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108th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2d Session 108-701
COLORADO RIVER INDIAN RESERVATION BOUNDARY CORRECTION ACT
September 28, 2004.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on
the State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Pombo, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 2941]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill
(H.R. 2941) to correct the south boundary of the Colorado River
Indian Reservation in Arizona, 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
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE, FINDINGS, PURPOSES.
(a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Colorado River
Indian Reservation Boundary Correction Act''.
(b) Findings.--Congress finds the following:
(1) The Act of March 3, 1865, created the Colorado River
Indian Reservation (hereinafter ``Reservation'') along the
Colorado River in Arizona and California for the ``Indians of
said river and its tributaries''.
(2) In 1873 and 1874, President Grant issued Executive Orders
to expand the Reservation southward and to secure its southern
boundary at a clearly recognizable geographic location in order
to forestall non-Indian encroachment and conflicts with the
Indians of the Reservation.
(3) In 1875, Mr. Chandler Robbins surveyed the Reservation
(hereinafter ``the Robbins Survey'') and delineated its new
southern boundary, which included approximately 16,000
additional acres (hereinafter ``the La Paz lands''), as part of
(4) On May 15, 1876, President Grant issued an Executive
Order that established the Reservation's boundaries as those
delineated by the Robbins Survey.
(5) In 1907, as a result of increasingly frequent trespasses
by miners and cattle and at the request of the Bureau of Indian
Affairs, the General Land Office of the United States provided
for a resurvey of the southern and southeastern areas of the
(6) In 1914, the General Land Office accepted and approved a
resurvey of the Reservation conducted by Mr. Guy Harrington in
1912 (hereinafter the ``Harrington Resurvey'') which confirmed
the boundaries that were delineated by the Robbins Survey and
established by Executive Order in 1876.
(7) On November 19, 1915, the Secretary of the Interior
reversed the decision of the General Land Office to accept the
Harrington Resurvey, and upon his recommendation on November
22, 1915, President Wilson issued Executive Order No. 2273 ``.
. . to correct the error in location said southern boundary
line . . .''--and thus effectively excluded the La Paz from the
(8) Historical evidence compiled by the Department of the
Interior supports the conclusion that the reason given by the
Secretary in recommending that the President issue the 1915
Executive Order--``to correct an error in locating the southern
boundary''--was itself in error and that the La Paz lands
should not have been excluded from the Reservation.
(9) The La Paz lands continue to hold cultural and historical
significance, as well as economic development potential, for
the Colorado River Indian tribes, who have consistently sought
to have such lands restored to their Reservation.
(c) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are:
(1) To correct the south boundary of the Reservation by
reestablishing such boundary as it was delineated by the
Robbins Survey and affirmed by the Harrington Resurvey.
(2) To restore the La Paz lands to the Reservation, subject
to valid existing rights under Federal law and to provide for
continued reasonable public access for recreational purposes.
(3) To provide for the Secretary of the Interior to review
and ensure that the corrected Reservation boundary is
resurveyed and marked in conformance with the public system of
surveys extended over such lands.
SEC. 2. BOUNDARY CORRECTION, RESTORATION, DESCRIPTION.
(a) Boundary.--The boundaries of the Colorado River Indian
Reservation are hereby declared to include those boundaries as were
delineated by the Robbins Survey, affirmed by the Harrington Survey,
and described as follows: The approximately 15,375 acres of Federal
land described as ``Lands Identified for Transfer to Colorado River
Indian Tribes'' on the map prepared by the Bureau of Land Management
entitled ``H.R. 2981, Colorado River Indian Reservation Boundary
Correction Act, and dated May 14, 2004'', (hereinafter referred to as
(b) Map.--The Map shall be available for review at the Bureau of Land
(c) Restoration.--Subject to valid existing rights under Federal law,
all right, title, and interest of the United States to those lands
within the boundaries declared in subsection (a) that were excluded
from the Colorado River Indian Reservation pursuant to Executive Order
No. 2273 (November 22, 1915) are hereby restored to the Reservation and
shall be held in trust by the United States on behalf of the Colorado
River Indian Tribes.
(d) Exclusion.--Excluded from the lands restored to trust status on
behalf of the Colorado River Indian Tribes that are described in
subsection (a) are 2 parcels of Arizona State Lands identified on the
Map as ``State Lands'' and totaling 320 acres and 520 acres.
SEC. 3. RESURVEY AND MARKING.
The Secretary of the Interior shall ensure that the boundary for the
restored lands described in section 2(a) is surveyed and clearly marked
in conformance with the public system of surveys extended over such
SEC. 4. WATER RIGHTS.
The restored lands described in section 2(a) and shown on the Map
shall have no Federal reserve water rights to surface water or ground
water from any source.
SEC. 5. PUBLIC ACCESS.
Continued access to the restored lands described in section (2)(a)
for hunting and other existing recreational purposes shall remain
available to the public under reasonable rules and regulations
promulgated by the Colorado River Indian Tribes.
SEC. 6. ECONOMIC ACTIVITY.
(a) In General.--The restored lands described in section (2)(a) shall
be subject to all rights-of-way, easements, leases, and mining claims
existing on the date of the enactment of this Act. The United States
reserves the right to continue all Reclamation projects, including the
right to access and remove mineral materials for Colorado River
maintenance on the restored lands described in section (2)(a).
(b) Additional Rights-of-way.--Notwithstanding any other provision of
law, the Secretary, in consultation with the Tribe, shall grant
additional rights-of-way, expansions, or renewals of existing rights-
of-way for roads, utilities, and other accommodations to adjoining
landowners or existing right-of-way holders, or their successors and
(1) the proposed right-of-way is necessary to the needs of
(2) the proposed right-of-way acquisition will not cause
significant and substantial harm to the Colorado River Indian
(3) the proposed right-of-way complies with the procedures in
part 169 of title 25, Code of Federal Regulations consistent
with this subsection and other generally applicable Federal
laws unrelated to the acquisition of interests on trust lands,
except that section 169.3 of those regulations shall not be
applicable to expansions or renewals of existing rights-of-way
for roads and utilities.
(c) Fees.--The fees charged for the renewal of any valid lease,
easement, or right-of-way subject to this section shall not be greater
than the current Federal rate for such a lease, easement, or right-of-
way at the time of renewal if the holder has been in substantial
compliance with all terms of the lease, easement, or right-of-way.
SEC. 7. GAMING.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.) shall not
apply to the restored lands described in section (2)(a).
PURPOSE OF THE BILL
The purpose of H.R. 2941 is to correct the south boundary
of the Colorado River Indian Reservation in Arizona, and for
BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION
H.R. 2941, the ``Colorado River Indian Reservation Boundary
Correction Act,'' restores certain federal lands in Arizona to
the Colorado River Indian Reservation.
The Colorado River Indian Reservation, comprising
approximately 270,000 acres along the Colorado River in the
States of Arizona and California, was established by an Act of
Congress on March 3, 1865. President Grant issued Executive
Orders to expand the boundary of the Reservation to prevent
encroachment by non-Indians. In 1875, a Mr. Chandler Robbins
surveyed the Reservation and delineated a new southern
boundary, which included 16,000 acres in Arizona known as the
``La Paz'' lands. To address trespass by outsiders, the
government accepted and approved a resurvey of the Robbins
Survey by a Mr. Guy Harrington in 1912.
In 1915 the Secretary of Interior reversed the findings of
the Robbins and Harrington surveys. As a result, President
Wilson that same year issued an Executive Order excluding the
La Paz lands from the reservation.
Historical evidence gathered over the years indicates the
exclusion of the La Paz lands from the Reservation was done in
error or with the purpose of preventing the tribe from
acquiring the lands. At present, virtually no one disagrees
with the objective of returning the La Paz to the tribe's
reservation. In 1980 and 1981, Senator Barry Goldwater
introduced bills (S. 2317 and S. 1652), to restore La Paz lands
to the reservation. Hearings were held in the Senate on S. 1652
but no further substantive congressional action occurred on
this issue until now.
H.R. 2941 corrects the south boundary of the reservation by
placing the La Paz lands in trust for the benefit of the
Colorado River Indian Tribes and drawing the boundary of the
reservation around these lands. The restoration excludes a 320-
acre parcel of land owned by the State of Arizona. The bill
provides that no water rights issues are affected by this bill.
Valid existing rights, including public recreational access
subject to reasonable tribal rules, are preserved.
On April 21, 2004, the full committee held a hearing on
H.R. 2941. Witnesses representing the Interior Department and
the tribe testified. Both were supportive of the bill, however,
the Administration raised concerns relating to rights-of-way
and leaseholder interests. Subsequent to the hearing, the
Committee was informed that two utilities have right-of-way
interests on a portion of the La Paz lands.
In the Committee markup of H.R. 2941, an amendment in the
nature of a substitute was adopted to address these issues. To
describe the La Paz lands, the amendment references a map on
file with the Bureau of Land Management instead of the
tediously lengthy written description in the underlying bill.
It also clarifies the protection of valid interests in the
lands transferred to the tribe, including rights-of-way held by
two utilities. The amendment also adds a new section 7 to H.R.
2941 which provides that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act does
not apply to the restored lands.
H.R. 2941 was introduced on July 25, 2003, by Congressman
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ). The bill was referred to the Committee on
Resources. On April 21, 2004, the Full Resources Committee held
a hearing on the bill. On September 15, 2004, the Full
Committee met to consider the bill. Mr. Grijalva offered an
amendment in the nature of a substitute. It was adopted by
unanimous consent. The bill as amended was then ordered
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by unanimous
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 Resources' oversight findings and recommendations
are reflected in the body of this report.
CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT
Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.
COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII
1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B)
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2)
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this
bill does not contain any new budget authority, credit
authority, or an increase or decrease in revenues or tax
expenditures. According to the Congressional Budget Office,
enacting H.R. 2941 could affect direct spending (including
offsetting receipts), but it estimates that any such effects
would be negligible.
3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. This bill does
not authorize funding and therefore, clause 3(c)(4) of rule
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives does not
4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate
for this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget
H.R. 2941--Colorado River Indian Reservation Boundary Correction Act
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 2941 would have no
significant impact on the Federal budget. Enacting the bill
could affect direct spending (including offsetting receipts),
but we estimate that any such efforts would be negligible. The
legislation contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
Enacting this bill would benefit the Colorado River Indian
Tribes and would have no significant impact on the budgets of
State, local, or tribal governments.
H.R. 2941 would direct the Secretary of the Interior to
convey, for no consideration, 15,375 acres of Federal land in
Arizona to the Colorado River Indian Reservation, to be held in
trust by the United States on behalf of the Colorado River
Indian Tribes. According to the Department of the Interior, the
land to be conveyed currently includes several rights of way
that could be affected. The department currently collects a few
thousand dollars a year for those rights of way. Hence, CBO
estimates that conveying the land would not significantly
affect offsetting receipts (a credit against direct spending).
Based on information from the Department of the Interior, the
administrative costs of the conveyance, which would be subject
to appropriation, would be negligible.
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mike Waters.
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4
This bill contains no unfunded mandates.
PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW
This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing