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                                                       Calendar No. 627
108th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     108-303

======================================================================



 
                        RIO GRANDE NATURAL AREA

                                _______
                                

                 July 13, 2004.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Domenici, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1467]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1467) to establish the Rio Grande 
Outstanding Natural Area in the State of Colorado, and for 
other purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably 
thereon with an amendment and an amendment to the title and 
recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendments are as follows:
    1. Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in 
lieu thereof the following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Rio Grande Natural Area Act''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Rio Grande 
        Natural Area Commission established by section 4(a).
          (2) Natural area.--The term ``Natural Area'' means the Rio 
        Grande Natural Area established by section 3(a).
          (3) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
        the Interior.

SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT OF RIO GRANDE NATURAL AREA.

  (a) In General.--There is established the Rio Grande Natural Area in 
the State of Colorado to conserve, restore, and protect the natural, 
historic, cultural, scientific, scenic, wildlife, and recreational 
resources of the Natural Area.
  (b) Boundaries.--The Natural Area shall include the Rio Grande River 
from the southern boundary of the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge to 
the New Mexico State border, extending \1/4\ mile on either side of the 
bank of the River.
  (c) Map and Legal Description.--
          (1) In general.--As soon as practicable after the date of 
        enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prepare a map and 
        legal description of the Natural Area.
          (2) Effect.--The map and legal description of the Natural 
        Area shall have the same force and effect as if included in 
        this Act, except that the Secretary may correct any minor 
        errors in the map and legal description.
          (3) Public availability.--The map and legal description of 
        the Natural Area shall be available for public inspection in 
        the appropriate offices of the Bureau of Land Management.

SEC. 4. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE COMMISSION.

  (a) Establishment.--There is established the Rio Grande Natural Area 
Commission.
  (b) Purpose.--The Commission shall--
          (1) advise the Secretary with respect to the Natural Area; 
        and
          (2) prepare a management plan relating to non-Federal land in 
        the Natural Area under section 6(b)(2)(A).
  (c) Membership.--The Commission shall be composed of 9 members 
appointed by the Secretary, of whom--
          (1) 1 member shall represent the Colorado State Director of 
        the Bureau of Land Management;
          (2) 1 member shall be the manager of the Alamosa National 
        Wildlife Refuge, ex officio;
          (3) 3 members shall be appointed based on the recommendation 
        of the Governor of Colorado, of whom--
                  (A) 1 member shall represent the Colorado Division of 
                Wildlife;
                  (B) 1 member shall represent the Colorado Division of 
                Water Resources; and
                  (C) 1 member shall represent the Rio Grande Water 
                Conservation District; and
          (4) 4 members shall--
                  (A) represent the general public;
                  (B) be citizens of the local region in which the 
                Natural Area is established; and
                  (C) have knowledge and experience in the fields of 
                interest relating to the preservation, restoration, and 
                use of the Natural Area.
  (d) Terms of Office.--
          (1) In general.--Except for the manager of the Alamosa 
        National Wildlife Refuge, the term of office of a member of the 
        Commission shall be 5 years.
          (2) Reappointment.--A member may be reappointed to the 
        Commission on completion of the term of office of the member.
  (e) Compensation.--A member of the Commission shall serve without 
compensation for service on the Commission.
  (f) Chairperson.--The Commission shall elect a chairperson of the 
Commission.
  (g) Meetings.--
          (1) In general.--The Commission shall meet at least quarterly 
        at the call of the chairperson.
          (2) Public meetings.--A meeting of the Commission shall be 
        open to the public.
          (3) Notice.--Notice of any meeting of the Commission shall be 
        published in advance of the meeting.
  (h) Technical Assistance.--The Secretary and the heads of other 
Federal agencies shall, to the maximum extent practicable, provide any 
information and technical services requested by the Commission to 
assist in carrying out the duties of the Commission.

SEC. 5. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.

  (a) Hearings.--The Commission may hold such hearings, meet and act at 
such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence 
as the Commission considers advisable to carry out this Act.
  (b) Cooperative Agreements.--
          (1) In general.--For purposes of carrying out the management 
        plan on non-Federal land in the Natural Area, the Commission 
        may enter into a cooperative agreement with the State of 
        Colorado, a political subdivision of the State, or any person.
          (2) Requirements.--A cooperative agreement entered into under 
        paragraph (1) shall establish procedures for providing notice 
        to the Commission of any action proposed by the State of 
        Colorado, a political subdivision of the State, or any person 
        that may affect the implementation of the management plan on 
        non-Federal land in the Natural Area.
          (3) Effect.--A cooperative agreement entered into under 
        paragraph (1) shall not enlarge or diminish any right or duty 
        of a Federal agency under Federal law.
  (c) Prohibition of Acquisition of Real Property.--The Commission may 
not acquire any real property or interest in real property.
  (d) Implementation of Management Plan.--
          (1) In general.--The Commission shall assist the Secretary in 
        implementing the management plan by carrying out the activities 
        described in paragraph (2) to preserve and interpret the 
        natural, historic, cultural, scientific, scenic, wildlife, and 
        recreational resources of the Natural Area.
          (2) Authorized activities.--In assisting with the 
        implementation of the management plan under paragraph (1), the 
        Commission may--
                  (A) assist the State of Colorado in preserving State 
                land and wildlife within the Natural Area;
                  (B) assist the State of Colorado and political 
                subdivisions of the State in increasing public 
                awareness of, and appreciation for, the natural, 
                historic, scientific, scenic, wildlife, and 
                recreational resources in the Natural Area;
                  (C) encourage political subdivisions of the State of 
                Colorado to adopt and implement land use policies that 
                are consistent with--
                          (i) the management of the Natural Area; and
                          (ii) the management plan; and
                  (D) encourage and assist private landowners in the 
                Natural Area in the implementation of the management 
                plan.

SEC. 6. MANAGEMENT PLAN.

  (a) In General.--Not later than 4 years after the date of enactment 
of this Act, the Secretary and the Commission, in coordination with 
appropriate agencies in the State of Colorado, political subdivisions 
of the State, and private landowners in the Natural Area, shall prepare 
management plans for the Natural Area as provided in subsection (b).
  (b) Duties of Secretary and Commission.--
          (1) Secretary.--The Secretary shall prepare a management plan 
        relating to the management of Federal land in the Natural Area.
          (2) Commission.--
                  (A) In general.--The Commission shall prepare a 
                management plan relating to the management of the non-
                Federal land in the Natural Area.
                  (B) Approval or disapproval.--
                          (i) In general.--The Commission shall submit 
                        to the Secretary the management plan prepared 
                        under subparagraph (A) for approval or 
                        disapproval.
                          (ii) Action following disapproval.--If the 
                        Secretary disapproves the management plan 
                        submitted under clause (i), the Secretary 
                        shall--
                                  (I) notify the Commission of the 
                                reasons for the disapproval; and
                                  (II) allow the Commission to submit 
                                to the Secretary revisions to the 
                                management plan submitted under clause 
                                (i).
          (3) Cooperation.--The Secretary and the Commission shall 
        cooperate to ensure that the management plans relating to the 
        management of Federal land and non-Federal land are consistent.
  (c) Requirements.--The management plans shall--
          (1) take into consideration Federal, State, and local plans 
        in existence on the date of enactment of this Act to present a 
        unified preservation, restoration, and conservation plan for 
        the Natural Area;
          (2) with respect to Federal land in the Natural Area--
                  (A) be developed in accordance with section 202 of 
                the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 
                U.S.C. 1712);
                  (B) be consistent, to the maximum extent practicable, 
                with the management plans adopted by the Director of 
                the Bureau of Land Management for land adjacent to the 
                Natural Area; and
                  (C) be considered to be an amendment to the San Luis 
                Resource Management Plan of the Bureau of Land 
                Management; and
          (3) include--
                  (A) an inventory of the resources contained in the 
                Natural Area (including a list of property in the 
                Natural Area that should be preserved, restored, 
                managed, developed, maintained, or acquired to further 
                the purposes of the Natural Area); and
                  (B) a recommendation of policies for resource 
                management, including the use of intergovernmental 
                cooperative agreements, that--
                          (i) protect the resources of the Natural 
                        Area; and
                          (ii) provide for solitude, quiet use, and 
                        pristine natural values of the Natural Area.
  (d) Publication.--The Secretary shall publish notice of the 
management plans in the Federal Register.

SEC. 7. ADMINISTRATION OF NATURAL AREA.

  (a) In General.--The Secretary shall administer the Federal land in 
the Natural Area--
          (1) in accordance with--
                  (A) the laws (including regulations) applicable to 
                public land; and
                  (B) the management plan; and
          (2) in a manner that provides for--
                  (A) the conservation, restoration, and protection of 
                the natural, historic, scientific, scenic, wildlife, 
                and recreational resources of the Natural Area;
                  (B) the continued use of the Natural Area for 
                purposes of education, scientific study, and limited 
                public recreation in a manner that does not 
                substantially impair the purposes for which the Natural 
                Area is established;
                  (C) the protection of the wildlife habitat of the 
                Natural Area;
                  (D) a prohibition on the construction of water 
                storage facilities in the Natural Area; and
                  (E) the reduction in the use of or removal of roads 
                in the Natural Area and, to the maximum extent 
                practicable, the reduction in or prohibition against 
                the use of motorized vehicles in the Natural Area 
                (including the removal of roads and a prohibition 
                against motorized use on Federal land in the area on 
                the western side of the Rio Grande River from Lobatos 
                Bridge south to the New Mexico State line).
  (b) Changes in Streamflow.--The Secretary is encouraged to negotiate 
with the State of Colorado, the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, 
and affected water users in the State to determine if changes in the 
streamflow that are beneficial to the Natural Area may be accommodated.
  (c) Private Land.--The management plan prepared under section 
6(b)(2)(A) shall apply to private land in the Natural Area only to the 
extent that the private landowner agrees in writing to be bound by the 
management plan.
  (d) Withdrawal.--Subject to valid existing rights, all Federal land 
in the Natural Area is withdrawn from--
          (1) all forms of entry, appropriation, or disposal under the 
        public land laws;
          (2) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and
          (3) disposition under the mineral leasing laws (including 
        geothermal leasing laws).
  (e) Acquisition of Land.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary may acquire from willing 
        sellers by purchase, exchange, or donation land or an interest 
        in land in the Natural Area.
          (2) Administration.--Any land or interest in land acquired 
        under paragraph (1) shall be administered in accordance with 
        the management plan and this Act.
  (f) Applicable Law.--Section 5(d)(1) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers 
Act (16 U.S.C. 1276(d)(1)) shall not apply to the Natural Area.

SEC. 8. EFFECT.

  Nothing in this Act--
          (1) amends, modifies, or is in conflict with the Rio Grande 
        Compact, consented to by Congress in the Act of May 31, 1939 
        (53 Stat. 785, ch. 155);
          (2) authorizes the regulation of private land in the Natural 
        Area;
          (3) authorizes the imposition of any mandatory streamflow 
        requirements;
          (4) creates an express or implied Federal reserved water 
        right;
          (5) imposes any Federal water quality standard within or 
        upstream of the Natural Area that is more restrictive than 
        would be applicable had the Natural Area not been established; 
        or
          (6) prevents the State of Colorado from acquiring an instream 
        flow through the Natural Area under the terms, conditions, and 
        limitations of State law to assist in protecting the natural 
        environment to the extent and for the purposes authorized by 
        State law.

SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

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

SEC. 10. TERMINATION OF COMMISSION.

  The Commission shall terminate on the date that is 10 years after the 
date of enactment of this Act.

  2. Amend the title so as to read: ``A bill to establish the 
Rio Grande Natural Area in the State of Colorado, and for other 
purposes.''.

                         PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE

    The purpose of S. 1467 is to establish a 33-mile stretch of 
the Rio Grande River between the Alamosa Wildlife Refuge and 
the Colorado and New Mexico state line as a Natural Area, to be 
administered by the Bureau of Land Management, to promote the 
protection and restoration of the riparian zone of the Rio 
Grande.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    Federal, State, and local officials have looked for a way 
to restore and protect the riparian zone of the Rio Grande 
River in southern Colorado without creating a management 
structure that would conflict with the long-standing water uses 
upstream and the agricultural uses in the San Luis Valley. This 
group has worked together collaboratively to develop a proposal 
for federal designation that protects the resources of concern 
and that protects property rights and existing uses.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 1467 was introduced by Senator Campbell on July 25, 
2003. The Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests held a 
hearing on S. 1467 on November 18, 2003. At the business 
meeting on June 16, 2004, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources ordered S. 1467, as amended, favorably reported.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on June 16, 2004, by a unanimous vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 1467, if 
amended as described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

    During the consideration of S. 1467, the Committee adopted 
an amendment in the nature of a substitute. The amendment 
designates the area as the ``Rio Grande Natural Area'' and 
clarifies the roles of the Department of the Interior and the 
Rio Grande Natural Area Commission in developing and 
administering management plans for the area. The amendment is 
explained in detail in the section by section analysis below.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 entitles the bill the ``Rio Grande Natural Area 
Act''.
    Section 2 provides definitions used in the bill.
    Section 3 provides for the establishment of the Rio Grande 
Natural Area, defines its boundaries as including the river 
from the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge to the Colorado-New 
Mexico State line and extending \1/4\ mile on either side of 
the river.
    Section 4 establishes the Rio Grande Natural Area 
Commission which is to be made up of 9 members, consisting of 2 
officials of the Department of the Interior, 2 officials of the 
State of Colorado, 1 representative of the Rio Grande Water 
Conservation District, and 4 individuals representing the 
general public. The section also provides guidance on how the 
Commission will operate.
    Section 5 establishes the powers and duties of the 
Commission.
    Section 6 provides guidance on the preparation of 
management plans, one for the non-Federal lands within the 
Natural Area, prepared by the Commission, and one for the 
Federal lands within the Natural Area, prepared by the 
Secretary of the Interior. The section directs that the 
Secretary and the Commission are to cooperate to ensure that 
the two plans are consistent.
    Section 7 provides self-explanatory direction for the 
administration of the Natural Area. Paragraph 7(a)(2)(D) 
prohibits the construction of water storage facilities in the 
Natural Area. This paragraph is not intended to preclude the 
continuing use and operation, repair, rehabilitation, 
expansion, or new construction of water supply facilities, 
water or wastewater treatment facilities, stormwater 
facilities, public utilities, or common carriers along the Rio 
Grande River and its tributaries upstream of the Natural Area.
    Section 8 describes the effects on water rights, changes to 
stream flow, and private lands.
    Section 9 authorizes appropriation of funds.
    Section 10 directs the termination of the Commission after 
a period of 10 years.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
prepared by the Congressional Budget Office.

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, June 22, 2004.
 Hon. Pete V. Domenici,
 Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
 U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
     Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1467, the Rio Grande 
Natural Area Act.
     If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Megan 
Carroll.
             Sincerely,
                                         Elizabeth Robinson
                               (For Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Director).
     Enclosure.

 S. 1467--Rio Grande Natural Area Act

     CBO estimates that S. 1467 would not significantly affect 
the federal budget. The bill could affect direct spending, but 
we estimate that any such effects would be negligible. S. 1467 
would not affect revenues. S. 1467 contains no 
intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on 
state, local, or tribal governments.
     S. 1467 would establish the Rio Grande Natural Area on 
roughly 10,000 acres of federal and nonfederal land surrounding 
a 33.3-mile segment of the Rio Grande River in Colorado. The 
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would manage federal land 
within the proposed natural area. S. 1467 would establish a 
commission to develop and implement a plan to manage nonfederal 
land within the proposed area. Based on information from BLM, 
CBO estimates that increased costs to operate that commission 
and manage federal land within the area would total less than 
$500,000 annually, assuming the availability of appropriated 
funds.
     The bill would withdraw federal land within the proposed 
area from programs to develop natural resources. According to 
BLM, that land currently generates no significant receipts and 
is not expected to do so over the next 10 years. Hence, we 
estimate that the proposed withdrawal could have a negligible 
effect on offsetting receipts (a credit against direct 
spending).
     The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Megan Carroll. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, 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. 1467. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 1467, as ordered reported.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The pertinent legislative report received by the Committee 
from the Department of the Interior setting forth Executive 
agency recommendations relating to S. 1467 is set forth below:

                   U.S. Department of the Interior,
                                   Office of the Secretary,
                                 Washington, DC, December 18, 2003.
 Hon. Pete V. Domenici,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: This letter sets forth the views of the 
Department of the Interior on S. 1467, the Rio Grande 
Outstanding Natural Area Act. The Administration could support 
the legislation with a number of modifications.
    From its headwaters in Colorado's San Juan Mountains, the 
Rio Grande flows south through Colorado, bisecting New Mexico, 
then crossing into Texas where it forms the U.S./Mexico border 
until emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. At 1,885 miles long, 
the Rio Grande is the fifth longest river in North America (and 
among the 20 longest in the world). Its flowing waters have 
been essential to survival for prehistoric, historic, and 
present day populations.
    North from the New Mexico border into Colorado is a 33-mile 
stretch of the Rio Grande River that is outstanding for many 
reasons. Natural and undeveloped, this free flowing river is 
home to extensive wildlife, Significant for its recreational, 
scientific and educational uses, the area is dominated by 
sweeping views and a long history. Through multiple land 
acquisitions from willing sellers, the BLM has acquired a 
continuous 20-mile stretch of lands along the western bank of 
the Rio Grande now designated as the Rio Grande Corridor Area 
of Critical Environmental Concern.
    The people who live in the San Luis Valley have come 
together in a collaborative fashion to find ways to further 
protect and enhance this stretch of this historic river. 
Discussions about protection of the corridor began following 
completion of the BLM's 1991 San Luis Resource Management Plan. 
As part of the plan, BLM conducted a wild and scenic rivers 
eligibility and suitability analysis and ultimately recommended 
that stakeholders interested in the river create ``some 
enduring form of protection.'' The legislation being considered 
today is a result of that stakeholder process.
    S. 1467, the Rio Grande Outstanding Natural Area Act, was 
introduced on July 28th of this year. The bill's stated purpose 
is to conserve, restore, and protect this special resource. It 
does this by establishing the Rio Grande Outstanding Natural 
Area along a 33.3 mile segment of the Rio Grande from the New 
Mexico border north to the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge in 
a corridor about \1/4\ mile wide on either side of the river. 
The overall area includes over 10,000 acres, approximately 35% 
of which is BLM-managed public land. The remainder is private 
land.
    The bill establishes a commission whose purpose is to work 
with Federal, State and local authorities to develop an 
integrated resource management plan for the area. We support 
this type of collaborative effort. The Secretary's 4Cs envision 
just this type of endeavor. However, as currently drafted, we 
have concerns about the bill's use of a commission as a means 
of advising the Secretary on land management decisions 
affecting this area. Specifically, the bill does not address 
the funding source for the commission, and does not make clear 
the nature of the commission's advisory role, or its impact on 
affected private property interests. Given these concerns, we 
believe an advisory council is a more appropriate vehicle for 
this collaboration. Chartered under the Federal Advisory 
Committee Act (FACA), an advisory council would be able to fill 
many of the same roles as the proposed commission. The BLM 
currently works with 39 advisory councils. They range from our 
23 Resource Advisory Councils (RACs), which provide advice on 
multiple use management of public lands within a state or 
region of a state, to area-specific advisory councils, such as 
the Steens Mountain Advisory Council or the Canyons of the 
Ancients National Monument Advisory Committee in southwestern 
Colorado. All recommendations by advisory councils are 
considered by the BLM's State/field offices and by the 
Washington office when making decisions about the management of 
public lands.
    In addition, we would like to work on clarifications to 
this section to ensure that the BLM continues to have final 
responsibility for planning for the Federal lands. A single 
plan covering the entire river corridor is still viable, 
provided it is clear that the BLM has ultimate planning 
authority for the Federal lands. It is our understanding that 
the focus of this process would be restoration of the historic 
riparian community along the river. Specifically, issues of 
livestock movement through the largely unfenced river corridor, 
designation of vehicle access routes to minimize impact on 
riparian vegetation, and management of riparian habitat on BLM 
lands are likely to be addressed.
    Undertaking a management plan is a time-consuming task 
requiring extensive resources and expertise. We believe the 
time deadlines and other specifics of the planning sections 
established in the bill may be overly optimistic. In order to 
ensure a fully cooperative, collaborative, and consultative 
process that is consistent with the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) and other laws and regulations, we would urge 
longer timeframes. We would be pleased to work with the sponsor 
and the Committee to address this concern.
    While the southern Colorado stretch of the Rio Grande is 
truly outstanding, we would recommend that the sponsor of the 
bill consider whether a different designation for this area 
might be preferred. Currently, the BLM manages only one 
``Outstanding Natural Area'' (ONA), the Yaquina Head ONA, 
located on the Oregon coast. Yaquina Head ONA is a tourist 
destination with an emphasis on visitation. Because visitation 
is not a stated goal in this area, we are concerned that using 
the same terminology could result in confusion. Possible 
alternatives would be a ``cooperative management and protection 
area,'' such as exists in eastern Oregon in the Steens 
Mountains, or ``cooperative river management area.'' We would 
be pleased to work with the sponsor and the Committee to 
resolve this concern.
    There are additional technical issues we would like to work 
on as well. For example, we would like the opportunity to work 
with the sponsor and the Committee on an accurate map of the 
proposed area.
    Additionally, Section 11(a) of the bill calls for the 
revocation of any existing reservations on the public lands 
within the area. There are two such reservations. The first is 
a 1949 administrative withdrawal of approximately 2,700 acres 
for the purpose of future hydroelectric development (this 
withdrawal covers lands both in southern Colorado and northern 
New Mexico). The second is a 1939 Executive Order creating 
public water reserves for the purpose of livestock and domestic 
access. These reservations are no longer necessary, because in 
the former case, hydroelectric development has been rejected as 
a viable option for this section of the river and in the later 
case because access to the Rio Grande now exists due to 
subsequent BLM land acquisitions. As written, the language only 
revokes the portion of the reservation within the quarter mile 
river corridor, and could result in unnecessary management 
confusion. As all of these reservations are river-based, we 
advocate a complete revocation of the reservations in lieu of a 
partial revocation.
    Section 11(c) of the bill withdraws the public lands within 
the newly designated area from a host of public laws and 
provisions. To avoid confusion, we would recommend a standard 
withdrawal from location, entry, appropriation and/or patent 
under the public land laws and mining laws as well as from 
operations of the mineral leasing, mineral materials, and 
geothermal leasing laws. Such a standard withdrawal will foster 
clear understanding and, we believe, reflects the intent of the 
sponsor.
    The Administration supports sections 9(c), 13, and 14 
regarding water rights. This language makes clear that the 
designations in this Act shall not be construed to constitute 
an express or implied water right.
    We believe the goals of this legislation are worthy and we 
support them wholeheartedly. The local support for this 
proposal is just the kind of effort that this Department and 
this Administration encourages. We believe that by working 
together cooperatively, this area of the Rio Grande can be a 
model for responsible stewardship of the land.
    The Office of Management and Budget has advised that there 
is no objection to the presentation of this report from the 
standpoint of the Administration's program.
            Sincerely,
                                            Rebecca Watson,
              Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management.

                        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 bill S. 1467, as 
ordered reported.