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115th Congress    }                                  {        Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session       }                                  {       115-1052

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



 
                TREATY OF GUADALUPE-HIDALGO LAND CLAIMS 
                              ACT OF 2018

                                _______
                                

 November 27, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 6365]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 6365) to establish the Treaty of Guadalupe 
Hidalgo Land Grant-Merced Claims Commission and other Federal 
policies for the restoration of land for hardships resulting 
from the incomplete and inequitable implementation of the 
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, to affirm Land Grant-Merced 
property rights protected by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Treaty of Guadalupe-
Hidalgo Land Claims Act of 2018''.
  (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings.
Sec. 3. Definitions.
Sec. 4. Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Land Grant-Merced Claims 
Commission.
Sec. 5. Hearings on qualifying petitions.
Sec. 6. Reports.
Sec. 7. Federal land disposal authority.
Sec. 8. Authorization of appropriation.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

  Congress finds the following:
          (1) The Western and Southwestern United States have a unique 
        history regarding land acquisition and ownership consequent to 
        the substantial number of Spanish and Mexican land grants-
        mercedes. These land grants-mercedes were an integral part of 
        the colonization and growth of the region before the United 
        States acquisition under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
          (2) Under the laws of Spain and Mexico, land grant-mercedes 
        included thousands of acres of land that was owned and used by 
        the communities, within the land grant-merced boundaries, in 
        common. This included guaranteed right to the use of water, 
        forest, pasture, minerals and other natural resources located 
        on the common lands.
          (3) The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo as affirmed by the 
        Protocol of Queretaro protects property rights of land grants-
        mercedes in the territory ceded by Mexico to the United States 
        of America.
          (4) Property rights include land, land title, water rights, 
        natural resource rights, mineral rights, and rights to physical 
        access.
          (5) Congress has enacted several major Federal land laws 
        subject to valid existing rights including the Organic 
        Administration Act of 1897 (16 U.S.C. 473 et seq.), the Taylor 
        Grazing Act (43 U.S.C. 315 et seq.), the Multiple Use and 
        Sustained Yield Act of 1960 (16 U.S.C. 528 et seq.), and the 
        Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 
        et seq.).
          (6) Various provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo 
        have not yet been fully implemented in the spirit of the United 
        States Constitution, article VI, section 2.
          (7) Serious questions remain regarding the rightful ownership 
        of lands in several western and southwestern States. Certain 
        Federal lands are the focus of such questions.
          (8) The Gadsden Purchase incorporated by reference the 
        property protection provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe 
        Hidalgo.
          (9) Land claim commissions, appointed by Congress, have 
        successfully examined disputed land possession claims.
          (10) The United States Government has recognized and upheld 
        usufruct rights for other indigenous groups.
          (11) Between 1968 and 1981, the Forest Service recognized the 
        uniqueness of the land tenure history in New Mexico and 
        instituted what became known as the Northern New Mexico Policy 
        for the Southwest Region to address the socioeconomic and 
        cultural needs of the forest-dependent land grant-merced 
        communities in New Mexico.
          (12) The United States General Accounting Office Report to 
        Congressional Requesters, dated June 2004, numbered GAO 04 59, 
        and entitled the ``Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: Findings and 
        Possible Options Regarding Longstanding Community Land Grant 
        Claims in New Mexico'', found the New Mexico land claims 
        confirmation process was inefficient and caused hardships to 
        claimants. Such report provided the following options for 
        congressional consideration in addressing land grant-merced 
        claims:
                  (A) Consider establishing a commission or other body 
                to reexamine specific Land Grant-Merced claims that 
                were rejected or not confirmed for the full acreage 
                claimed.
                  (B) Consider transferring Federal land to communities 
                that did not receive all of the acreage originally 
                claimed for their community land grants.
                  (C) Consider making financial payments to claimants' 
                heirs or other entities for the non-use of land 
                originally claimed but not awarded.
          (13) The General Accounting Office also noted that ``Congress 
        may disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court's Sandoval 1897 
        decision and decide that it should be `legislatively 
        overruled', by addressing the affected land grants in some way 
        or taking other action''.
          (14) The State of New Mexico's response to such report, dated 
        August 14, 2008, and entitled ``Report to the New Mexico 
        Attorney General--A Response to the GAO's 2004 Report `Treaty 
        of Guadalupe Hidalgo: Findings and Possible Options Regarding 
        Longstanding Community Land Grant Claims in New Mexico''', 
        found the following:
                  (A) The Federal Government had a duty to correctly 
                confirm land grants-mercedes in New Mexico and that 
                duty was understated by the analysis of the General 
                Accounting Office.
                  (B) Most land grants-mercedes were not confirmed by 
                the Federal Government in the correct type of land 
                ownership pattern, as granted by Spain or Mexico to be 
                held in common by the entire community, but rather the 
                vast majority were confirmed as privately owned by the 
                family of a single petitioner or as tenancy-in-common. 
                The tenancy-in-common designation was foreign to 
                Spanish and Mexican jurisprudence and left land grants-
                mercedes subject to partition suits that resulted in 
                the significant loss of common land. These facts were 
                omitted by the General Accounting Office report.
                  (C) Most postconfirmation land losses were the direct 
                result of the improper nature of the Federal 
                confirmation, and erroneous Federal confirmations could 
                not be remedied in the court system, contrary to the 
                analysis of the General Accounting Office.
                  (D) Many land grants-mercedes or their common lands 
                were improperly rejected in their entirety, others lost 
                substantial amounts of acreage by improper application 
                of boundary descriptions, and others were foreclosed 
                from being confirmed by earlier adverse rulings.
                  (E) The Federal Government in a great many cases did 
                not provide constitutionally sufficient notice of its 
                confirmation activities, which contributed directly to 
                many land grants-mercedes being erroneously 
                misconfirmed.
                  (F) The Federal Government and various Federal agents 
                and officials involved in the confirmation process 
                helped create a climate in which land speculators were 
                able to undermine the adjudication process to 
                dispossess land grants-mercedes of their common lands.
          (15) Compared to their original claims, land grants-mercedes 
        suffered enormous loss of land to the Federal Government and 
        others. This loss negatively impacted the economic, 
        environmental, and social well-being of these communities.
          (16) The following land grant-merced priority rights were 
        protected by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo:
                  (A) Water rights, including all surface, ground, and 
                runoff water within the former common lands that are 
                now under the management of the Federal Government.
                  (B) Natural resource rights, including gathering of 
                fuelwood, timber, vegetation, vegetation products, 
                rocks, soils, and grazing and watering of livestock 
                that are now under the management of the Federal 
                Government.
                  (C) Mineral rights, including any and all surface and 
                subsurface minerals located within the existing and 
                former common lands as well as rights to compensation 
                for minerals extracted from former common lands now 
                under management of the Federal Government.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) Adjudication process.--The term ``adjudication 
        process'''--
                  (A) means the processes required by treaty by which 
                the United States recognized land claims between 1854 
                and 1904 in the territories ceded under--
                          (i) the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; and
                          (ii) the Gadsden Purchase; and
                  (B) includes the processes provided for in the 1854 
                Act establishing the Office of Surveyor-General of New 
                Mexico (10 Stat. 308) and the 1891 Act establishing the 
                Court of Private Land Claims (26 Stat. 854).
          (2) Claim.--The term ``claim'' means the declaration of 
        property rights protected by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo 
        vested in a land grant-merced, including--
                  (A) land, land title, mineral, and natural resource 
                claims; and
                  (B) water rights.
          (3) Claimant.--The term ``claimant'' means a land grant-
        merced as represented by its Governing body or an agent 
        thereof.
          (4) Federal land or federal lands.--The terms ``Federal 
        land'' or ``Federal lands''' means any land--
                  (A) located in the State of New Mexico; and
                  (B) administered by the Secretary of Agriculture 
                through the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service or the 
                Secretary of the Interior through the Director of the 
                Bureau of Land Management.
          (5) Gadsden purchase.--The term ``Gadsden Purchase'' means 
        the Treaty of Boundary, Cession of Territory, Transit of 
        Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
          (6) Governing body.--The term ``Governing body'' means the 
        governing body, as recognized by State law, of a land grant-
        merced.
          (7) Land grant-merced.--The term ``land grant-merced'' 
        means--
                  (A) a community land grant identified in tables 1 and 
                2 of the General Accounting Office Report #GAO 01 951; 
                or
                  (B) a community, village, town, or settlement, the 
                land of which was granted by the Government of Spain or 
                by the Government of Mexico, in accordance with the 
                laws, usages, and customs of Spain or Mexico between 
                1689 and 1854, and is within the boundaries of the 
                State of New Mexico, to--
                          (i) the community, village, town, or pueblo; 
                        or
                          (ii) a person for the purpose of founding or 
                        establishing a community, village, town, or 
                        settlement.
          (8) Qualifying petition.--The term ``qualifying petition'' 
        means a petition submitted under section 5.
          (9) Secretary concerned.--The term ``Secretary concerned'' 
        means the Secretary that administers the relevant Federal land.
          (10) Treaty of guadalupe hidalgo.--The term ``Treaty of 
        Guadalupe Hidalgo'' means the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, 
        Limits, and Settlement between the United States and the 
        Republic of Mexico, effective February 2, 1848.

SEC. 4. TREATY OF GUADALUPE HIDALGO LAND GRANT-MERCED CLAIMS 
                    COMMISSION.

  (a) Establishment.--There is hereby established a commission to be 
known as the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Land Grant-Merced Claims 
Commission (in this Act referred to as the ``Commission'').
  (b) Duties.--The duties of the Commission shall be to--
          (1) conduct a hearing on each qualifying petition and 
        formulate a recommendation on restitution, as described in 
        section 5(c); and
          (2) submit to Congress the reports required under section 6.
  (c) Membership.--
          (1) Number and appointment.--The Commission shall be composed 
        of 9 members, appointed by the President of the United States, 
        of which--
                  (A) 1 member shall be appointed in consultation with 
                the Secretary of the Interior;
                  (B) 1 member shall be appointed in consultation with 
                the Secretary of Agriculture;
                  (C) 1 member shall be appointed who has a background 
                in Spanish colonial and Mexican legal history as it 
                applies to the Southwestern United States;
                  (D) 1 member shall be appointed who has a background 
                in Spanish colonial, Mexican, and United States history 
                of the Southwestern United States;
                  (E) 1 member shall be appointed who has a background 
                in international laws pertaining to succession of 
                States and treaties as they relate to property rights, 
                land tenure, and usufruct rights;
                  (F) 1 member shall be appointed who has a background 
                in past and present socioeconomic conditions of the 
                Southwestern United States;
                  (G) 1 member shall be appointed who has a background 
                in cultural geography; and
                  (H) 2 members shall be members of the governing body 
                of a land grant-merced.
          (2) Terms.--Each member shall be appointed for the life of 
        the Commission.
          (3) Vacancies.--A vacancy in the Commission shall be filled 
        in the manner in which the original appointment was made.
          (4) Rate of pay.--To the extent or in the amounts provided in 
        advance in appropriation Acts, Members shall each be entitled 
        to receive daily compensation not to exceed the rate of basic 
        pay for level V of the Executive Schedule for each day, 
        including travel days, during which they are engaged in the 
        performance of duties vested in the Commission.
          (5) Preparation before hearings.--Before the start of the 
        first hearing under section 5, each member of the Commission 
        shall prepare for such hearing by becoming familiar with the 
        history of land grant-merced claims in the United States 
        Southwest. This preparation may include--
                  (A) the purchase, by the Commission, of pertinent 
                literature on the subject for each Commission member to 
                review; and
                  (B) requests by the Commission for training and 
                presentations on the subject from appropriate Federal 
                or State agencies, institutions of higher education, 
                and private organizations.
  (d) Powers of Commission.--
          (1) Hearings and sessions.--The Commission shall, for the 
        purpose of carrying out this Act, hold hearings, sit, and act 
        at times and at a location in the State where the petitioning 
        land grant-merced is located, take testimony, and receive 
        evidence as the Commission considers appropriate. The 
        Commission may administer oaths or affirmations to witnesses 
        appearing before it.
          (2) Powers of members and agents.--Any member or agent of the 
        Commission may, if authorized by the Commission, take any 
        action that the Commission is authorized to take by this Act.
          (3) Gifts, bequests, and devises.--The Commission may accept, 
        use, and dispose of gifts, bequests, or devises of services or 
        property, both real and personal, for the purpose of aiding or 
        facilitating the work of the Commission.
          (4) Mail.--The Commission may use the United States mail in 
        the same manner and under the same conditions as other 
        departments and agencies of the United States.
          (5) Authority to hire staff.--The Commission may hire or 
        contract staff necessary for the Commission to carry out its 
        responsibilities under this Act.
          (6) Administrative support services.--Upon the request of the 
        Commission, the Administrator of General Services, Secretary of 
        the Interior, and Secretary of Agriculture shall provide to the 
        Commission, on a reimbursable basis, the administrative support 
        services necessary for the Commission to carry out its 
        responsibilities under this Act.
          (7) Immunity.--The Commission is an agency of the United 
        States for the purposes of part V of title 18, United States 
        Code.
          (8) Subpoena power.--
                  (A) In general.--The Commission may issue subpoenas 
                requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and 
                the production of any evidence relating to any 
                qualifying petition.
                  (B) Failure to obey a subpoena.--If a person refuses 
                to obey a subpoena issued under subparagraph (A), the 
                Commission may apply to a United States district court 
                for an order requiring that person to appear before the 
                Commission to give testimony, produce evidence, or 
                both, relating to any qualifying petition. The 
                application may be made within the judicial district 
                where the hearing is conducted or where that person is 
                found, resides, or transacts business. Any failure to 
                obey the order of the court may be punished by the 
                court as civil contempt.
                  (C) Service of subpoenas.--The subpoenas of the 
                Commission shall be served in the manner provided for 
                subpoenas issued by a United States district court 
                under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for the 
                United States district courts.
                  (D) Service of process.--All process of any court to 
                which application is made under subparagraph (B) may be 
                served in the judicial district in which the person 
                required to be served resides or may be found.
  (e) Termination.--The Commission shall terminate not later than 180 
days after the Commission submits the report required under section 
6(b).
  (f) Assistance for Commission.--
          (1) Federal agency assistance to commission.--At the request 
        of the Commission, relevant Federal agencies shall make 
        available personnel, equipment, and facilities to assist the 
        Commission in performing its activities under this Act.
          (2) State agency assistance to commission.--The Commission 
        may accept assistance from relevant State agencies and 
        institutions of higher education in performing its activities 
        under this Act.

SEC. 5. HEARINGS ON QUALIFYING PETITIONS.

  (a) Qualifying Petition Hearing.--
          (1) In general.--The Commission shall conduct a hearing on 
        each qualifying petition, as described in subsection (b), to 
        formulate a recommendation on restitution to the claimant, of 
        the possible restitutions described in subsection (c).
          (2) Designation of location.--The Commission shall designate 
        one or more locations in the claimant's State in which to hold 
        such hearing.
          (3) Right to testify.--All persons having an interest in the 
        land involved in a qualifying petition shall have the right, 
        upon notice, to be present and testify before the Commission 
        during such hearing.
          (4) Hearing process.--As part of such hearing, the Commission 
        shall--
                  (A) review each qualifying petition and receive 
                testimony to examine--
                          (i) the impact to the land grant-merced and 
                        its associated communities resulting from the 
                        failure of the United States to properly 
                        recognize, during the adjudication process, a 
                        land grant-merced boundary, as it existed in 
                        1854;
                          (ii) the impact to the land grant-merced and 
                        its associated communities resulting from the 
                        failure of the United States to act on a land 
                        grant-merced claim made during the adjudication 
                        process;
                          (iii) the impact to the land grant-merced and 
                        its associated communities resulting from the 
                        rejection of a land grant-merced claim made 
                        during the adjudication process;
                          (iv) the impact to the land grant-merced and 
                        its associated communities resulting from the 
                        incorrect confirmation by the United States of 
                        a Land Grant-Merced as a tenancy-in-common;
                          (v) the impact to the land grant-merced and 
                        its associated communities resulting from the 
                        incorrect confirmation by the United States of 
                        the land grant-merced as a private land grant 
                        to an individual;
                          (vi) the impact to the land grant-merced and 
                        its associated communities resulting from the 
                        United States incorrectly issuing a patent for 
                        the land grant-merced to the wrong party;
                          (vii) the impact of prior adjudication 
                        decisions made by the United States on the 
                        submittal of subsequent land claim petitions 
                        with respect to the land grant-merced;
                          (viii) the impact to the land grant-merced 
                        and its associated communities resulting from 
                        the failure of the United States to provide 
                        adequate due process to land grant-merced 
                        during the adjudication process;
                          (ix) the impact to the land grant-merced and 
                        its associated communities resulting from the 
                        failure of the United States to provide 
                        adequate representation during the adjudication 
                        process, as required by law, for certain 
                        protected populations located on the land 
                        grant-merced; and
                          (x) the impact to the land grant-merced and 
                        its associated communities resulting from the 
                        misconduct or direct conflict of interest of 
                        United States officials during the adjudication 
                        process;
                  (B) review existing Federal land use policies 
                governing land identified in the qualifying petition;
                  (C) identify and report all private and public leases 
                on land identified in the qualifying petition, 
                including lease type, term, and owner;
                  (D) determine the value of revenues generated and 
                resources removed from land identified in the 
                qualifying petition, through sale, lease, permit, and 
                all other means granted to any person not associated 
                with the claimant, during the period it was taken out 
                of control of the claimant until the time of such 
                hearing; and
                  (E) review and examine existing laws, memorandums of 
                understanding, agreements, and easements relating to 
                the management and use of land identified in the 
                qualifying petition.
          (5) Legal standards.--When evaluating qualifying petitions, 
        the Commission shall apply international treaty law and laws 
        pertaining to the succession of States. The Commission shall 
        also evaluate qualifying petitions based on Spanish and Mexican 
        civil and customary law, principles of equity, and customs and 
        usages in effect in what is now the Southwestern United States, 
        from 1692 up to the ratification of the Gadsden Purchase in 
        1854.
  (b) Elements of Qualifying Petition.--For purposes of this Act, a 
qualifying petition is one that--
          (1) is received by the Commission not later than the date 
        that is 5 years after the date of the enactment of this Act;
          (2) is made pursuant to an official resolution adopted by the 
        claimant; and
          (3) includes the following information:
                  (A) The name and address of the claimant and a name, 
                address, telephone number, and if available, email 
                address of the point of contact for the claimant.
                  (B) Documentation showing the claimed boundaries of 
                the relevant land grant-merced, including a legal 
                survey or, if a survey is not readily available, a 
                sketch map or geographic information system rendering 
                thereof.
                  (C) A summary of the claims being made and the 
                requested restitution for each claim.
  (c) Possible Restitutions.--The Commission may, under subsection (a), 
recommend as restitution that the Secretary concerned--
          (1) convey Federal land to the claimant;
          (2) grant the claimant stewardship rights to all or part of 
        Federal land;
          (3) grant the claimant priority access and use rights to all 
        or part of Federal lands for--
                  (A) harvesting of natural resources, such as 
                fuelwood, timber, minerals, rock, soils, vegetation, 
                and vegetation products;
                  (B) grazing and watering of livestock; or
                  (C) hunting and fishing;
          (4) grant the claimant priority rights to leases, special use 
        permits, and easements on Federal land, which may include 
        placement of land grant-merced infrastructure and community 
        cemeteries;
          (5) grant the claimant priority rights to acquire Federal 
        lands that may become available for disposal; and
          (6) grant the claimant priority rights to obtain new, unused, 
        or unrenewed grazing allotments on Federal lands.
  (d) Protection of Non-Federal Property.--The Commission may not make 
any recommendation that affects the ownership, title, or rights of 
owners of any non-Federal lands covered by the qualifying petition.
  (e) Protection of Existing Leases.--The Commission may not make any 
recommendation that affects any lease, permit, right-of-way, or any 
other valid existing rights held by a person on such land as such 
lease, permit, or right-of-way existed on the day before the date of 
the transfer.

SEC. 6. REPORTS.

  (a) Individual Reports.--Not later than 90 days after the date that 
the Commission concludes a hearing under section 5 for a qualifying 
petition, the Commission shall submit a report to Secretary concerned 
and the claimant that includes the Commissions recommendations and 
findings with respect to that petition.
  (b) Report to Congress.--Not later than 10 years after the date of 
the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall submit a report to 
Congress that details, with respect to each qualifying petition--
          (1) a summary of the claims in such qualifying petition;
          (2) the Commission's recommended restitution with respect to 
        each claim and reasons thereof; and
          (3) the Secretary that administers the land identified in the 
        qualifying petition.

SEC. 7. FEDERAL LAND DISPOSAL AUTHORITY.

  (a) In General.--The Secretary concerned may transfer land to the 
claimant or grant the claimant any rights as is recommended by the 
Commission in the report required to be issued under section 6(a).
  (b) Cost.--The Secretary concerned shall pay any costs associated 
with a land transfer under subsection (a).

SEC. 8. PROTECTION OF ACEQUIAS.

  (a) In General.--The rights of any acequia located on Federal land on 
the date of the enactment of this Act shall not be impaired as a result 
of the enactment of this Act, including the right to use of water by 
valid water right owners and access to the acequia for necessary 
maintenance and improvements to the acequia easement and 
infrastructure.
  (b) Management of Acequias.--Each acequia located on Federal land on 
the date of the enactment of this Act shall be managed and controlled 
by the governing body of such acequia in accordance with N.M. Stat. 
Sec. 73 2 12 or C.R.S. Sec. 7 42 101.5
  (c) Definition.--In this section the term ``acequia'' means a 
waterway recognized as an acequia or a community ditch under New Mexico 
State law, including the diversions, storage facilities, and easements 
of such waterway.

SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATION.

  There is authorized $1,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2019 to 
2028 for the purpose of carrying out the activities of the Commission.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 6365 is to establish the Treaty of 
Guadalupe Hidalgo Land Grant-Merced Claims Commission and other 
Federal policies for the restoration of land for hardships 
resulting from the incomplete and inequitable implementation of 
the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and to affirm Land Grant-Merced 
property rights protected by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    From the late 17th to mid-19th centuries, Spanish and later 
Mexican governments made hundreds of land grants to individuals 
and communities in what is now the southwestern United 
States.\1\ In New Mexico, grants were made to encourage 
settlement, reward patrons of the Spanish government, and to 
create a buffer zone between Indian tribes and the more 
populated regions of its northern frontier.\2\ Meanwhile, 
increased tensions between the United States and Mexico over 
the newly-independent State of Texas and disputed lands 
culminated in the Mexican-American War of 1846.\3\ After almost 
two years of battling, the United States and Mexico signed the 
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, officially ending the war. 
The Treaty ceded from Mexico to the United States approximately 
one-half million acres of land in present-day Nevada, Utah, 
Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. The Treaty also 
required the United States to honor the land conveyances and 
property rights in its new territory.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Government Accountability Office, GAO-04-59, Treaty of Guadalupe 
Hidalgo: Findings and Possible Options Regarding Longstanding Community 
Land Grant Claims in New Mexico (2004).
    \2\Ibid.
    \3\Department of State Office of the Historian, The Annexation of 
Texas, the Mexican-American War, and the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, 
1845-1848 (https://history.state.gov/milestones/1830-1860/texas-
annexation).
    \4\Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 9 Stat 922.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To validate these land claims the United States government 
established the Office of the Surveyor General in 1854. The 
mission of this office was to determine ``the origin, nature, 
character, and extent to all claims to lands under the laws, 
usages, and customs of Spain and Mexico.''\5\ The adjudication 
process used by the Surveyor General was not defensible, 
however, so in 1891 Congress established the Court of Private 
Land Claims to adjudicate land claims in New Mexico under more 
stringent guidelines. This body adjudicated claims through 
1904.\6\ Throughout the entire land grant adjudication process, 
154 claims were filed on 9.38 million acres, with 105 claims 
confirmed on 5.96 million acres.\7\ The 3.42 million acres not 
confirmed for land grantees became part of the public domain, 
which has been a point of consternation for many land grant 
heirs for more than a century.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\10 Stat. at 309.
    \6\Government Accountability Office, GAO-04-59, Treaty of Guadalupe 
Hidalgo: Findings and Possible Options Regarding Longstanding Community 
Land Grant Claims in New Mexico (2004).
    \7\Ibid.
    \8\Ibid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 6365 would provide an opportunity for these land 
grantees to have their claims reviewed. This bill would 
establish a Commission to review each claim and prepare a 
report to the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior that 
outlines findings and suggested restitution. This restitution 
can include special access to the lands in question or 
wholesale transfer. Any recommended restitution would affect 
only federal land, not private or State land. Further, valid 
existing rights for leases, permits and rights-of-way would not 
be affected. Relevant land management agencies, through their 
respective Secretaries, may execute the recommended restitution 
or Congress could pass legislation to do so. This bill would 
implement recommendations made by the Government Accountability 
Office in 2004.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\Ibid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title; Table of Contents

    This section provides a short title for the Act, the Treaty 
of Guadalupe-Hidalgo Land Claims Act of 2018, as well as a 
table of contents.

Section 2. Findings

    This section provides Congressional findings for the Act.

Section 3. Definitions

    This section defines terms used in the Act.

Section 4. Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Land Grant-Merced Claims 
        Commission

    This section establishes the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo 
Land Grant-Merced Claims Commission to conduct hearings on each 
qualifying petition and formulate a recommendation on 
restitution to submit to Congress. It requires that the 
Commission will be comprised of nine members appointed by the 
President who have experience in Spanish colonial history, 
Southwestern history, international laws pertaining to 
treaties, cultural geography, and land grants. It further 
requires that each member serves for the life of the 
Commission, and vacancies will be handled in the same manner as 
the appointment was made. It requires Commission members to 
study relevant history and provides that they shall receive 
compensation, subject to appropriations for that purpose.
    This section also sets forth Commission powers to hold 
hearings, accept gifts of services or property, use the U.S. 
mail as other federal agencies do, hire staff, issue subpoenas, 
and receive support from State and federal agencies. It 
requires that the Commission terminate 180 days after the final 
report is submitted.

Section 5. Hearings on qualifying petitions

    This section establishes the Commission's hearing process. 
Each petition shall receive a hearing in the claimant's State. 
It allows all persons having an interest in the land to 
testify. Upon receiving a qualifying petition, the Commission 
shall review many aspects of the land grant-merced (Spanish or 
Mexican land grants), including the impacts as a result of it 
not being recognized in 1854; existing federal land use 
policies on the land in question; all private and public leases 
involved; the value of the revenues generated from the land 
identified over time; and existing laws relating to the 
management of land at question. The Commission shall also apply 
appropriate international treaty law when evaluating the 
petitions.
    This section also delineates the elements of a qualifying 
petition. First, a petition must be received within five years 
after the bill's enactment. Second, it must be made pursuant to 
an official resolution adopted by the claimant. Third, it must 
include contact information, documentation on the boundaries, 
and the summary of claims being presented.
    This section also sets the criteria for possible 
restitution. The Commission may make the following 
recommendations: 1) convey the land; 2) grant the claimant 
stewardship rights; 3) grant the claimant priority access and 
use rights; 4) grant the claimant priority rights to leases, 
permits, and easements; 5) grant the claimant priority rights 
to acquire lands; or 6) grant the claimant priority rights to 
obtain new, unused, or unrenewed grazing allotments. It also 
adds two provisions that protect non-federal land and existing 
leases, permits, and rights-of-way.

Section 6. Reports

    This section requires that, within 90 days of a hearing, 
the Commission must complete and submit a report to the 
Secretary concerned. Ten years after the bill is enacted, the 
Commission must submit a report to Congress that details the 
claims, the restitution offered, and the Secretary who 
administers the land.

Section 7. Federal land disposal authority

    This section provides the Secretary concerned the ability 
to transfer land if recommended by the Commission.

Section 8. Protection of acequias

    This section ensures that the rights of any acequia 
(waterways) on federal land shall not be impaired.

Section 9. Authorization of appropriations

    This section authorizes appropriations of $1 million a year 
for each of Fiscal Years 2019 through 2028 to carry out the 
activities of the Commission.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 6365 was introduced on July 13, 2018, by Congressman 
Stevan Pearce (R-NM). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources and within the Committee, to the Subcommittee 
on Federal Lands and the Subcommittee on Water, Power and 
Oceans. The Federal Lands Subcommittee held a hearing on the 
bill on September 6, 2018. On September 26, 2018, the Natural 
Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittees 
were discharged by unanimous consent. Congressman Pearce 
offered an amendment designated #1; it was adopted by voice 
vote. Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) offered an amendment 
designated 116; it was not adopted by voice vote. No additional 
amendments were offered, and the bill, as amended, was ordered 
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by a roll 
call vote of 19 yeas and 12 nays, as follows:




[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]







            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 AND 
                        CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT

    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, November 7, 2018.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 6365, the Treaty 
of Guadalupe-Hidalgo Land Claims Act of 2018.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Janani 
Shankaran.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 6365--Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo Land Claims Act of 2018

    Summary: H.R. 6365 would authorize the appropriation of $1 
million annually over the 2019-2028 period to establish a 
commission to review petitions on the validity of certain land 
claims in New Mexico. CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 6365 
would cost $5 million over the 2019-2023 period, assuming 
appropriation of the authorized amounts.
    The bill also would authorize the commission to accept and 
spend donations. Because enacting H.R. 6365 could affect direct 
spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO 
estimates that the net effect on direct spending would be 
negligible. The bill would not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 6365 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    H.R. 6365 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary effect of H.R. 6365 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of the legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2019     2020     2021     2022     2023   2019-2023
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 INCREASES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Authorization Level.....................................        1        1        1        1        1          5
Estimated Outlays.......................................        1        1        1        1        1          5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
legislation will be enacted near the start of 2019. Estimated 
outlays are based on historical spending patterns for similar 
activities.
    H.R. 6365 would establish the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo 
Land Grant-Merced Claims Commission, which would be composed of 
nine members appointed by the President, to review petitions on 
the validity of certain land claims in New Mexico arising from 
the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. The bill would direct the 
commission to conduct hearings for each petition and submit 
recommendations to the Congress on possible forms of 
restitution for petitioners. (Settling those claims or 
providing restitution would require separate legislation; any 
costs would be attributed to the legislation that provided such 
authority.)
    H.R. 6365 would authorize the appropriation of $1 million 
annually through 2028 for those activities. Assuming 
appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO estimates that 
implementing the bill would cost $5 million over the 2019-2023 
period, and an additional $5 million after 2023.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: H.R. 6365 would authorize the 
commission to accept and spend donations, which would be 
recorded in the budget as offsetting receipts, or reductions in 
direct spending. Because CBO expects that any donations would 
be spent soon after they are received, we estimate that the net 
effect on direct spending would be negligible. The bill would 
not affect revenues.
    Increase in long-term direct spending and deficits: CBO 
estimates that enacting H.R. 6365 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    Mandates: H.R. 6365 contains no intergovernmental or 
private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Janani Shankaran; 
Mandates: Zachary Byrum.
    Estimate reviewed by: Kim P. Cawley, Chief, Natural and 
Physical Resources Cost Estimates Unit; H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. 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 establish the Treaty of Guadalupe 
Hidalgo Land Grant-Merced Claims Commission and other Federal 
policies for the restoration of land for hardships resulting 
from the incomplete and inequitable implementation of the 
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and to affirm Land Grant-Merced 
property rights protected by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

                           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. This bill does not contain any 
directed rule makings.
    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 to existing 
law.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    Following the implementation of the Treaty of Guadalupe 
Hidalgo, the United States had a responsibility to honor the 
land rights of historic communities in New Mexico. As confirmed 
by an extensive report by the Government Accountability Office 
(GAO), the confirmation process in the 19th Century was 
problematic, unfair, and inefficient, leaving many communities 
with unresolved claims.
    Establishing a commission, as recommended by the GAO, may 
be an appropriate method to review historic claims and 
grievances. This bill, however, provides the Executive Branch 
with too much discretion to dispose of federal land without any 
input from Congress.
    Sec. 7, for example, authorizes the Secretary of the 
Interior and Secretary of Agriculture to dispose of federal 
land based on the findings of the commission. This unrestricted 
authority could lead to unintended consequences, such as 
restricting access to federal land, conveyance of units of the 
National Park System and congressionally designated wilderness, 
and the disruption of Native American treaty rights exercised 
on existing federal land. Ranking Member Grijalva offered an 
amendment at markup to strike this section from the bill. 
Unfortunately, it was rejected by the majority.
    Decisions about how to implement the findings of the 
commission, including the disposal of any federal land, should 
be left up to Congress. If Sec. 7 remains, H.R. 6365 will lead 
to more injustice and resentment than it will resolve.

                                   Raul M. Grijalva,
                                           Ranking Member, Committee on 
                                               Natural Resources.

                                  [all]