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109th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1st Session 109-311
ALBUQUERQUE BIOLOGICAL PARK TITLE CLARIFICATION ACT
November 18, 2005.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on
the State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Pombo, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany S. 229]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill
(S. 229) to clear title to certain real property in New Mexico
associated with the Middle Rio Grande Project, and for other
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon
without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
PURPOSE OF THE BILL
The purpose of S. 229 is to clear title to certain real
property in New Mexico associated with the Middle Rio Grande
Project, and for other purposes.
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION
The federal Middle Rio Grande Project was authorized in
1948 to control Rio Grande River flooding and to rehabilitate
the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District's water conveyance
facilities. As a result of the 1948 authorization, the District
and the Bureau of Reclamation of the Department of the Interior
entered into a 50 year repayment contract. The District
believed that under the contract the United States had only an
easement interest in the Project property. The District has
completed its repayment of the Project.
As a result of its reading of the repayment contract, the
District sold two properties associated with the Middle Rio
Grande Project to the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1997.
The City of Albuquerque bought the properties, Tingley Beach
and San Gabriel Park, for $3.8 million to develop a biological
park. The Tingley Beach property is approximately 25 acres and
the San Gabriel Park property is approximately 40 acres.
In 2000, however, the Bureau of Reclamation notified
Albuquerque that it actually owned the properties based upon
the federal agency's reading of the 1951 repayment contract.
The Bureau of Reclamation challenged the legitimacy of
Albuquerque's 1997 land transaction with the District, but both
the City and the District disputed Reclamation's claim. As a
result of litigation on this issue, a federal court ruled that
the Bureau of Reclamation holds title to the land unless
Congress specifically directs conveyance of the property.
This legislation directs the Secretary of the Interior to
issue a quit claim deed conveying any right, title, and
interest that the United States may have in the two properties
to the City of Albuquerque. This would resolve the title
dispute only as it pertains to the two properties.
The House companion measure to this bill is H.R. 2873,
authored by Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R-NM).
S. 229 was introduced on February 1, 2005, by Senator Jeff
Bingaman (D-NM). It was passed by the Senate by unanimous
consent on July 26, 2005. In the House of Representatives, the
bill was referred to the Committee on Resources, and within the
Committee to the Subcommittee on Water and Power. On October
19, 2005, the Full Resources Committee met to consider the
bill. The Subcommittee on Water and Power was discharged from
further consideration of the bill by unanimous consent. No
amendments were offered, and the bill was ordered favorably
reported to the House of Representatives by unanimous consent.
Section 1. Short title
This section cites the bill as ``Albuquerque Biological
Park Title Clarification Act.''
Section 2. Purpose
This section provides the purpose of the bill.
Section 3. Definitions
This section defines various terms in the bill.
Section 4. Clarification of property interest
This section requires the Secretary of the Interior issue a
quitclaim deed conveying any right, title and interest that the
United States may have in and to Tingley Beach and San Gabriel
Park. The deed must be issued as soon as practicable after
enactment of the legislation and would require no additional
payment from the City of Albuquerque.
Section 5. Other rights, title, and interest unaffected
Section 5 expressly states that this legislation does not
impact any portion of the Middle Rio Grande Project other than
Tingley Beach and San Gabriel Park. In addition, this section
ensures that the bill has no affect on Rio Grande Silvery
Minnow v. John W. Keys, III, a lawsuit currently pending in the
Federal court system.
COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee on Resources' oversight findings and recommendations
are reflected in the body of this report.
CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT
Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.
COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII
1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B)
of that Rule provides that this requirement does not apply when
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2)
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this
bill does not contain any new budget authority, spending
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in
revenues or tax expenditures.
3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. This bill does
not authorize funding and therefore, clause 3(c)(4) of rule
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives does not
4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate
for this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget
S. 229--Albuquerque Biological Park Title Clarification Act
CBO estimates that implementing S. 229 would have no
significant impact on the Federal budget. This bill would
direct the Secretary of the Interior to issue a quitclaim deed
conveying all right, title, and interest of the Federal
government in two pieces of property in New Mexico, to the city
of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The properties are known as Tingley
Beach and San Gabriel Park.
The Federal government currently does not generate any
income from these two pieces of property, nor does it spend any
funds to operate or maintain them. Tingley Beach and San
Gabriel Park are part of a larger reclamation project called
the Middle Rio Grande Project, which is operated primarily by
the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. The Federal
government and the district are currently involved in a lawsuit
regarding title to all of the lands in the Middle Rio Grande
Project. S. 229 would settle the title of the two pieces of
property by conveying them to the city of Albuquerque. The
government would not receive any compensation from the city for
Enacting S. 229 would not affect direct spending or
revenues. This legislation 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. Enacting this legislation would benefit the city
On February 11, 2005, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for
S. 229, the Albuquerque Biological Park Title Clarification
Act, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Energy and
Natural Resources on February 9, 2005. The House and Senate
versions of this legislation are identical, as are the two cost
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Rachel Milberg.
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4
This bill contains no unfunded mandates.
PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW
This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing