(PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.)
Calendar No. 515
113th Congress Report
2d Session 113-228
EAST BENCH IRRIGATION DISTRICT WATER CONTRACT EXTENSION ACT AMENDMENTS
July 31, 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. 1965]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the bill (S. 1965) to amend the East Bench Irrigation
District Water Contract Extension Act to permit the Secretary
of the Interior to extend the contract for certain water
services, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon
without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.
The purpose of S. 1965 is to amend the East Bench
Irrigation District Water Contract Extension Act to permit the
Secretary of the Interior to extend the contract for certain
Background and Need
The East Bench Irrigation District (EBID) is a privately
owned irrigation district located in Dillon, Montana. EBID had
an irrigation water service contract supplied by the Bureau of
Reclamation's Clark Canyon Dam and Reservoir in southwest
Montana from the contract's original execution in 1958 until
its expiration on December 31, 2005. EBID began to renew its
1958 contract in 2006 (which requires a Montana 5th District
Court decree), but an objection was filed that is not expected
to be resolved for two or more years. Short-term extensions of
the 1958 contract were provided in prior year appropriations
bills and most recently by Public Law 112-139 for an additional
four years, but this expired on December 31, 2013. EBID is
concerned about losing their right to renew their 1958 contract
if it is allowed to expire prior to securing court confirmation
of the renewed 2006 contract, so EBID is pursuing an extension
of the 1958 contract. S. 1965 would further extend the 1958
contract for an additional six years (for a total of 10 years,
or until December 31, 2019) or until the renewed 2006 contract
is executed. S. 1965 would still defer to the court to take up
the issue again at a time of its choosing.
Senator Baucus introduced S. 1965 on January 28, 2014 with
Senator Tester as a co-sponsor. Senator Walsh was added as a
co-sponsor on June 3, 2014. A hearing was held by the
Subcommittee on Water and Power on February 27, 2014 (S. Hrg.
113-284). At its business meeting on June 18, 2014, the Senate
Energy and Natural Resources Committee ordered S. 1965
favorably reported without amendment.
A related bill, S. 997, was introduced by Senator Tester in
the 112th Congress. A hearing was held by the Subcommittee on
Water and Power on June 23, 2011 (S. Hrg. 112-129). At its
business meeting on July 14, 2011, the Senate Energy and
Natural Resources Committee ordered S. 997 favorably reported
(S. Rpt. 112-65) and was passed into law on June 27, 2012 (P.L.
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in
open business session on June 18, 2014, by a voice vote,
recommends that the Senate pass S. 1965 without amendment.
Section 1 amends the East Bench Irrigation District Water
Contract Extension Act (Public Law 112-139; 126 Stat. 390) to
extend the contract from 4 years to 10 years.
Cost and Budgetary Considerations
The following estimate of costs of this measure has been
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
S. 1965--A bill to amend the East Bench Irrigation District Water
Contract Extension Act to permit the Secretary of the Interior
to extend the contract for certain water services
S. 1965 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior,
acting through the Bureau of Reclamation, to extend the water
contract between the United States and the East Bench
Irrigation District for six additional years or until a new
long-term contract is executed, whichever is earlier. Based on
information from the Bureau of Reclamation, CBO estimates that
enacting the legislation would not affect the federal budget.
Because enacting S. 1965 would not affect revenues or direct
spending, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
The Bureau of Reclamation supplies irrigation water from
the Clark Canyon Dam and Reservoir project to the East Bench
Irrigation District under an interim contract negotiated in
2006 after the original contract expired. Although the interim
contract expired at the end of 2013 both the bureau and the
district continue to operate under the terms of the expired
contract and expect to do so until a new contract is executed.
S. 1965 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
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Aurora Swanson.
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. 1965.
The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of
imposing Government-established standards or significant
economic responsibilities on private individuals and
No personal information could be collected in administering
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal
Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the
enactment of S. 1965, as ordered reported.
Congressionally Directed Spending
This bill, 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.
The testimony provided by the Bureau of Reclamation at the
Subcommittee on Water and Power hearing on S. 1965 follows:
Statement of Robert Quint, Senior Advisor, Bureau of Reclamation,
Department of the Interior
Chairman Schatz and members of the Subcommittee, I am Bob
Quint, Senior Advisor at the Bureau of Reclamation
(Reclamation). I am pleased to provide the views of the
Department of the Interior (Department) on S. 1965, to amend
the East Bench Irrigation District Water Contract Extension Act
to permit the Secretary of the Interior to extend the contract
for certain water services. The Department supports S. 1965.
Reclamation's Clark Canyon Dam and Reservoir are located in
southwest Montana and supply irrigation water under contract to
the East Bench Irrigation District (EBID). EBID's water service
contract with Reclamation was first executed in October 1958
and expired on December 31, 2005. Pursuant to Section 1 of the
Act of May 15, 1922 (42 Stat. 541), Section 46 of the Omnibus
Adjustment Act of 1926 (44 Stat. 649), and Section 85-7-1957,
Montana Code Annotated, execution of a new contract between the
United States and any irrigation district requires confirmation
by a Montana District court.
In 2006, EBID filed a petition with the Montana Fifth
Judicial District Court seeking confirmation of the execution
of their renewed contract with Reclamation. A hearing was
convened on December 14, 2006, in Dillon, MT, and one objection
to the confirmation was filed.
A part of the legal challenge to confirmation of the
contract involves the proper place of use of the water, which
is an element of a water right which the Montana Water Court
has sole jurisdiction over. Therefore, the case was certified
from the Montana District Court to the Montana Water Court.
Once the Montana Water Court addresses the proper place of
use for the subject water right, it will send the case back to
the Montana District Court for further proceedings on the
various additional legal challenges to the contract. A decision
by either the Montana Water Court or the Montana District Court
may be appealed directly to the Montana Supreme Court, which is
the court of last resort.
Prior year appropriations bills have extended the contracts
for terms of up to two years. Most recently, in the 112th
Congress, Public Law 112-139; 126 Stat. 390 extended the
contract for four years (to December 31, 2013) or until the
date on which a new long-term contract is executed. EBID
remains concerned about losing their right to renew their 1958
contract if it is allowed to expire prior to securing court
confirmation of the renewed 2006 Contract. For this reason they
are pursuing extension of the 1958 contract.
Under current law, the 2006 contract is not binding on the
United States until court confirmation is secured. A final
decree from the court confirming the 2006 contract has not
occurred. Therefore, EBID is seeking authority under S. 1965 to
extend the 1958 contract. S. 1965 would extend the contract for
six years beyond Public Law 112-139 for a total of ten years
(to December 31, 2019) or until a new contract is executed and
still defer to the court to take up the issue again at a time
of its choosing. The Department believes that a 10 year
extension under S. 1965 will allow adequate time for
confirmation by the Montana Fifth Judicial District Court. The
Department supports this legislation because it would allow
water service to the EBID to continue and protects the right
for contract renewal while the court confirmation process is
given time to be completed.
This concludes my statement. Again, the Department supports
S. 1965. I would be pleased to answer questions at the
Changes in Existing Law
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by
the bill S. 1965, as ordered reported, are shown as follows
(existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black
brackets, new matter is in italic, and existing law in which no
change is proposed in shown in roman):
EAST BENCH IRRIGATION DISTRICT WATER CONTRACT EXTENSION ACT
Public Law 112-139
AN ACT To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to extend a water
contract between the United States and the East Bench Irrigation
* * * * * * *
SEC. 2. AUTHORITY TO EXTEND WATER CONTRACT.
The Secretary of the Interior may extend the contract for
water services between the United States and the East Bench
Irrigation District, numbered 14-06-600-3593, until the earlier
(1) the date that is [4 years] 10 years after the date on
which the contract would have expired if this Act had not been
(2) the date on which a new long-term contract is executed
by the parties to the contract.