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113th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     113-532

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



 
      PYRAMID LAKE PAIUTE TRIBE--FISH SPRINGS RANCH SETTLEMENT ACT

                                _______
                                

 July 17, 2014.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3716]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 3716) to ratify a water settlement agreement 
affecting the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, 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 H.R. 3716 is to ratify a water settlement 
agreement affecting the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    H.R. 3716 approves a settlement between the Pyramid Lake 
Paiute Tribe (The Tribe) and the Fish Springs Ranch (Fish 
Springs) while decreasing federal liability related to the 
federal government's trust relationship with tribes. The bill 
also protects a private water project that is already 
constructed and reasonably compensates the Tribe with private 
funds for any actual or potential resource loss. Since the 
settlement involves a trust resource, however, it requires 
federal authorization to take effect. Unlike other pending 
water rights settlements, the legislation accomplishes this 
without the use of American taxpayer dollars. The bill does not 
constitute or include an earmark in violation of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives. The bill is distinguished from 
water rights settlement proposals that would violate the 
earmark definition in House Rules by directing federal funds to 
``an entity'' or are ``targeted to a specific State, locality 
or Congressional district'' (clause 9 of rule XXI.) The bill 
also does not relate to or resolve federally reserved water 
right claims (also known as Winters Doctrine rights).
    The settlement involves the Pyramid Lake Indian 
Reservation, which is located 35 miles northeast of Reno, 
Nevada, in the arid counties of Washoe, Lyon, and Storey. The 
reservation is 475,000 acres, approximately 112,000 of which 
are covered by Pyramid Lake. The lake is entirely within the 
boundary of the Tribe's reservation and is a critical source of 
water for the Tribe for fishing, economic development, and 
Tribal tradition.
    Fish Springs is a majority-owned subsidiary of Vidler Water 
Company which locates, aggregates, and develops water rights in 
agricultural markets for municipal and industrial uses. In 
2005, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a final 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analyzing the impacts of a 
Vidler water pipeline project crossing federal lands to provide 
groundwater from the neighboring Honey Lake Valley of Nevada to 
the northern Reno area. In 2006, BLM issued a Record of 
Decision for a water pipeline right of way across public lands 
for Fish Springs to access water rights.
    The Tribe opposed this action asserting, among other 
things, that approval of the project would allow Fish Springs 
to draw down water in the Honey Lake Valley through groundwater 
pumping, which in turn could reduce available supplies on the 
Pyramid Lake Reservation in violation of the Tribe's rights. 
The Tribe appealed the BLM's decision to the Department of the 
Interior Board of Land Appeals and sued the agency in federal 
court, alleging that the EIS did not meet requirements under 
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and that the grant 
of the right-of-way would violate the trust responsibility of 
the United States. The U.S. District Court issued a preliminary 
injunction against BLM and the Interior Department in 2007 
after concluding that the Tribe had shown a strong probability 
of succeeding on the merits of its NEPA claim. Fish Springs and 
the Tribe subsequently reached a settlement in 2007 which led 
to the dismissal of the appeal.
    The settlement involves two parts. The first part allows 
the Fish Springs project to go forward. The project has now 
been constructed and the first part of the settlement has been 
completed. While the Tribe had the authority to agree to this 
part of the settlement without federal approval, it did not 
provide water rights security for Fish Springs. The second part 
of the settlement will provide for such security and was 
supplemented in 2013 with a simplified agreement titled 
``Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe--Fish Springs Ranch 2013 Supplement 
to the 2007 Settlement Agreement.''
    However, the second part of the settlement requires enacted 
federal legislation for approval. It effectively provides that 
the Tribe will subordinate its water rights and any groundwater 
rights it could establish in the future to Fish Springs' right 
to pump up to 14,108 acre feet of groundwater. The Tribe also 
agreed to waive potential claims against Fish Springs and the 
U.S. for damages related to its claims to groundwater and 
potential impacts to the Pyramid Lake Reservation resulting 
from Fish Springs' groundwater pumping actions. The Tribe would 
receive $3.6 million plus interest from Fish Springs as a 
result of granting such waivers.
    Through enactment of H.R. 3716, the U.S. would extinguish 
any claims it may have on behalf of the Tribe to the same 
extent that the Tribe waives its claims against Fish Springs. 
This means that the U.S. would have no right of its own or 
obligation on behalf of the Tribe to assert claims waived by 
the Tribe under the 2013 agreement and the legislation. As 
provided by the legislation, the Tribe also agrees to waive its 
claims against the U.S. relating to trust responsibilities for 
the claims waived as a part of the agreement and the U.S. would 
bear no liability for the claims waived by the Tribe. The 
legislation authorizes the Tribe to grant the waivers against 
both Fish Springs and the U.S. and the bill's provisions would 
take effect after those waivers are signed and Fish Springs 
pays the Tribe the $3.6 million plus accrued interest as 
mentioned above.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 3716 was introduced on December 12, 2013, by 
Congressman Mark E. Amodei (R-NV). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Water and Power. On June 10, 2014, the 
Subcommittee on Water and Power held a hearing on the bill. On 
June 19, 2014, the Natural Resources Committee met to consider 
the bill. The Subcommittee on Water and Power was discharged by 
unanimous consent. No amendments were offered and the bill was 
adopted and ordered favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives by unanimous consent.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short Title; Table of contents

    Section 1 provides the short title and lists the table of 
contents.

Section 2. Definitions

    Section 2 defines key terms.

Section 3. Ratification of agreement

    Section 3 ratifies the 2013 agreement between the parties.

Section 4. Wavier and releases of claims

    Section 4 provides a waiver and release of certain claims 
by the Tribe against Fish Springs; a reservation of rights and 
retention of certain claims by the Tribe against Fish Springs; 
a waiver and release of certain claims by the Tribe against the 
U.S.; and a reservation of rights and retention of certain 
claims by the Tribe against the U.S. This section also 
extinguishes any claims the U.S. might have on behalf of the 
Tribe when the waivers become effective and provides that the 
U.S. will bear no liability for the claims waived by the Tribe. 
The waivers become effective when they are signed by the Tribe, 
and Fish Springs makes the payment to the Tribe. The U.S. 
retains all rights it has to enforce the terms of the right-of-
way across federal lands, with the exception that it may not 
assert a claim on the Tribe's behalf that has been 
extinguished.

Section 5. Satisfaction of claims

    Section 5 provides that the benefits provided to the Tribe 
under the 2013 agreement and this Act shall be considered full 
satisfaction of all claims the Tribe waived and released under 
section 4 and pursuant to the agreement and any claims that the 
U.S. might make on behalf of the Tribe that are extinguished 
under section 4. This section also provides that if the Tribe 
fails to execute the waivers and releases as authorized by this 
Act within 60 days after the date of enactment, the Act and the 
agreement are void.

Section 6. Beneficiaries to agreement

    Section 6 states that the parties to the 2013 agreement 
shall be limited to: 1) the parties to the Agreement listed 
within; 2) any municipal water purveyor that provides Fish 
Springs project water for wholesale or retail water service to 
the area serviced by the Fish Springs project; 3) any water 
purveyor that obtains the right to use project water for 
purposes other than serving retail or wholesale customers; and 
4) any assignee of water rights credits for project water 
pursuant to the terms of the 2006 banking trust agreement 
between Fish Springs and neighboring Washoe County.

Section 7. Jurisdiction

    Section 7 provides that jurisdiction over any civil actions 
relating to the enforcement of the agreement or the Act shall 
be vested in the United States District Court for the District 
of Nevada.

Section 8. Environmental compliance

    Section 8 retains the applicability of environmental laws, 
including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, 
Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, the Safe Drinking 
Water Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, and the 
Solid Waste Disposal Act.

Section 9. Miscellaneous provisions

    Section 9 covers miscellaneous matters, including 
provisions that ensure that nothing in the Act establishes a 
quantified reserved water right or claim as against any party 
other than Fish Springs and the Tribe.

            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 Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) 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)(2)(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. 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 Office:

H.R. 3716--Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe--Fish Springs Ranch Settlement Act

    H.R. 3716 would ratify a settlement agreement between the 
Fish Springs Ranch LLC and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in the 
state of Nevada. The bill would authorize the tribe to grant 
waivers to Fish Springs pursuant to the settlement agreement. 
H.R. 3716 also would waive any claims against the federal 
government related to the settlement agreement.
    CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would have 
no effect on the federal budget. The federal government is not 
a party to the settlement agreement between Fish Springs and 
the tribe, and implementing the legislation would not increase 
operating costs for the Department of the Interior. Enacting 
H.R. 3716 would not affect direct spending or revenues; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 3716 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    On July 9, 2014, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for S. 
1818, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe--Fish Springs Ranch 
Settlement Act, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on 
Indian Affairs on May 21, 2014. The two bills are identifical, 
and the CBO cost estimates are the same.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Martin von 
Gnechten. The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. Section 308(a) of 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. CBO estimates that 
implementing the legislation would have no effect on the 
federal budget. The federal government is not a party to the 
settlement agreement between Fish Springs and the tribe, and 
implementing the legislation would not increase operating costs 
for the Department of the Interior.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of Rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to ratify a water settlement 
agreement affecting the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       COMPLIANCE WITH H. RES. 5

    Directed Rule Making. The Chairman does not believe that 
this bill directs any executive branch official to conduct any 
specific rule-making proceedings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.