Sets forth provisions regarding consideration and satisfaction of outstanding obligations, transfer costs, transfer documents, present vesting of lease benefits and obligations, and limits on further transfers.
Specifies that, upon completion of the transfer of reclamation project property to the project beneficiaries, such beneficiaries shall assume sole responsibility and liability for the projects and shall hold the United States harmless and indemnify the United States against any claims of damage, with exceptions.
Sets forth provisions regarding project purposes, operations, and cost allocations.
Beginning November 15, 1995
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the 'Missouri River Basin, Kansas and Nebraska, Pick-Sloan Project Facilities Transfer Act'.
SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS. As used in this Act:
(1) PROJECT BENEFICIARY-(A) The term 'project beneficiary' means one or more of the following irrigation districts or reclamation districts organized and operating under the laws of the State of Kansas or the State of Nebraska:
(i) In Kansas, Kansas-Bostwick Irrigation District No. 2, Kirwin Irrigation District No. 1, Webster Irrigation District No. 4, and Almena Irrigation District No. 5; and
(ii) In Nebraska, Ainsworth Irrigation District, Farwell Irrigation District, Sargent Irrigation District, Loup Basin Reclamation District, Frenchman-Cambridge Irrigation District and Nebraska Bostwick Irrigation District.
(B) Such term may also include an organization established by one or more of the irrigation districts referred to in subparagraph (A) under laws of the States of Kansas and Nebraska authorizing the creation of interlocal cooperation entities or such term may include another political subdivision of the States of Kansas or Nebraska established by act of their respective State legislatures for the purpose of acquiring title to reclamation project property in accordance with this Act.
(2) SECRETARY-The term 'Secretary' means the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of the Army, as appropriate, with jurisdiction over project facilities subject to this Act.
(3) RECLAMATION PROJECT PROPERTY-The term 'reclamation project property' means the following:
(A) All contracts which are currently in effect between the United States and the project beneficiaries or other parties and which relate to the projects, project facilities and related programs, including any such contracts, written or not written to provide project use power from Federal power facilities.
(B) All reclamation project distribution and drainage facilities, all reservoir and related diversion facilities and all related lands currently held by the United States which are subject to this Act.
(C) All acquired lands, both surface and subsurface estate, within the respective reclamation projects.
(D) All water rights held by the United States relating to the respective project facilities.
(E) All outstanding leases or contracts on the lands associated with the respective projects.
(F) All fund accounts held by the United States for any purposes related to the project.
(G) All contracts, other than those listed under subparagraph (E), or other legal obligations in existence which have any impact upon the project facilities or the project operations and which may be required to be assumed or accepted by the project beneficiary.
(H) All personal property, including operating equipment, tools and other tangible personal property, held by the United States for the purposes of operating the project or serving the project facilities.
(I) All funds held in reserve or otherwise dedicated accounts in which funds have been paid by project beneficiaries or from other nonproject related revenues and which are, as of the date of enactment of this Act, held for project purposes.
SEC. 3. TRANSFER OF MISSOURI RIVER BASIN, PICK-SLOAN PROJECTS FACILITIES. (a) GENERAL AUTHORITY-Within 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act and upon tender of the specified consideration by the project beneficiary, the Secretary shall transfer, in fee title and free of all liens and encumbrances, the project described in section 6, including all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to the reclamation project property, to the project beneficiary of each such described project.
(b) CONSIDERATION AND SATISFACTION OF OUTSTANDING OBLIGATIONS- The transfer of a project under subsection (a) shall be for the consideration specified for the project. The payment of the specified consideration for a project shall be in full and complete satisfaction of all obligations against the project facilities and the project beneficiaries existing before the date of transfer of the project under every contract entered into by and between the United States and the project beneficiaries. The completion of the transfer of all facilities as provided for in this Act and the payment of the consideration specified for each transferred project shall be deemed to constitute full and complete satisfaction of any and all obligations for further payments or repayments by the respective project sponsors for irrigation benefits of the project facilities and for any other benefits specifically transferred to the respective project sponsors.
(c) TRANSFER COSTS-All costs of transfers carried out under this section shall be the obligation of the United States.
(d) TRANSFER DOCUMENTS-The Secretary with the assistance of the project beneficiaries shall execute all necessary transfer documents and make all such filings or take all such actions as may be needed to consummate the transfers of reclamation project property. Such documents shall include (but not be limited to) land deeds, court proceedings, decrees, bills of sale, certificates of title, lease contract transfers, water rights certificates and amendment documents, and notice filings.
(e) PRESENT VESTING OF LEASE BENEFITS AND OBLIGATIONS-The project beneficiaries to whom any project lands are to be transferred under this section shall be entitled to immediately assume the management of all existing and future leases and shall be entitled to any revenues accruing on or after the date of enactment of this Act.
(f) LIMITATION-The further transfer of any facilities or parts thereof of any project which are not specifically transferred by this Act shall only be carried out by the United States with the specific advice and consent of the project beneficiaries to which project facilities are to be transferred by this Act.
SEC. 4. LIABILITY. Upon completion of the transfer of reclamation project property to the project beneficiaries as provided by this Act, the project beneficiaries shall assume sole responsibility and liability for the project and the project beneficiaries shall hold the United States harmless and indemnify the United States against any and all claims of damage, except that all project facilities transferred under this Act shall, as to the project beneficiaries, be free from liability for latent defects in such facilities unless all such defects were fully disclosed and the defects corrected or accepted in writing as to further future liability by the project beneficiaries.
SEC. 5. PROJECT PURPOSES, OPERATIONS, AND COST ALLOCATIONS. (a) CONTINUATION-All facilities transferred in accordance with this Act shall be deemed to be committed to the purposes for which those facilities were authorized and constructed. Operations of all such transferred facilities shall be subject to the laws of the States of Kansas and Nebraska as set forth in the establishment and operation of irrigation or reclamation districts under those respective State laws. All cost allocations identified as reimbursable by other beneficiaries provided for as a part of the original authorizing laws for each transferred project shall remain due from those beneficiaries under the same provisions and in the same manner as originally approved from and after the date of enactment of this Act until paid.
(b) DEEMED CONSENT OF PROJECT BENEFICIARY-The project beneficiary of each transferred project, upon accepting the transfer provided under this Act, shall be deemed to agree to operate, maintain, repair, replace and rehabilitate the project in a manner designed to carry out the intended purposes for which the project was developed and constructed, except that a transferred project or part thereof may be redirected to another already identified use or to another use if the project beneficiary determines that the public purpose for which the facilities were constructed is better served.
(c) TERMINATION OF MANDATES-All mandates imposed by the Reclamation Act of 1902 (and all Acts supplementary thereto or amendatory thereof, including the Reclamation Reform Act of 1982, or by Department of the Interior or Army regulations, upon the project facilities, the project beneficiaries, or the individual water users for whom the respective projects are operated shall be terminated upon the completion of the transfers as provided by this Act. Any other Federal laws and regulations shall be administered upon the projects as they might be over any other non-Federal project.
(d) CERTAIN ACTS NOT APPLICABLE-The transfers directed by this Act are subject to the requirement that all transferred reclamation project property be used in accordance with this section. A transfer under this Act shall not:
(1) be deemed to constitute a major Federal action within the meaning of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and shall therefore be deemed to satisfy all requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 without further action;
(2) constitute or be deemed a basis for invoking any provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973;
(3) require certification under the provisions of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act;
(4) be subject to the provisions of chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the 'Administrative Procedures Act'); or
(5) be considered a disposal of Federal surplus property under the provisions of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949.
SEC. 6. FACILITIES AFFECTED. (a) AINSWORTH UNIT-The Ainsworth Unit, Missouri River Basin Project, shall consist of the project constructed and operated pursuant to the Act of December 22, 1944 (58 Stat. 887, Public Law 78-534), and the Act of August 21, 1954 (68 Stat. 757), and the Act of May 18, 1956 (Public Law 84-531), and which is situated in Cherry, Brown, and Rock Counties in Nebraska. The Ainsworth Unit shall be transferred to the Ainsworth Irrigation District as the project beneficiary upon the payment of $1,747,097 as consideration therefore.
(b) FARWELL UNIT-The Farwell Unit, Missouri River Basin Project, shall consist of the project constructed and operated pursuant to the Act of December 22, 1944 (58 Stat. 887, Public Law 78-534), and the Act of August 3, 1956 (70 Stat. 975), and which is situated in Howard, Sherman, Custer and Valley Counties in Nebraska. The Farwell Unit shall be transferred to the Farwell Irrigation District and to the Loup Basin Reclamation District as the project beneficiaries in such manner as elected by the beneficiaries upon the payment of $2,399,874 as consideration therefore.
(c) SARGENT UNIT-The Sargent Unit, Missouri River Basin Project, shall consist of the project constructed and operated pursuant to the Act of December 22, 1944 (58 Stat. 887, Public Law 78-534), and the Act of August 3, 1956 (70 Stat. 975), and which is situated in Blaine, Custer, and Valley Counties in Nebraska. The Sargent Unit shall be transferred to the Sargent Irrigation District and to the Loup Basin Reclamation District as the project beneficiaries in such manner as elected by the beneficiaries upon the payment of $565,862 as consideration therefore.
(d) FRENCHMAN-CAMBRIDGE UNIT-The Frenchman-Cambridge Unit, Missouri River Basin Project, shall consist of the project constructed and operated pursuant to the Act of December 22, 1944 (58 Stat. 887), by Act of Congress (Public Law 78-534), as a component of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program, and which is situated in Red Willow, Frontier, Hitchcock, Furnas and Harlan Counties in Nebraska. The Frenchman-Cambridge Unit shall be transferred to the Frenchman-Cambridge Irrigation District or to another project beneficiary designated by the Irrigation District as the project beneficiaries upon the payment of $1,478,291 as consideration therefore.
(e) BOSTWICK UNIT-The Bostwick Unit, Missouri River Basin Project, shall consist of the projects constructed and operated pursuant to the Act of December 22, 1944 (58 Stat. 887), by Act of Congress (Public Law 78-534) as a component of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program, and which are situated in Harlan, Franklin, Webster and Nuckolls Counties in Nebraska, and Republic, Jewell and Cloud Counties in Kansas. The reclamation project property of the Bostwick Unit shall include all constructed facilities deemed to be a part of the irrigation operations for the Unit and shall include only that part of the Harlan County Dam and Reservoir required for irrigation storage and irrigation use. For purposes of this transfer such irrigation storage shall include water storage capacity between elevation 1925.0 and 1946.0 M.S.L. In accordance with the conditions set forth herein the irrigation storage and operations agreements now in effect between the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, shall be the basis for future operations between the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the project sponsors. The parts of the Bostwick Unit necessary to the operations of the Nebraska portion of the project shall be transferred to the Nebraska Bostwick Irrigation District or to another project beneficiary designated by the Irrigation District as the project beneficiaries. The parts of the Bostwick Unit necessary to the operations of the Kansas portion of the project shall be transferred to the Kansas-Bostwick Irrigation District No. 2 or to another project beneficiary designated by the Irrigation District as the project beneficiaries. The payment of $4,333,804 shall constitute consideration for the Bostwick Unit.