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                                                       Calendar No. 376
113th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     113-159

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



 
                WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE AND FORT BLISS

                                _______


                  May 14, 2014.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______


   Ms. Landrieu, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 753]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 753) to provide for national security 
benefits for White Sands Missile Range and Fort Bliss, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:

      On page 3, strike lines 6 through 18 and insert the following:
    (c) Revocation of Withdrawal; Management.--Effective on the date of 
enactment of this Act--
          (1) Public Land Order 833, dated May 21, 1952 (17 Fed. Reg. 
        4822), is revoked with respect to the approximately 2,050 acres 
        of land generally depicted as ``Parcel 2'' on the map; and
          (2) the land described in paragraph (1) shall be managed by 
        the Secretary of the Interior as public land, in accordance 
        with--
                  (A) the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 
                1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.); and
                  (B) any other applicable laws.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 753 is to withdraw and reserve for the 
Secretary of the Army, for use for military purposes, 
approximately 37,600 acres of public land adjacent to Fort 
Bliss and approximately 5,100 acres of land adjacent to the 
White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    Prior to 1958, the President exercised broad power to 
withdraw unlimited amounts of public land from the operation of 
the public land, mining, and mineral leasing laws for military 
purposes. Pursuant to this authority, Fort Bliss was 
established as an Army post in southern New Mexico and western 
Texas in the late 19th century, and the White Sands Missile 
Range was established in southern New Mexico during World War 
II.
    The White Sands Missile Range and Fort Bliss are the two 
largest military installations in the United States, together 
occupying nearly 5,000 square miles. White Sands Missile Range 
is the largest and covers almost 3,200 square miles in south 
central New Mexico. Fort Bliss is the second largest and covers 
almost 1,700 square miles in west Texas and southern New 
Mexico, north of El Paso. The White Sands Missile Range was 
originally established as the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery 
Range in 1941. It was the site of Robert Goddard's early rocket 
tests in 1942 and the Manhattan Project's Trinity test of the 
first atomic bomb in 1945. It continues to be used for missile 
testing. Fort Bliss currently houses the 1st Armed Division and 
is used for heavy armor training.
    In 1958, Congress enacted the Engle Act, Public Law 88-337, 
in order to restrict the President's authority to withdraw 
public land for military purposes and to reassert Congress' 
authority to provide for the use of the public lands. See S. 
Rept. 85-857 at 5-6 (1957). Section 2 of the Engle Act requires 
an Act of Congress to withdraw more than 5,000 acres of public 
land for military purposes. (43 U.S.C. 156).
    The Dona Ana Range, which is part of Fort Bliss, is used 
for tank gunnery and artillery training. Training activities on 
the Dona Ana Range generate noise, vibration, and dust. The 
Army is concerned that residential and commercial development 
may occur on public land adjacent to the Range. Legislation is 
needed to withdraw additional parcels, totaling 37,600 acres, 
adjacent to the Dona Ana Range to ensure that incompatible 
development does not occur and to establish a buffer zone for 
live-fire training in the Dona Ana training area.
    In addition, part of the White Sands Missile Range is used 
by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's White 
Sands Test Facility and Goddard Space Flight Center Tracking 
and Data Relay Satellite Systems facility, and by the National 
Reconnaissance Office's Aerospace Date Facility-Southwest. 
These operations have special security and safety requirements, 
but are located close to a public access area, and a number of 
security incidents have occurred in the area. Legislation is 
need to withdraw an additional parcel of 5,100 acres to provide 
a one-mile stand-off area between these operations and the 
public access area, to improve the security of the facilities.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 753 was introduced by Senator Heinrich and cosponsored 
by Senator Udall of New Mexico and Senator Cornyn, on April 17, 
2013. The Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining 
held a hearing on it on July 30, 2013 (S. Hrg. 113-85). The 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered it favorably 
reported at its business meeting on November 14, 2013.
    Similar legislation was included as section 205 of S. 1309, 
the Military Land Withdrawals Act of 2013, which was also 
ordered reported by the Committee on November 14, 2013.
    In addition, similar legislation was subsequently 
incorporated as subtitle D of title XXIX of H.R. 3304, the 
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, which 
was enacted as Public Law 113-66 on December 26, 2013. The 
National Defense Authorization Act only withdraws the 5,100 
acres for the White Sands Missile Range, however, and not the 
additional 37,600 acres for the buffer for the Dona Ana Range.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on November 14, 2013 by a voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommended that the Senate pass S. 753.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

    The Committee adopted an amendment during its consideration 
of S. 753. The amendment strikes section 1(c) of the bill as 
introduced, which provided for the transfer of administrative 
jurisdiction over a parcel of previously withdrawn land 
covering approximately 2,050 acres from the Secretary of the 
Army to the Secretary of the Interior, and inserts a new 
subsection (c) revoking the withdrawal of the parcel, and 
providing for its management by the Secretary of the Interior 
as public land in accordance with the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1(a) withdraws for parcels of public land totaling 
approximately 42,700 acres from the operation of the public 
land, mining, and mineral leasing laws.
    Subsection (b) reserves the withdrawn land for use by the 
Secretary of the Army for military purposes in accordance with 
Public Land Order 833.
    Subsection (c) revokes the withdrawal of a parcel of 2,050 
acres previously withdrawn by Public Land Order 833.
    Subsection (d) provides for the publication of a legal 
description of the land withdrawn by subsection (a).

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

S. 753--A bill to provide for national security benefits for White 
        Sands Missile Range and Fort Bliss

    S. 753 would require the Secretary of the Interior to 
withdraw roughly 43,000 acres of federal land in New Mexico 
from the operation of certain public land laws, including laws 
that authorize mineral development and grazing on such lands. 
Those lands would be used by the Army for military purposes. 
The bill also would require the Secretary of the Army to 
transfer administrative jurisdiction over about 2,000 acres of 
land in the same area to the Department of the Interior.
    Based on information provided by the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM), CBO estimates that implementing the 
legislation would have no significant impact on the federal 
budget. Enacting S. 753 would reduce offsetting receipts, which 
are treated as reductions in direct spending; therefore, pay-
as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that any net 
reduction in offsetting receipts would be negligible.
    Some of the affected lands are currently used for cattle 
grazing, and CBO expects that enacting S. 753 would cause BLM 
to terminate existing grazing contracts. Based on information 
provided by the agency, CBO estimates that terminating those 
contracts would reduce offsetting receipts by less than $1,000 
a year over the 2014-2023 period.
    In addition, because the affected lands are already managed 
by the federal government, we estimate that implementing the 
legislation would not affect the costs of managing the lands. 
Finally, CBO estimates that any additional costs to prepare the 
legal description of the affected lands, as required under the 
bill, would total less than $10,000, subject to the 
availability of appropriated funds.
    S. 753 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    On June 12, 2013, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 
1299, the White Sands Missile Range Security Enhancement Act, 
as ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources 
on May 15, 2013. Both bills would withdraw federal lands in 
southern New Mexico from the operation of certain public land 
laws. S. 753 also would require the Secretary of the Army to 
transfer administrative jurisdiction over certain lands to the 
Secretary of the Interior. The estimated costs of implementing 
the two bills are similar.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 753.
    The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of 
imposing Government-established standards or significant 
economic responsibilities on private individuals and 
businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of S. 753, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    S. 753, as reported, does not contain any congressionally 
directed spending items, limited tax benefits, or limited 
tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the Standing Rules 
of the Senate.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the Department of the Interior 
and the Department of the Army on S. 753, at the July 30, 2013, 
Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining hearing 
follows:

    Statement of Ned Farquhar, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Land and 
            Minerals Management, Department of the Interior

    Thank you for the opportunity to present testimony on three 
public land withdrawal bills, S. 753, S. 1169, and S. 1309. S. 
753 seeks to achieve boundary solutions at White Sands Missile 
Range (WSMR) and Fort Bliss in New Mexico. The Administration 
supports S. 753, but would like to work with the Subcommittee 
and the sponsor on technical modifications to the bill. S. 
1169, the Limestone Hills Training Area Withdrawal Act, would 
withdraw approximately 18,644 acres of public land for use by 
the Department of the Army (Army) in Montana. The 
Administration supports the continued use of the lands 
identified in S. 1169 by the Army, but has concerns with the 
provision related to the location and maintenance of mining 
claims. We look forward to working with the Subcommittee and 
the sponsor on modifications to address these concerns. S. 
1309, the Military Land Withdrawals Act, was introduced at the 
Administration's request. The bill reflects the 
Administration's FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act 
(NDAA) legislative proposal for three public land withdrawals 
in California and one in Montana. The Administration urges the 
Senate to pass S. 1309 to support military use of the lands at 
Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range (CMAGR), Naval Air 
Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake, Marine Corps Air Ground 
Combat Center (MCAGCC) Twentynine Palms, and Limestone Hills 
Training Area.


                               background


    Public lands are managed by the Department of the Interior 
(DOI) through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Public land 
withdrawals are formal lands actions that set aside, withhold, 
or reserve public land by statute or administrative order for 
public purposes. Withdrawals are established for a wide variety 
of purposes, e.g., power site reserves, military reservations, 
administrative sites, recreation sites, national parks, 
reclamation projects, and wilderness areas. Withdrawals are 
most often used to preserve sensitive environmental values and 
major Federal investments in facilities or other improvements, 
to support national security, and to provide for public health 
and safety. Withdrawals of public lands for military use 
require joint actions by DOI and the Department of Defense 
(DOD). DOD has a number of installations, training areas, and 
ranges that are located partially or wholly on temporarily or 
permanently withdrawn public lands. Many of these withdrawals 
support installations that are critical to the nation's ability 
to provide for the readiness of the Armed Forces. Approximately 
16 million acres of public lands are withdrawn for military 
purposes.
    There was no limit on the amount of public land that could 
be withdrawn administratively at a single location for military 
use until 1958 when the Engle Act (P.L. 85-337) became law. The 
Engle Act requires an Act of Congress to authorize military 
land withdrawals aggregating 5,000 acres or more for any one 
defense project or facility. Similarly, there was no limit on 
the time period of administrative withdrawals until 1976 when 
the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) (P.L. 94-
579) became law. FLPMA allows the Secretary of the Interior to 
administratively make withdrawals aggregating 5,000 acres or 
more for purposes other than military use, for a period of not 
more than 20 years. Legislative military withdrawals have 
traditionally included time limits, with renewal required every 
15, 20, or 25 years, depending on the terms in the legislation.
    DOI appreciates the importance of military installations 
for the security of the Nation and supports the multiple 
missions of our Armed Forces. We are proud to be able to offer 
public lands to support military readiness, training, and 
testing, and are proud to be able to assist the military in 
meeting its mission needs. Throughout the country we have 
established productive partnerships and other working 
arrangements with the military and we intend to continue these 
mutually beneficial arrangements. We are especially 
appreciative of the military's stewardship of the withdrawn 
lands they manage. These arrangements have worked out well for 
all concerned and should continue.
    The Administration believes that the traditional, periodic 
review that is a part of the legislative withdrawal process is 
vital to promoting the highest quality stewardship and 
management of the public lands proposed for withdrawal in these 
bills. This process provides opportunities for DOD and the 
military branches to evaluate their continued use of the lands 
and obtain the participation and assistance of DOI in sound 
management, for DOI to ensure that the lands are being managed 
in ways that could allow their eventual return to the public 
domain for broader public use, and for the Congress and the 
public to provide input and oversight.


  s. 753--boundary solutions at white sands missile range (vvsmr) and 
                               fort bliss


    WSMR is a test range of approximately 2.2 million acres in 
parts of five counties in southern New Mexico, making it one of 
the largest military installations in the United States. WSMR 
is contiguous to Fort Bliss to the south, which is used for 
military training. The majority of the lands that comprise both 
WSMR and Fort Bliss, over 2.4 million acres, are public lands 
withdrawn and reserved for the use of the Army under Public 
Land Order (PLO) 833 and by Public Law 106-65.
    S. 753 seeks to achieve boundary solutions at WSMR and Fort 
Bliss. First, the bill would withdraw and reserve approximately 
5,100 additional acres for use by the Army at WSMR, to allow 
for an additional buffer area between the current public access 
areas and operations of several WSMR tenants, such as the NASA 
White Sands Test Facility and the NASA Goddard Space Flight 
Center Tracking and Data Relay Satellite Systems Facility. The 
Administration supports the goal of allowing the use of the 
lands by the Army. However, these lands receive significant 
public use, mainly in the form of hunting and livestock 
grazing. Because the introduced bill does not address grazing, 
the reduction in the existing grazing permit and removal of any 
authorized range improvements within these lands would be 
carried out in accordance with BLM's grazing regulations at 43 
C.F.R Part 4100.
    S. 753 would also withdraw approximately 37,600 acres of 
public lands from the operation of certain public land laws, in 
order to establish a zone to buffer the noise, dust and 
vibrations from the live fire training activities on the 
adjoining Dona Ana tank gunnery and artillery range complex at 
Fort Bliss. These lands would remain under the full management 
of the Department of the Interior, but they would be withdrawn 
from the public land laws, the mining laws, and the mineral 
leasing, mineral materials, and geothermal leasing laws. The 
Administration supports the withdrawal of these lands, 
consistent with a similar provision included in the 
Administration's FY 2014 NDAA legislative proposal.
    Additionally, S. 753 would transfer to the Secretary of the 
Interior administrative jurisdiction over approximately 2,050 
acres of public lands previously withdrawn and reserved for the 
Army's use under PLO 833. The lands are part of an area known 
as Filmore Canyon, and are adjacent on two sides to the BLM's 
Organ Mountains Area of Critical of Environmental Concern 
(ACEC) Filmore Canyon is adjacent to the community of Las 
Cruces and includes hunting opportunities and scenic lands that 
are popular for year-round hiking. The BLM manages the Organ 
Mountains ACEC for significant scenic values and endangered 
wildlife species, and the ACEC contains cultural sites eligible 
for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The 
Administration supports the return of these lands to full 
management by the Department of the Interior as part of a 
cohesive boundary solution at WSMR and Fort Bliss. We would 
like to work with the Subcommittee and the sponsor on technical 
modifications.


         s. 1169--limestone hills training area withdrawal act


    The Limestone Hills Training Area consists of 18,644 acres 
of public lands in Broadwater County, Montana that have been 
used for military training since the 1950s. In 1984, the BLM 
issued the Army a right-of-way formally permitting use of the 
training area for military purposes. The current right-of-way 
expires on March 26, 2014. The Montana Army National Guard is 
the primary DOD user of the training area, which is also used 
by reserve and active components from all branches of the 
military services for live fire, mounted and dismounted 
maneuver training, and aviation training. The withdrawal of the 
Limestone Hills Training area is necessary because the BLM has 
determined that it no longer has the authority to permit the 
use of the lands for military maneuvers under a right-of-way 
instrument.
    S. 1169 would withdraw and assign general management of the 
training area to the Army, but would keep management of grazing 
and mineral resources with the BLM. This arrangement is 
consistent with the Administration's FY 2014 NDAA legislative 
proposal, and the Administration supports the goal of allowing 
the use of the lands by the Army under a withdrawal and 
reservation. However, the introduced bill contains a provision 
related to the location and maintenance of mining claims that 
is at odds with the Administration's legislative proposal, and 
with which the Administration has concerns.
    Section 4 of S. 1169 would legislatively expand certain 
rights for mineral disposition or exploration. It would set a 
new precedent for public land withdrawals by allowing the 
opportunity to cure discrepancies in the original location or 
the failure to maintain several hundred mining claims in the 
Indian Creek mine area for the duration of the withdrawal. The 
legislative language could be interpreted to allow mining 
claimants to take in new land under existing claims, which 
could impact land required for military training--including 
live fire impact areas. By granting unique privileges to 
certain mining claimants, this provision is contrary to the 
normal operation of mining laws and regulations, which provide 
equal treatment for all claimants who are similarly situated. 
The Administration looks forward to working with the 
Subcommittee and the sponsor on modifications to address these 
concerns and on more technical changes to incorporate general 
provisions from the FY 2014 NDAA legislative proposal.


               s. 1309--the military land withdrawals act


    S. 1309, the Military Land Withdrawals Act, represents the 
Administration's legislative proposal to enact four public land 
withdrawals as part of the FY 2014 NDAA. This proposal was 
jointly prepared by DOD and DOI and represents extensive 
discussions and consensus building between the two agencies to 
achieve common goals. Presently, the two existing withdrawals 
for NAWS China Lake, California, and CMAGR, California, enacted 
in the California Military Lands Withdrawal and Overflights Act 
of 1994 (1994 California Act) (P.L. 103-433), will expire on 
October 31, 2014. Additionally, the Marine Corps seeks a new 
withdrawal of public lands at MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, 
California, to expand its training areas to support increased 
requirements. Finally, the Army needs to convert its use of 
public lands at the Montana Army National Guard, Limestone 
Hills Training Area, from a BLM issued right-of-way to a 
legislative withdrawal.
    Unlike prior legislative withdrawals which were uncodified, 
stand-alone provisions of law, the withdrawals made under S. 
1309 would be codified in a new chapter of title 10, United 
States Code. This would make the withdrawal process 
substantially more efficient for both the Executive and 
Legislative branches by providing commonality among the 
withdrawal provisions, placing them in a location that is easy 
to find and refer to, and, if used for future withdrawals, 
reducing the need to reconsider and revise ``boilerplate'' 
provisions with each proposal. Also, this codification would 
allow changes to withdrawal provisions without having to wait 
the decades that might pass before the next withdrawal took 
place. This new flexibility would greatly aid the ability of 
DOD, DOI, and Congress to soundly manage withdrawn lands.
    S. 1309 includes many general provisions applicable to all 
four of the withdrawals. Among these are provisions for: the 
development of maps and legal descriptions; access 
restrictions; changes in use; authorizations for non-defense-
related uses; management of range and brush fire prevention and 
suppression; on-going decontamination; water rights; hunting, 
fishing, and trapping; limitations on extensions and renewals; 
application for renewal; limitation on subsequent availability 
of lands for appropriation; relinquishment; interchanges and 
transfers of Federal lands; delegability of certain 
responsibilities by the Secretary of the Interior; and immunity 
of the United States. Most of these general provisions are 
similar, if not identical, to previously applied provisions in 
existing withdrawal statutes.
    The interchanges and transfers provision is included to 
address boundary management issues involving both withdrawn 
public lands and acquired real property. For example, there is 
a need for boundary adjustment on the northern side of CMAGR to 
address uncertainties and resource management conflicts 
associated with the BLM-managed Bradshaw Trail. The Bradshaw 
Trail is popular with off-highway vehicle users, and is, in 
part, maintained by the local government, in coordination with 
the BLM. However, the trailhead and some of the trail's length 
currently crosses acquired real property administered by the 
Department of the Navy (Navy) and the Marine Corps. In the case 
of the expansion of MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, the Navy will 
likely seek to purchase various inholdings within the proposed 
withdrawal boundary. It could be beneficial to both departments 
if these inholdings could be converted, by interchange or 
transfer, to BLM public lands. In any case, the interchange 
provision is limited to acre-for-acre in order to avoid 
expanding the footprint of DOD lands. The transfer provision is 
limited to the Engle Act 5,000 acre limit (total) for any one 
installation over the 25-year life of the withdrawal. These 
provisions are designed to allow for small administrative 
adjustments to promote sound land management without impinging 
upon the role of Congress in managing Federal lands.
Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake, California
    NAWS China Lake consists of over 1.1 million acres of land 
in Inyo, Kern, and San Bernardino Counties, California, of 
which 92 percent are withdrawn public lands. Under a Memorandum 
of Understanding between the Navy and DOI, the Commanding 
Officer of NAWS China Lake is responsible for managing the 
withdrawn land. The installation is home to approximately 4,300 
DOD personnel and its primary tenant is the Naval Air Warfare 
Center Weapons Division. The current 20-year legislative 
withdrawal expires on October 31, 2014.
    The 25-year renewal included in S. 1309 is modeled on the 
current successful management scheme instituted as part of the 
1994 California Act, which allows the DOD and DOI to combine 
their unique capabilities and assets for the benefit of the 
resources and the public by cooperatively managing natural and 
cultural resources, recreational resources, grazing, wild 
horses and burros, and geothermal resources. For example, the 
Navy manages the wild horses and burros on-the-ground at NAWS 
China Lake and the BLM manages the gathering, holding and 
adoption of the animals. In addition, the BLM and NAWS China 
Lake have a unique agreement to collaboratively produce 
geothermal energy at the installation, which currently produces 
over 150 megawatts of power.
Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range (CMAGR), California
    The CMAGR was established in 1941. The range consists of 
about 459,000 acres in Imperial and Riverside Counties, 
California, of which approximately 227,000 acres are withdrawn 
public lands under the co-management of the Marine Corps and 
the BLM. The remaining lands are under the administrative 
jurisdiction of the Department of the Navy. The two sets of 
lands form a checkerboard pattern of administrative 
jurisdiction. The Marine Corps primarily uses the lands for 
aviation weapons training, including precision guided munitions 
and Naval Special Warfare training. The current 20-year 
withdrawal is set to expire on October 31, 2014.
    S. 1309 provides for a 25-year renewal and would allow the 
BLM and Navy to institute the same type of cooperative 
management that has been successful at China Lake. The 
Chocolate Mountain range is home to a number of species such as 
desert tortoise and big horn sheep, and contains a wide range 
of archeological resources.
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) Twentynine Palms, 
        California
    MCAGCC Twentynine Palms currently consists of 596,000 acres 
of land in San Bernardino County, California. In 1959, 
approximately 443,000 of those total acres were 
administratively withdrawn and reserved for the use of the Navy 
under PLO 1860. DOD is now seeking to expand this installation 
with the withdrawal of approximately 154,000 acres of public 
lands adjacent to MCAGCC. The added training lands would create 
a training area of sufficient size with characteristics 
suitable for the Marine Corps to conduct Marine Expeditionary 
Brigade (MEB) level training. MEB training requires sustained, 
combined-arms, live-fire and maneuver training of three Marine 
battalions with all of their associated equipment moving 
simultaneously toward a single objective over a 72-hour period.
    S. 1309 meets the important training needs of the Marines, 
and, recognizing that there will be impacts to public access, 
also includes a unique management structure to mitigate some of 
the loss of access to lands popularly used for off-highway 
vehicle (OHV) recreation. The bill provides for continued, 
year-round public access to the western third of the Johnson 
Valley OHV area. In addition, a shared use area of about 43,000 
acres of the withdrawn lands would be available for OHV use for 
ten months out of the year, when there is no active military 
training.
Limestone Hills Training Area, Montana
    As previously stated, the legislative withdrawal of the 
Limestone Hills Training area is necessary because the BLM has 
determined that it no longer has the authority to permit the 
use of the lands for military maneuvers under a right-of-way 
instrument. Under S. 1309, general management of the training 
area would be assigned to the Army, but the BLM would retain 
management of grazing and mineral resources for the lands 
withdrawn and reserved.


                               conclusion


    Thank you for inviting our testimony on S. 753, S. 1169, 
and S. 1309. The Department of the Interior, which has always 
been part of the Nation's national defense team, is committed 
to supporting military missions and training needs, while 
protecting natural resources and other traditional uses of the 
public lands. I would be happy to answer your questions.

Statement of the Honorable Katherine G. Hammack, Assistant Secretary of 
           the Army (Installations, Energy, and Environment)

    Thank you, Chairman Manchin, Ranking Member Barrasso and 
other distinguished Members of the Committee for the 
opportunity to provide comments on S. 1169, legislation to 
withdraw public lands in Montana for use by the Army, and S. 
753, legislation to withdraw public lands in New Mexico.


          limestone hills training area withdrawal act of 2013


    Senate Bill 1169, the Limestone Hills Training Area 
Withdrawal Act, would withdraw and reserve approximately 18,644 
acres of federal land that comprises the Limestone Hills 
Training Area (LHTA) for use by the Army, and assign primary 
management of the property from the Department of the Interior 
to the Department of the Army for a 25-year period.
    The lands comprising the LHTA are public domain lands, 
currently under the control of the Bureau of Land Management 
(BLM). The legislation would enable continued training on the 
land by the Montana National Guard (MTNG) and other active and 
reserve components of the armed forces that have used the 
property for training purposes for several decades. In order 
for the Army to continue occupying the property, the land must 
be ``withdrawn from the public domain,'' which can only be 
accomplished by an Act of Congress. Unless legislation is 
passed, the Army's current authority to use the property will 
end in March 2014.
    The LHTA is operated by the MTNG and is their only large-
scale live fire and maneuver training area. It is a critically 
important training asset for the MTNG, used by approximately 
3,800 Guardsmen annually, for diverse training involving small 
arms, crew-served weapons, mortars, and demolition activities. 
The LHTA represents a realistic, open training environment 
within a reasonable travel distance for most Guardsmen and for 
equipment, which is maintained off site. This regional training 
asset allows us to avoid the expenditures of time, money, and 
fuel that would result if training had to be located elsewhere.
    The LHTA is also used by the active and reserve components 
of the other branches of the military and is made available in 
some cases for use by other federal, state, and local agencies. 
Some 10,000 personnel from other services use the site each 
year. Many of those personnel are from special operations units 
who are preparing for rotations in Afghanistan and other 
forward locations. The LHTA is especially valuable because of 
the variety of training conducted there, which is reflected in 
the number and diversity of organizations that train there.
    There are a number of other, non-federal activities that 
occur at the LHTA, and the Army is respectful of the multiple 
uses of the property. We are particularly proud of the 
collaborative relationship among the MTNG, the BLM, and the 
other stakeholders in the area. The Army closely coordinates 
with the operators of an active limestone mine within the 
withdrawal area. The Army firmly supports allowing existing 
mining claims to proceed to development in accordance with 
previously approved plans of operations, and we are confident 
this can occur. The MTNG plans meticulously to ensure that 
training and mining operations are held at a safe distance, and 
that any unexploded ordnance (UXO) is removed from the mining 
area. Training activities are also deconflicted with grazing 
operations, wildlife habitat, and use of two public roads that 
traverse the property. There is a proven track record of 
accommodating multiple uses of the property while fulfilling 
military training and mission needs.
    The MTNG is party to an existing agreement with the BLM and 
with Graymont Western US, Inc., the current mine operator. This 
agreement specifies the procedures that the parties follow to 
coordinate and deconflict their respective activities. As 
provided for in the legislation, the Army is prepared to enter 
into a new agreement to update those procedures during the 
withdrawal period. We do not foresee any difficulty in 
maintaining procedures to ensure that training and readiness 
are maintained while accommodating the needs of other parties.
    While the Army supports withdrawal of the property to 
enable its continued use for military training, the Army has 
significant concerns with certain language in the bill that 
would legislatively expand certain rights for mineral 
disposition or exploration. The Army opposes inclusion of 
Subsection 4(a)(3), which would provide an opportunity for 
certain mining claimants to amend or relocate mining claims and 
to reinstate expired claims. This provision would give 
unprecedented latitude to these claimants, which could impact 
land required for military training--including live fire impact 
areas. This would severely limit the ability of the Army to 
plan and conduct training on the property.
    The Army supports allowing existing mining claims to 
proceed to development in accordance with previously approved 
plans of operations and in accordance with applicable law and 
regulation. However, the Army strongly objects to this 
Subsection as it would grant particular mining claimants the 
ability to operate without regard for the withdrawal and 
reservation. There is no clear precedent for this provision, 
which stands in opposition to the normal purpose and effect of 
military land withdrawals. By granting unique privileges to 
certain mining claimants, this provision is also contrary to 
the normal operation of mining laws and regulations, which 
provide equal treatment for all claimants who are similarly 
situated.
    The LHTA is an important asset for the readiness of the 
armed forces. If the land is not withdrawn, Limestone Hills 
will be returned to the BLM and the MTNG would be forced to 
conduct its primary training events at other locations. 
Changing training venues could markedly increase the costs to 
the MTNG over current expenditures. Additionally, UXO 
contamination would need to be mitigated if the range were 
closed. Since funding for UXO removal from active ranges is 
controlled and prioritized differently from funding for cleanup 
of closed ranges, if the range is closed, Army priorities and 
schedules for UXO removal would be affected. We appreciate the 
effort to keep this important training asset open and 
available.
    Noting the strong objection to Subsection 4(a)(3), we 
support S. 1169 with the exclusion of that provision. The 
Department of Defense has submitted a legislative proposal to 
the Congress for consideration that would also address the 
withdrawal requirements for LHTA. The proposal, introduced as 
S. 1309, is fully coordinated and agreed to within the 
Administration, and would provide urgent and necessary 
authority to continue training and operations.
S. 753, a bill to provide for national security benefits for White 
        Sands Missile Range and Fort Bliss
    The other legislation I would like to discuss is S. 753, 
which involves the withdrawal of 42,700 acres of public lands 
in New Mexico and reservation of 5,100 of those acres for use 
by the Department of the Army. The bill would also transfer 
administration of 2,050 acres from the Army to the Department 
of Interior. These lands are directly adjacent to Fort Bliss 
and the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). As the two largest 
military installations in the United States, Fort Bliss and 
WSMR consist of nearly 5,000 square miles of land that 
accommodates military training, research, development, and test 
and evaluation. In addition to Army test activities, WSMR hosts 
several other federal tenants, including NASA and the National 
Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
    A portion of the withdrawal, totaling 37,600 acres, is 
adjacent to the Dona Ana tank gunnery and artillery range 
complex at Fort Bliss. Training in this location can generate 
significant noise, vibration, and dust, which can all migrate 
off the installation. Army analysis has determined that noise 
levels occurring in the area to be withdrawn are higher than is 
recommended for various categories of use and development. The 
Army is concerned that residential and commercial development 
may occur in that area. The legislation would ensure that 
incompatible development does not occur in that area. In doing 
so, the legislation would establish an enduring buffer for the 
live-fire ranges in the Dona Ana training area.
    A separate 5,100 acre portion of the land that would be 
withdrawn by this legislation is adjacent to tenant operations 
at WSMR: the NASA White Sands Test Facility; the NASA Goddard 
Space Flight Center Tracking and Data Relay Satellite Systems 
facility; and the NRO Aerospace Data Facility--Southwest. These 
operations are co-located and have special security and safety 
requirements. The land set aside for their use, while large 
enough to handle the mission, no longer resides in a remote 
location. As with many locations in the southwest, this area 
has seen a large increase in population in recent years. The 
facilities sit close to the border of a public access area, and 
a number of security incidents in the area have highlighted the 
value of having a controlled stand-off area. This legislation 
would reserve for military control a one-mile stand-off area 
between those tenant activities and the public access area, 
which would improve the security for these facilities.
    The bill would also return administration of a small area 
at Fort Bliss from the Department of the Army to the Department 
of the Interior. The 2,050 acre parcel, previously withdrawn 
for military use, would be transferred to the BLM. This parcel 
has relatively limited training value for Fort Bliss due to its 
limited access from the installation. The Army does not object 
to the return of this land to BLM, but we offer one technical 
comment on the provision. Since the parcel was originally 
withdrawn by Public Land Order 833, a partial legislative 
revocation of that Public Land Order would ensure a clear 
interpretation of congressional intent.
    The Army has worked cooperatively with the Bureau of Land 
Management and other neighbors and stakeholders in addressing 
land use issues in this area. We appreciate the cooperation and 
interest of all parties who support the various missions at 
Fort Bliss and WSMR. The Army supports this legislation, which 
would protect those important national security missions.
    Thank you for the opportunity to discuss these topics, I 
look forward to any questions you have.


                        changes in existing law


    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by S. 75, as ordered reported.