Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
                                                       Calendar No. 670
110th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     110-318

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



 
                 LOWER REPUBLICAN RIVER BASIN STUDY ACT

                                _______
                                

                 April 10, 2008.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1025]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the Act (H.R. 1025) to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of 
implementing a water supply and conservation project to improve 
water supply reliability, increase the capacity of water 
storage, and improve water management efficiency in the 
Republican River Basin between Harlan County Lake in Nebraska 
and Milford Lake in Kansas, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that the Act 
do pass.

                         PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE

    The purpose of H.R. 1025 is to authorize the Secretary of 
the Interior to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of 
implementing a water supply and conservation project to improve 
water supply reliability, increase the capacity of water 
storage, and improve water management efficiency in the 
Republican River Basin between Harlan County Lake in Nebraska 
and Milford Lake in Kansas.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    In 1998, Kansas filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court 
against Nebraska and Colorado alleging that Nebraska was using 
more than its allocation of water under the Republican River 
Compact. The three States negotiated a settlement that was 
approved by the Court in May 2003.
    In accordance with the final settlement, the States agreed 
to pursue in good faith, and in collaboration with the United 
States, system improvements in the basin, including measures to 
improve the ability to use the water supply below Hardy, 
Nebraska, on the Republican River's mainstem. In January 2005, 
an appraisal report was completed which analyzed a number of 
alternatives recommended by the Compact Commissioners. The 
results of the study indicated that the water supply in the 
basin is not being fully utilized. With improvements in 
existing systems and possibly additional storage capability, 
the systems could be managed to alleviate some of the water 
shortage problems that exist in the lower reaches of the basin. 
A feasibility study will provide the level of analysis needed 
to fully evaluate all the viable alternatives.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 1025 was introduced by Representative Jerry Moran for 
himself and Representative Adrian Smith, on February 13, 2007, 
and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources. Under 
suspension of the rules, H.R. 1025 passed the House of 
Representatives on May 7, 2007. The bill was received in the 
Senate and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources. The Subcommittee on Water and Power held a hearing 
on H.R. 1025 on July 26, 2007. At its business meeting on 
January 30, 2008, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 
ordered H.R. 1025 to be favorably reported.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on January 30, 2008, by voice vote of a quorum 
present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 1025.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 provides the short title of the Act.
    Section 2(a) authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to 
conduct a study to determine the feasibility of a project to 
improve water supply, water storage, and water management 
efficiency projects in the Republican River basin, and consider 
cost-sharing options for implementation of projects.
    Section 2(b) directs that the Federal cost-share of the 
study shall not exceed 50 percent and shall be nonreimbursable.
    Section 2(c) requires the Secretary to undertake the study 
through cooperative agreements.
    Section 2(d) requires the Secretary to complete the study 
within 3 years or report back to Congress on when the study 
will be completed.
    Section 2(e) terminates after 10 years, the authorization 
contained in the Act.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

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

H.R. 1025--Lower Republican River Basin Study Act

    H.R. 1025 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior, 
acting through the Bureau of Reclamation, to work with the 
states of Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado, to conduct a 
feasibility study on implementing water supply and conservation 
projects for the Lower Republican River Basin. The act would 
limit the federal share of the study's cost to 50 percent; the 
authority of the Secretary to implement this legislation would 
terminate 10 years after the date of enactment.
    According to the Bureau of Reclamation, the total cost of 
the study is estimated to be $2 million. CBO estimates that 
implementing H.R. 1025 would cost the federal government $1 
million over the 2008-2013 period, subject to the availability 
of appropriated funds. Enacting the legislation would not 
affect direct spending or revenues.
    H.R. 1025 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 Tyler Kruzich, 
who can be reached at 226-2860. This 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 H.R. 1025. 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 H.R. 1025, as ordered reported.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the Bureau of Reclamation at the 
July 26, 2007 subcommittee hearing on H.R. 1025 follows:

Statement of Larry Todd, Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Administration 
     and Budget, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, my name is 
Larry Todd, and I am Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of 
Reclamation. I am pleased to provide the Administration's views 
on H.R. 1025, legislation authorizing a feasibility study to 
improve water management in the Republican River Basin between 
Harlan County Lake in Nebraska, and Milford Lake in Kansas.
    Reclamation was included in the early stages of the project 
planning process that resulted in completion of the Lower 
Republican River Basin Appraisal Report in January 2005. We 
support the goal of the States, as project sponsors, to develop 
a locally-supported solution that is economical, affordable and 
environmentally sensible. However, funds have not been 
allocated to carry out the provisions of H.R. 1025 in the 
Administration's budgets for fiscal years 2007 and 2008. Given 
Reclamation's need to focus its limited resources on 
maintaining its existing infrastructure and completing on-going 
construction projects, the Administration cannot support this 
bill.


                               background


    Reclamation has been working with the States on Republican 
River Compact water supply issues for many years. There is some 
important background information that I would like to share 
with you today to provide context for consideration of this 
legislation.
    In 1998, Kansas filed a U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit against 
Nebraska and Colorado because of their belief that Nebraska was 
using more than its allocation of water under the Republican 
River Compact. The three States negotiated a settlement that 
was approved by the United States Supreme Court in May 2003.
    In accordance with the Final Settlement Stipulations, the 
States agreed to pursue in good faith, and in collaboration 
with the United States, system improvements in the basin, 
including measures to improve the ability to utilize the water 
supply below Hardy, Nebraska, on the Republican River's 
mainstem. Reclamation's appraisal study analyzed a number of 
alternatives recommended by the Compact Commissioners. The 
results from the study indicate that the water supply in the 
basin is not being fully utilized. With improvements in the 
existing systems and possibly with additional storage 
capability, the systems could be managed to alleviate some of 
the water shortage problems that exist in the lower reaches of 
the basin. The Settlement provided for Compact accounting which 
is indicating overuse of the allocations by Colorado and 
Nebraska. Reclamation has been working with the States in an 
effort to achieve and sustain Compact compliance. These efforts 
have included the release of 2007 storage water at Bonny 
Reservoir in Colorado in response to a ``call'' placed by the 
State Engineer; and approval of temporary sales of project 
water in 2006 and 2007 to reduce consumptive use in Nebraska 
and provide additional water supply to project lands in Kansas. 
Reclamation has worked closely with project beneficiaries and 
the States to find more effective and efficient ways to deliver 
water, and will continue to do so in the future.
    Mr. Chairman, that concludes my testimony, I would be 
pleased to answer any 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 the bill H.R. 1025, as 
ordered reported.