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113th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     113-639

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



 
               BLACKFOOT RIVER LAND EXCHANGE ACT OF 2014

                                _______
                                

December 1, 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. 5049]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 5049) to exchange trust and fee land to resolve 
land disputes created by the realignment of the Blackfoot River 
along the boundary of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, 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. 5049 is to exchange trust and fee land 
to resolve land disputes created by the realignment of the 
Blackfoot River along the boundary of the Fort Hall Indian 
Reservation.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The Fort Hall Indian Reservation, located in southeast 
Idaho near Pocatello and Blackfoot, was originally established 
in 1867 by Executive Order for the benefit of various Bands of 
the Shoshone and Bannock Indians. Pursuant to the Executive 
Order, the Blackfoot River, as it existed in its natural state, 
formed the northern boundary of the Reservation. Today, the 
Reservation encompasses 544,000 acres of land, 97 percent of 
which is held by the United States in trust for the tribe or 
individual Indians.
    In 1964, the Army Corps of Engineers undertook a flood 
control project to realign and straighten a looping, meandered 
channel of the Blackfoot River. As a result of the project, 
Indians and non-Indian land owners along the realigned channel 
found their properties with new boundaries: the Indian parcels 
(approximately 37.04 acres) are bounded by non-Indian lands on 
the north side of the river, and the non-Indian parcels 
(approximately 31.01 acres) are bounded by Indian trust land on 
the south side of the river. The project did not, however, 
change the legal boundaries of the reservation. These parcels 
have remained idle due to rights-of-way access and trespass 
problems for the landowners, tribe, and individual Indian 
allottees.
    The access problems appear to be exacerbated by a dispute 
concerning water right claims by several non-Indian landowners, 
whose lands were affected by the 1964 flood control project. In 
the 1980s, under Idaho state law, the Snake River Basin 
Adjudication began to decree water rights on all streams and 
rivers in the Snake River Basin in Idaho, which includes the 
Blackfoot River Basin. During the Snake River Adjudication, 
several non-Indian landowners, whose lands were affected by the 
realignment of the Blackfoot River, claimed as their water 
rights' place of use lands on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation.
    In 2006, the tribes filed objections to these claimed water 
rights. After extensive meetings and multiple status 
conferences among the court, tribe, and non-Indian landowners, 
it was determined that federal legislation was needed to 
resolve land disputes created by the realignment of the 
Blackfoot River. H.R. 5049 will enable the general stream 
adjudication of the Snake River to be concluded without 
interfering with water rights claims.
    H.R. 5049 would authorize the United States to take certain 
non-Indian lands into trust on behalf of the Shoshone-Bannock 
Tribes in Idaho; authorize the United States to convey certain 
Indian lands as fee lands; and extinguish certain claims that 
could be asserted by the Tribes against the United States. 
These three main features in the bill would resolve the land 
ownership problems for both Indian and non-Indian landowners 
along Blackfoot River. Lands owned by non-Indians along the 
realigned channel would be placed in trust for the tribes (made 
part of the Fort Hall Reservation); title held by the United 
States in trust for allottees and the tribes would be 
transferred to the Blackfeet River Flood Control District No. 
7, which represents the North Bank non-Indian landowners. Lands 
transferred to the parties are described in a Bureau of Land 
Management survey located at the Fort Hall Indian Agency office 
of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and at the Blackfoot River 
Flood Control District No. 7.
    The Department of the Interior and tribes support this 
bill.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 5049 was introduced on July 9, 2014, by Congressman 
Michael Simpson (R-ID). The bill was referred to the Committee 
on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs. On July 29, 
2014, the Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On September 
18, 2014, the Full Natural Resources Committee met to consider 
the bill. The Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs 
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.

            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. 5049--Blackfoot River Land Exchange Act of 2014

    H.R. 5049 would require an exchange of tribal and private 
lands to settle a dispute between the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes 
and certain non-Indian landowners in southeastern Idaho. Under 
the bill, the Department of the Interior (DOT) would exchange 
37 acres of Indian trust land for 31 acres of private land that 
would be held in trust for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Based 
on information provided by DOT, CBO estimates that implementing 
the legislation would have no significant effect on the federal 
budget. Enacting H.R. 5049 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    By requiring the exchange of lands through federal statute, 
H.R. 5049 would impose both intergovernmental and private-
sector mandates, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
(UMRA), on tribal and nontribal land owners. The bill would 
terminate rights to certain parcels of land surrounding the 
Blackfoot River, and extinguish any past, present, or future 
claims on that land. The cost of the mandates would be the 
forgone compensation for damages that could have been collected 
through legal actions related to clarifying title to the 
property, and the net value of the land being exchanged by the 
federal government. Any forgone damages are unlikely to be 
significant. In a market study used by DOI, the value of the 
land is estimated to be less than $500,000. Therefore, CBO 
estimates that the aggregate cost of the mandates would fall 
well below the annual thresholds established in UMRA for both 
intergovernmental and private-sector mandates ($76 million and 
$152 million, respectively, in 2014, adjusted annually for 
inflation).
    On June 17, 2014, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for S. 
2040, the Blackfoot River Land Exchange Act of 2014, as ordered 
reported by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on May 21, 
2014. The two pieces of legislation are similar, and the CBO 
cost estimates are the same.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Martin von 
Gnechten (for federal costs), Melissa Merrell (for the state 
and local impact), and Tristan Hanon (for the private-sector 
impact). 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 significant effect 
on the federal budget.
    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 exchange trust and fee land to 
resolve land disputes created by the realignment of the 
Blackfoot River along the boundary of the Fort Hall Indian 
Reservation.

                           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.