recommended by the Administration and makes technical
and clarifying modifications.
cost and budgetary considerations
The cost and budgetary considerations prepared by the
Congressional Budget Office are as follows:
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, September 26, 1997.
Hon. Frank H. Murkowski,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate,
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 587, a bill to
require the Secretary of the Interior to exchange certain lands
located in Hinsdale County, Colorado.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Victoria V.
June E. O'Neill, Director.
S. 587--A bill to require the Secretary of the Interior to exchange
certain lands located in Hinsdale County, Colorado
CBO estimates that enacting this bill would have no
significant impact on the federal budget. Because S. 587 could
affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures would apply;
however, CBO estimates that any such effects would be
negligible. S. 587 contains no intergovernmental or private-
sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
of 1995 and would have no significant impact on the budgets of
state, local, or tribal governments.
S. 587 would require the Secretary of the Interior to
convey about 560 acres of federal land to Lake City Ranches,
Ltd. (LCR), if LCR conveys to the federal government land of
equal value that is acceptable to the Secretary. The bill would
require LCR to cover the costs of any appraisals or other
reviews required to complete the exchange, but also provides
that the costs of such appraisals and reviews may be credited
against the value of the federal land to be acquired by LCR.
Because there may be some grazing and right-of-way permits on
the federal land to be exchanged, enacting S. 587 could have a
small effect on offsetting receipts to the government. Based on
information from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), CBO
estimates that any such budgetary effects would be negligible.
According to BLM, the provisions of S. 587 could be
implemented through administrative action except that under
current law about 440 acres of the federal land are designated
as a wilderness study area (WSA). Enacting this bill would
require the Secretary to convey the federal land despite its
WSA status, thereby allowing the land exchange to go forward.
The bill would make the exchange contingent upon LCR granting
to the Secretary a permanent conservation easement on the 440
acres of federal land that currently have WSA status.
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Victoria V.
Heid. This estimate was approved by Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
regulatory impact evaluation
In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in
carrying out S. 587. The bill is not a regulatory measure in
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals
No personal information would be collected in administering
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal
Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the
enactment of S. 587, as ordered, reported.
The Administration testified in favor of the legislation at
a June 18, 1997 hearing held by the Subcommittee on Forests and
Public Land Management. Legislative reports from the Department
of the Interior, and the Office of Management and Budget
setting forth Executive agency recommendations on S. 587 were
unavailable when the report was filed. When these reports
become available, the Chairman will request that they be
printed in the Congressional Record for the advice of the
The Administration testimony is attached.
Statement of Mat Millenbach, Deputy Director, Bureau of Land Management
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I appreciate
the opportunity to appear here today to discuss S. 587, a bill
a require the Secretary of the Interior to exchange certain
lands located in Hinsdale, Colorado.
The BLM supports S. 587 which would allow for the
completion of a significant land exchange in Hinsdale County,
Colorado. This land exchange, beneficial both to the public and
the local community, cannot be completed without legislation.
The bill provides for an equal value exchange of three
parcels of public land involving 560 acres for private lands in
Hinsdale County, Colorado. Legislation will solve a land status
restriction preventing the exchange of two of the parcels
containing 440 acres that are within the Larson Creek
Wilderness Study Area (WSA) and are subject to wilderness
interim management restrictions. When the adjacent lands were
designated a part of the Uncompahgre Wilderness Area and
incorporated into the adjacent Uncompahgre National Forest as
part of 1993 Colorado Wilderness Bill (P.L. 103-77), these 440
acres were neither designated wilderness nor were they released
from wilderness Interim Management Policy (IMP) restrictions.
The IMP requires that the lands remain in Federal ownership.
Since that legislation became law, we have determined that
these lands are not best suited for continued Federal ownership
and management. These particular parcels are isolated and
difficult and uneconomic for BLM to manage because they are
bordered on three sides by private land owned by Lake City
Ranches (LCR), totally restricting access.
The exchange is contingent upon LCR granting the Secretary
of the Interior a permanent conservation easement on the 440
acre ``Larson Creek Portin''--which currently has WSA status.
The conservation easement will limit the future use of the
``Larson Creek Portion'' to agricultural, wildlife,
recreational, or open space purposes, thereby protecting the
existing resource values on these lands.
The bill provides that the BLM will acquire private
inholdings within or adjacent to the Handies Peak or Red Cloud
WSAs or along the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway in Hinsdale
County. The exact lands are not described in the bill because
the legislation provides for a full analysis of the transaction
including resource assessments and appraisals. LCR has options
on eight properties which the BLM in Colorado is currently
reviewing. The WSW's and backcountry byway described in the
bill are among the BLM Gunnison Resource Area's highest
priority land acquisitions because of the important wilderness,
wildlife, and recreational values.
The bill provides for an equal value exchange which will
require appraisals of both the public and private lands. The
lands will be appraised to federal appraisal standards by an
appraiser acceptable to both BLM and LCR. A NEPA analysis will
be completed as will all required resource clearances (e.g.,
threatened and endangered species, cultural and historic
resources, and hazardous materials). The bill provides that the
cost of the analysis and clearance will be paid by LCR. These
costs may subsequently be credited against the value of the
public land, if appropriate.
This proposal is supported by the Hinsdale County
Commissioners, Sierra Club, Rocky Mountain Chapter, and
Colorado Environmental Coalition.
Changes in Existing Law
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no
changes in existing law are made by the Act S. 587, as ordered