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                                                       Calendar No. 651
109th Congress                                                    Rept.
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     109-354

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



 
 PUEBLO OF ISLETA SETTLEMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES RESTORATION ACT OF 
                                  2006

                                _______
                                

               September 29, 2006.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. McCain, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 3648]

    The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the 
bill S. 3648 to compromise and settle all claims in the case of 
Pueblo of Isleta v. United States, to restore, improve, and 
develop the valuable on-reservation land and natural resources 
of the Pueblo, and for other purposes, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommends that the bill do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    S. 3648 will settle all claims that were raised or could 
have been raised by the Pueblo of Isleta against the United 
States under the Isleta Jurisdictional Act of 1996, and 
additionally will improve the drainage of the irrigated land, 
the health of the forest land, and other natural resources of 
the Pueblo.

                               BACKGROUND

    The Pueblo of Isleta (the ``Pueblo'') filed suit against 
the United States under the Isleta Jurisdictional Act of 1996, 
P.L. 104-198, which conferred jurisdiction on the United States 
Court of Federal Claims with respect to land claims of the 
Pueblo, alleging loss and injury to the Pueblo's lands and 
property interests because of mismanagement by the Federal 
government. The parties to the suit have spent several years 
reviewing and discussing these allegations, and this year the 
Pueblo, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department 
of the Interior have come to an agreement resolving those 
claims. S. 3648 codifies that agreement.
    Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the parties 
have agreed on how to use the settlement funds paid to the 
Pueblo. Some of the funds will be used for drainage and 
remediation of the Pueblo's agricultural lands that have been 
waterlogged. Some of the funds will be spent to rehabilitate 
and remediate the Pueblo's forest lands. Other funds will be 
used for acquisition, restoration, improvement, development, 
and protection of land, natural resources and cultural 
resources of the Pueblo and for the payment and reimbursement 
of expenses incurred in connection with this lawsuit.
    The bill provides that compensation for the claim will come 
from the United States Judgment Fund, 31 U.S.C. 1304, and 
directs the Pueblo and the United States to execute and file a 
joint stipulation for entry of final judgment in dismissal of 
the case. Additional funding for restoration activities is 
authorized for appropriation to the Department of the Interior.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 3648 was introduced on July 12, 2006, by Senators 
Domenici and Bingaman, and was referred to the Committee on 
Indian Affairs. On September 14, 2006, S. 3648 was unanimously 
passed out of the Committee and ordered reported without 
amendment.

            COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION AND TABULATION OF VOTE

    On September 14, 2006, the Committee, in an open business 
session, considered S. 3648. By a voice vote, the Committee 
ordered the bill reported favorably to the full Senate with the 
recommendation that the bill do pass.

                 SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS OF S. 3648

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 sets forth the short title, Pueblo of Isleta 
Settlement and Natural Resources Restoration Act of 2006.

Section 2. Findings and purposes

    Section 2 provides findings supporting the intent of the 
bill, including: The Pueblo and the United States have 
negotiated a settlement agreement, the validity and 
effectiveness of which is contingent on the enactment of 
enabling legislation; the settlement agreement shall restore, 
improve, and develop the valuable on-reservation land and 
natural resources of the Pueblo; and settle all claims that 
were raised or could be raised by the Pueblo against the United 
States under the Isleta Jurisdictional Act.

Section 3. Definitions

    Section 3 sets forth the defined terms used in the bill 
including: the term ``Settlement Agreement'' is defined as the 
Agreement of Compromise and Settlement entered into between the 
United States and the Pueblo dated July 12, 2005, as modified 
by the Extension and Modification Agreement executed by the 
United States and the Pueblo on June 22, 2006, and the term 
``Isleta Jurisdictional Act'' is defined as Public Law 104-198 
(110 Stat. 2418).

Section 4. Pueblo of Isleta Natural Resources Restoration Trust Fund

    Section 4 of the bill establishes the Isleta Natural 
Resources Restoration Trust Fund (the ``Fund''); specifies that 
$32,838,759 from the permanent judgement appropriation is to be 
transferred to the Fund after execution of final judgement; and 
authorizes appropriations through the Department of the 
Interior, a total of $7,200,000 of which is to be transferred 
to the Fund. Section 4 specifies the distribution of amounts 
from the Restoration Fund, the maintenance and investment of 
the Restoration Fund, and prohibits per-capital payments.

Section 5. Ratification of settlement, dismissal of litigation, and 
        compensation to Pueblo

    Section 5 includes the ratification of the Settlement 
Agreement; provides that the Pueblo and the United States shall 
execute and file a joint stipulation for dismissal; and 
specifies that after enactment of the final judgement a total 
amount of $32,838,750 shall be paid from the permanent 
judgement, appropriations and be transferred to the Fund.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The Congressional Budget Office cost estimate for S. 3684 
is set forth below:

S. 3648--Pueblo of Isleta Settlement and Natural Resources Restoration 
        Act of 2006

    Summary: S. 3648 would establish a trust fund within the 
U.S. Treasury for the benefit of the Pueblo of Isleta Tribe as 
part of a settlement of certain claims against the United 
States under current law. CBO estimates that enacting S. 3648 
would have no net effect on direct spending during the 2007-
2016 period. In addition, CBO estimates that implementing S. 
3648 would result in discretionary outlays of $7 million in 
2007, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. Enacting 
the bill would not affect revenues.
    S. 3648 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would benefit the Pueblo of Isleta.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of S. 3648 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 450 
(community and regional development).

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      By fiscal year, in millions of
                                                 dollars--
                                 ---------------------------------------
                                   2007    2008    2009    2010    2011
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBUECT TO APPROPRIATION

Authorization Level.............       7       0       0       0       0
Estimated Outlays...............       7       0       0       0       0
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of Estimate: CBO estimates that enacting S. 3648 
would have no net effect on direct spending in 2007 and would 
increase discretionary outlays by $7 million in that same year. 
For this estimate, CBO assumes that S. 3648 will be enacted in 
fiscal year 2007 and that the authorized amount will be 
appropriated in that year.
    In June 2006, the Pueblo of Isleta Indian Tribe reached an 
agreement with the Departments of Justice and the Interior to 
settle claims filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 
alleging damages related to the loss and mismanagement of land 
by the federal government. S. 3648 would codify this agreement.
    S. 3648 would establish the Pueblo of Isleta Natural 
Resources Restoration Fund (Restoration Fund) within the U.S. 
Treasury. Within 90 days of enactment of S. 3648, both parties 
would agree upon a final judgment to be filed in court; at that 
point, approximately $33 million would be transferred into the 
fund from the federal government's permanent appropriations for 
settlements and judgments (known as the Judgment Fund). The 
tribe would be authorized to withdraw part or all of the 
balance of the new Restoration Fund at any time with approval 
of the Secretary of the Interior. Consistent with the treatment 
of similar tribal trust funds, CBO estimates that the fund 
would be considered the Pueblo's property when the fund is 
established, and subsequent withdrawals would have no effect on 
the budget.
    The federal budget excludes trust funds that are held and 
managed in a fiduciary capacity by the federal government on 
behalf of Indian tribes. Thus, the transfer of $33 million to 
the Restoration Fund would be considered direct spending for a 
transfer of funds to a nonfederal entity. However, CBO expects 
that cost would be equivalent to the likely payment to tribal 
members in the absence this legislation. In other words, CBO 
expects that the tribe would receive about $33 million in 2007 
either under current law or under S. 3648.
    Under terms of the settlement agreement, if legislation 
similar to S. 3648 is not enacted by the final adjournment of 
the 109th Congress, the tribe will have the option of receiving 
an equivalent sum of money (as would be transferred to the 
Restoration Fund under S. 3648), or continuing litigation. 
Information from tribal leadership suggests that the tribe 
would likely choose to accept the settlement. As such, CBO 
estimates a current federal expenditure from the Judgment Fund 
of $33 million in 2007. S. 3648 would eliminate this future 
obligation. Thus, CBO estimates that enacting S. 3648 would 
have no net effect on direct spending.
    S. 3648 also would authorize the appropriation of 
approximately $7 million to be transferred to the Restoration 
Fund for activities agreed to by the tribe and the federal 
government. CBO estimates that these activities would increase 
discretionary outlays by $7 million in 2007, assuming the 
appropriation of the necessary amounts.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 3648 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. Enacting the bill would benefit the Pueblo of 
Isleta because it is a necessary step toward implementing the 
settlement agreement between the Pueblo and the United States. 
Any costs of duties that the bill might impose on the Pueblo 
would be those it has assumed voluntarily as a party to the 
agreement. The legislation would impose no other significant 
costs on any state, local, or tribal government.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Daniel Hoople. Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Marjorie Miller. 
Impact on the Private Sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

               REGULATORY AND PAPERWORK IMPACT STATEMENT

    Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the 
Senate requires that each report accompanying a bill evaluate 
the regulatory and paperwork impact that would be incurred in 
carrying out the bill. The Committee has concluded that the 
regulatory and paperwork impacts of S. 3648 should be de 
minimis.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The Committee has received no official executive 
communications on S. 3648.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    S. 3648 will not make changes to existing law.