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                                                       Calendar No. 120
113th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     113-66

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



 
                SAN JUAN COUNTY FEDERAL LAND CONVEYANCE

                                _______
                                

                 June 27, 2013.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Wyden, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 609]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 609) to authorize the Secretary of the 
interior to convey certain Federal land in San Juan County, New 
Mexico, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with amendments and recommends that 
the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendments are as follows:
    1. On page 1, line 9, strike ``Federal land'' and insert 
``Federal surface estate''.
    2. On page 2, line 19, insert ``and subject to valid 
existing rights'' after ``prescribe.''
    3. On page, after line 16, add the following:
    (f) Withdrawal.--Subject to valid existing rights, the 
Federal land is withdrawn from--
          (1) location, entry, and patent under the mining 
        laws; and
          (2) disposition under all laws relating to mineral 
        and geothermal leasing or mineral materials.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 609 was introduced by Senators Udall of New Mexico and 
Heinrich on March 19, 2013. A hearing was held on S. 609 by the 
Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining on April 25, 
2013. At its business meeting on May 16, 2013, the Committee 
ordered S. 609 favorably reported with amendments.
    In the 112th Congress, identical legislation was introduced 
by Senators Udall of New Mexico and Bingaman on June 28, 2012.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on May 16, 2013, by a voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 507, if 
amended as described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

    During the consideration of S. 609, the Committee adopted 
an amendment to address recommendation made by the Department 
of the Interior in its testimony. The amendment specifies that 
the conveyance under the bill would be limited to only the 
surface estate and not the subsurface mineral estate; provides 
for a withdrawal of the mineral estate from the mining laws and 
the mineral leasing laws; and specifies that both the 
conveyance and the withdrawal are subject to valid existing 
rights.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 provides for the short title, the ``San Juan 
County Federal Land Conveyance Act''.
    Section 2 defines key terms used in the bill.
    Section 3(a) authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to 
convey by sale certain Federal land in San Juan County on the 
request of the landowner, subject to valid existing rights and 
such terms and conditions as the Secretary may prescribe.
    Subsection (b)(1) clarifies that the acres and legal 
description of the Federal land conveyed under subsection (a) 
is to be determined and approved by the Secretary of the 
Interior.
    Subsection (b)(2) requires the administrative costs of the 
conveyance to be paid by the landowner.
    Subsection (c) directs that the landowner shall pay an 
amount equal to the fair market value of the Federal land 
conveyed, which will be determined by an appraisal.
    Subsection (d) requires the Secretary to deposit the 
proceeds of the conveyance of Federal lands in a special 
account in the Treasury for the acquisition of land or 
interests in land from willing sellers for resource protection 
that is consistent with the purposes for which the Bald Eagle 
Area of Critical Environmental Concern in the State was 
established.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

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

S. 609--San Juan County Federal Land Conveyance Act

    S. 609 would authorize the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 
to sell certain federal lands located in San Juan County, New 
Mexico. Based on information provided by the agency, CBO 
estimates that implementing the bill would have a negligible 
impact on the federal budget. Enacting the legislation would 
increase offsetting receipts and associated direct spending; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO 
estimates that those changes would have no significant impact 
on future budget deficits. Enacting S. 609 would not affect 
revenues.
    S. 609 would authorize BLM to sell 19 acres of federal land 
to private landowners. The bill would require the landowners to 
pay fair market value for the property. Based on information 
provided by BLM, CBO estimates that proceeds from the sale of 
the affected lands would increase offsetting receipts by about 
$300,000. Under the bill, BLM would be authorized to retain and 
spend those proceeds, without further appropriation, to acquire 
other lands. In addition, the bill would require the landowners 
to pay for the required survey and to cover any administrative 
costs associated with the sale.
    S. 609 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    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. 609.
    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. 609, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    S. 609, 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 Bureau of Land Management 
April 25, 2013, Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and 
Mining hearing on S. 609 follows:

  Statement of Jamie Connell, Acting Deputy Director, Bureau of Land 
                 Management, Department of the Interior

    Thank you for inviting the Department of the Interior to 
testify on S. 609, the San Juan Federal Land Conveyance Act. 
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) supports S. 609, which 
provides for the sale of approximately 19 acres of public land 
in northern San Juan County, New Mexico to a private party at 
fair market value. We support this legislation, but would like 
the opportunity to work with the sponsor and the committee on a 
few modifications to S. 609.
Background
    In 1998, the BLM settled a lawsuit regarding protection of 
the southwestern willow flycatcher in New Mexico. In order to 
protect potential flycatcher habitat, the BLM agreed to exclude 
livestock grazing from riparian areas in New Mexico by fencing 
BLM-managed river tracts identified as having suitable 
flycatcher habitat. While surveying lands for fencing under the 
settlement agreement, the BLM discovered as many as 20 
different cases of trespass on BLM-administered public lands in 
New Mexico.
    These trespass cases included a 14-acre trespass into the 
Bald Eagle Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) north 
of Aztec, N.M. In 1999, the Blancett family, who were actively 
farming these acres, was cited for trespass on approximately 19 
acres of public lands. Despite resolution of many of the 
identified trespass cases--including cases with the Blancetts' 
neighbors to the north and south--BLM negotiation efforts with 
the Blancetts were unsuccessful.
    Following failed negotiations and an IBLA mediation 
attempt, the Blancetts sued the Department of the Interior in 
U.S. District Court in 2010. On February 27, 2012, a settlement 
was reached between the Blancetts and the Department of the 
Interior, and the case was dismissed with prejudice. Under that 
settlement agreement, the Blancetts have two years to obtain a 
legislative solution to address the trespass situation. If a 
legislative solution is not obtained by March 5, 2014, or 
substantial progress toward that solution is not made by that 
time, the BLM will offer to sell the approximately two-acre 
parcel with the family residence to the Blancetts and the BLM 
may immediately begin to fence and reclaim the remaining 17 
acres for bald eagle habitat, which will remain in Federal 
ownership.
S. 609
    S. 609 provides for the direct sale of approximately 19 
acres of BLM-managed public land in San Juan County, New 
Mexico, to the Blancetts pursuant to a 2012 settlement 
agreement. The bill requires the Secretary of the Interior to 
sell at fair market value approximately 19-acres of public land 
to the Blancetts upon their request, as outlined in the 
settlement.
    Under the bill, fair market value is to be determined by an 
appraisal conducted using the Uniform Appraisal Standards for 
Federal Land Acquisitions and other standard provisions. 
Additionally, the bill requires the Blancetts to pay 
administrative costs associated with the sale, including the 
cost of the survey and appraisal. The BLM supports these 
provisions.
    The bill requires the transfer to the Blancetts of all 
right, title, and interest of the Federal government of these 
public lands. As written, this would include the subsurface 
mineral estate. The BLM notes that there are two producing oil 
wells on Federal land adjacent to the lands proposed for 
conveyance, and the Federal mineral lease associated with these 
wells includes the lands proposed for transfer. In order to 
address the existing lease and producing wells, the BLM 
recommends that the Federal government retain ownership of the 
mineral estate, and that the legislation provide for a 
withdrawal of the mineral estate from the mining laws and 
mineral leasing laws. Furthermore, we recommend that both the 
conveyance and the withdrawal be subject to valid existing 
rights.
    Under the bill, all proceeds from the sale are to be 
deposited into a special account in the Treasury for use in the 
acquisition of land or interests in land to further the 
protective purposes of the Bald Eagle ACEC or for resource 
protection consistent with the purposes of the ACEC. Because 
these funds are derived from the sale of lands, the BLM 
believes these funds should be used solely to acquire other 
lands or interest in lands.
    The BLM supports this bill as it represents an opportunity 
to resolve a longstanding trespass issue and facilitates a 
reasonable and practicable conveyance of the lands to the 
Blancetts that is consistent with the 2012 settlement 
agreement.
Conclusion
    Thank you again for the opportunity to testify in support 
of the San Juan Federal Land Conveyance Act. I would be glad to 
answer your questions.

                        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. 609, as ordered 
reported.