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Calendar No. 651
109th Congress Rept.
2d Session 109-354
PUEBLO OF ISLETA SETTLEMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES RESTORATION ACT OF
September 29, 2006.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. McCain, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, submitted the
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.
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 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.
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
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
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 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
The Committee has received no official executive
communications on S. 3648.
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
S. 3648 will not make changes to existing law.