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Calendar No. 274
112th Congress Report
2d Session 112-112
MOHAVE VALLEY LAND CONVEYANCE ACT
January 13, 2012.--Ordered to be printed
Filed, under authority of the order of the Senate of December 17, 2011
Mr. Bingaman, from the Committee on Energy and Natural
Resources, submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany S. 526]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the bill (S. 526) to provide for the conveyance of
certain Bureau of Land Management land in Mohave County,
Arizona, to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, for use as a
public shooting range, having considered the same, reports
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommends that the
bill, as amended, do pass.
The amendment is as follows:
Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu
thereof the following:
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Mohave Valley Land Conveyance Act of
SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Arizona
Game and Fish Commission.
(2) County.--The term ``County'' means Mohave County,
(3) Federal land.--The term ``Federal land'' means the public
land in the County, comprising approximately 315 acres as
generally depicted on the map entitled ``Boundary Cone Road
Location'' and dated November 7, 2011.
(4) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of
the Interior, acting through the Director of the Bureau of Land
SEC. 3. CONVEYANCE OF PUBLIC LAND IN MOHAVE COUNTY, ARIZONA.
(a) In General.--On the request of the Commission submitted to the
Secretary by the date that is not later than 1 year after the date of
enactment of this Act and subject to the provisions of this Act, the
Secretary shall convey to the Commission all right, title, and interest
of the United States in and to the Federal land for use as a public
(b) Conditions.--The conveyance under subsection (a) shall be--
(1) by quitclaim deed; and
(2) subject to--
(A) valid existing rights; and
(B) such terms and conditions as the Secretary may
require, including appropriate conditions to address
the impact of the shooting range on cultural resources.
(c) Costs.--If the Commission accepts the conveyance of the Federal
land, the Commission shall be responsible for paying--
(1) consideration to the Secretary for the Federal land in an
amount that is consistent with conveyances to governmental
entities for recreational purposes under the Act of June 14,
1926 (commonly known as the ``Recreation and Public Purposes
Act'') (43 U.S.C. 869 et seq.); and
(2) the reasonable administrative costs associated with the
(d) Requirement.--The land conveyed under subsection (a) shall be
managed by the Commission--
(1) as a public shooting range; and
(2) for recreation and other public purposes, consistent with
the Act of June 14, 1926 (commonly known as the ``Recreation
and Public Purposes Act'') (43 U.S.C. 869 et seq.).
(1) In general.--If the Federal land ceases to be used for
the purposes described in subsection (d), the Federal land
shall, at the option of the Secretary, revert to the United
(2) Responsibility of local governmental entity.--If the
Secretary determines pursuant to paragraph (1) that the land
should revert to the United States, and if the Secretary
determines that the land is contaminated with hazardous waste,
the local governmental entity to which the land was conveyed
shall be responsible for remediation of the contamination.
(f) Correction of Map Errors.--The Secretary may correct any clerical
or typographical error in the map described in section 2(3).
The purpose of S. 526 is to provide for the conveyance of
approximately 315 acres of public land to the Arizona Game and
Fish Commission (``Commission'') for use as a public shooting
BACKGROUND AND NEED
In 1999, the Commission submitted an application to the
Bureau of Land Management (``BLM'') to develop a shooting range
on public lands near Boundary Cone Butte, about 10 miles
southeast of Bullhead City in Mohave County, Arizona. In 2006,
the BLM developed an environmental assessment to consider
conveying approximately 315 acres for the shooting range
through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act.
Boundary Cone Butte has figured prominently in the stories
and histories of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and Hualapai
Indian Tribe, and the BLM identified it as a traditional
cultural property that is eligible for inclusion on the
National Register of Historic Places. As a result, the BLM
formally consulted with the Advisory Council on Historic
Preservation beginning in 2006 and continuing through 2008. On
February 10, 2010, the BLM issued a revised environmental
analysis and a Decision Record authorizing the conveyance. The
Tribes appealed the BLM's decision to the Interior Board of
Land Appeals (IBLA), and the IBLA upheld the BLM's decision
(IBLA 2010-94; Dec. 7, 2010).
S. 526 provides for the final conveyance of the parcel to
the Commission in a manner that is consistent with the ongoing
administrative conveyance process.
S. 526 was introduced by Senators McCain and Kyl on March
9, 2011. The Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests held a
hearing on the bill on May 18, 2011 (S. Hrg. 112-39). At its
business meeting on November 10, 2011, the Committee on Energy
and Natural Resources ordered S. 526 favorably reported with an
amendment in the nature of a substitute.
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open
business session on November 10, 2011, by a voice vote of a
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 526, if
amended as described herein.
During its consideration of S. 526, the Committee adopted
an amendment in the nature of a substitute. The substitute
eliminates the statement of purposes and the provision
declaring the BLM's record of decision of February 8, 2010,
final and legally sufficient. It adds provisions requiring
that: the conveyance be made subject to valid existing rights
and terms and conditions prescribed by the Secretary, payment
for the Federal land be made in an amount consistent with
conveyances to governmental entities under the Recreation and
Public Purposes Act, the land conveyed be used as a public
shooting range, and the local governmental entity to which the
land was conveyed be responsible for remediation of any
contamination in the event of a reversion. The provisions of
the substitute are described in more detail in the section-by-
Section 1 provides the short title for the bill.
Section 2 provides the definitions for key terms used in
Section 3(a) provides that, if the Commission requests the
conveyance of the Federal land within 1 year of the date of
enactment, the Secretary shall proceed with the conveyance,
subject to the other provisions of the bill.
Subsection (b) provides that the conveyance would be
subject to valid existing rights and such terms and conditions
as the Secretary may require. The BLM, the Commission, and the
Tribes currently are working on a plan to reduce potential
impacts of the shooting range on cultural resources in the
area, and this provision makes clear that the bill would not
disrupt that process.
Subsection (c) requires the Commission to pay certain
compensation and administrative costs association with the
conveyance. The required compensation and costs are the same as
would be required--and currently are contemplated--by the
ongoing administrative process for conveying the Federal land.
Subsection (d) provides that the Federal land must be used
as a public shooting range and for other public purposes.
Subsection (e) provides for the reversion of the Federal
land if the Commission ceases to use it as a public shooting
range and, in that case, requires the Commission to remediate
any hazardous waste conditions associated with the Federal
Subsection (f) clarifies that the Secretary may correct any
clerical or typographical errors on the map referenced in the
COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS
The following estimate of costs of this measure has been
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
S. 526--Mohave Valley Land Conveyance Act of 2011
S. 526 would require the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to
convey 315 acres of federal land to the Arizona Game and Fish
Commission to be used as a public shooting range. Based on
information provided by the agency, CBO expects that BLM will
convey the affected lands to the commission in 2012 using
existing authorities. Thus, we estimate that implementing the
legislation would have no impact on the federal budget.
Enacting S. 526 would not affect direct spending or revenues;
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
The bill 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. 526.
The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of
imposing Government-established standards or significant
economic responsibilities on private individuals and
No personal information would be collected in administering
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal
Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the
enactment of S. 526, as ordered reported.
CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING
S. 526, 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.
The views of the Administration were included in testimony
received by the Committee at the May 18, 2011, hearing (S. Hrg.
112-39), which is provided below.
Statement of Mike Pool, Deputy Director, Bureau of Land Management,
Department of the Interior
Thank you for the opportunity to testify on S. 526, the
Mohave Valley Land Conveyance Act of 2011, which proposes to
transfer 315 acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of
Land Management (BLM) to the Arizona Game and Fish Department
(AGFD) for use as a public shooting range. The BLM supports the
goals of S. 526 but does not support the legislation as
currently drafted. BLM is working with local governments and
tribes to resolve land tenure issues. BLM's decision to
authorize the land transfer included important mitigation
measures which are not in the current legislation.
For the past ten years, the BLM has been working with the
AGFD, the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, the Hualapai Tribe, and the
public to find appropriate lands for a public shooting range
within the Mohave Valley in Arizona. On February 10, 2010, the
BLM made the decision to authorize the transfer of BLM lands to
the AGFD (through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act of
1926, as amended, 43 U.S.C. 869 et seq.; R&PP;) for use as a
public shooting range. The decision, which is consistent with
the goals of S. 526, provides a safe, designated shooting
environment for the public and includes stipulations designed
to respect the traditional beliefs of the Fort Mojave and
Hualapai Tribes. The BLM will continue working with interested
parties as we move forward with authorizing the shooting range.
In 1999, the AGFD first submitted an application to the BLM
for development of a public shooting range on BLM-managed lands
in Mohave County, near Bullhead City in northwestern Arizona.
As a result, the BLM began working with the AGFD and other
interested parties to assess appropriate lands to transfer to
the AGFD for the purposes of a shooting range under the R&PP.;
The BLM evaluated the AGFD's application through an
environmental assessment (EA) and considered numerous
alternative locations throughout the Mohave Valley. The
evaluation process was conducted with full public and tribal
participation. There is an identified need for a designated
public shooting range in this region because of the lack of a
nearby facility, the amount of dispersed recreational shooting
occurring on public and private lands raising public safety
concerns, and the associated natural resource impacts from
spent ammunition and associated waste.
In 2002, the BLM began consultations with the Fort Mojave
Indian Tribe and the Hualapai Tribe. In 2003, the BLM initiated
consultation with the Arizona State Historic Preservation
Officer (SHPO); and in 2006, the BLM initiated Section 106
consultation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
(ACHP). These consultations, as required by Section 106 of the
National Historic Preservation Act and other authorities,
ensure Federal agencies consider the effects of their actions
on historic properties, and provide the ACHP and SHPO an
opportunity to comment on Federal projects prior to
In addition to the Section 106 consultation process, the
BLM initiated a year-long Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
process in 2004 to help identify issues, stakeholder
perspectives, and additional alternatives to meet the criteria
for a safe and effective public shooting range in the Mohave
Valley. However, the ADR process failed to reconcile
differences between several consulting parties regarding a
In 2006, as part of continued Section 106 consultation with
the ACHP, the BLM initiated site visits by the concerned
parties and also continued efforts to identify alternative
sites. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, the BLM was unable
to reach an agreement with the consulted Tribes on any area
within the Mohave Valley that the Tribes would find acceptable
for a shooting range. The Tribes maintained their position that
there is no place suitable within the Mohave Valley, which
encompasses approximately 140 square miles between Bullhead
City, Arizona, and Needles, California.
Through the EA process, the BLM identified the Boundary
Cone Road alternative to be the preferred location. Boundary
Cone Butte, a highly visible mountain on the eastern edge of
the Mohave Valley, lies approximately 3 miles east of the
Boundary Cone Road site, and is of cultural, religious, and
traditional importance to both the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and
the Hualapai Tribe. In an effort to address the primary
concerns expressed by the Tribes over visual and sound issues,
the BLM and AGFD developed a set of potential mitigation
measures. Again, there was a failure to agree between the
consulting parties on possible mitigation. In the end, the BLM
formally terminated the Section 106 process with the ACHP in
September 2008. In November 2008, ACHP provided their final
comments in a letter from the Chairman of the ACHP to then-
Secretary of the Interior Kempthorne.
Although the Section 106 process was terminated, the BLM
continued government-to-government consultations with the
Tribes. In May of 2009, the BLM met with the Chairman of the
Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, the AGFD, and the Tri-State Shooting
Club in a renewed effort to find a solution. On February 3,
2010, after continued efforts to reach a mutually agreeable
solution, the BLM presented the decision to approve the
shooting range to the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and the AGFD.
The final decision included mitigation measures to address the
concerns of the Tribes such as reducing the amount of actual
ground disturbance; reducing noise levels with berm
construction; monitoring and annual reporting on noise levels;
and fencing to avoid culturally sensitive areas. The Secretary
has the authority to take action to revest title to the land
covered by the proposed R&PP; patent if the AGFD fails to comply
with mitigation measures. The final decision to amend the
Kingman Resource Management Plan and dispose of the lands
through the R&PP; was signed on February 10, 2010.
The BLM decision was appealed to the Interior Board of Land
Appeals (IBLA) on February 23, 2010, by a private landowner
near the proposed shooting range; and on March 15, 2010, a
joint appeal by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and Hualapai Tribe
was filed. The IBLA dismissed the appeal of the private
landowner on July 29, 2010. The IBLA issued a stay of the BLM
decision on April 15, 2010, at the request of the Tribes. A
final decision by the IBLA on the Tribes' appeal was issued on
December 7, 2010 (180 IBLA 158). The IBLA affirmed the BLM's
decisions and determined that the BLM had taken a ``hard look''
at the impacts of conveying public lands to the AGFD for a
shooting range. The IBLA decision stated that the EA had an
appropriate range of alternatives and the environmental
consequences were insignificant or if significant could be
reduced or eliminated by mitigation. The IBLA also confirmed
that the BLM complied with National Historic Preservation Act
obligations. This decision allows the BLM to move forward in
conveying the public lands to the AGFD.
On December 21, 2010, the BLM informed the AGFD of the next
steps for processing the administrative action of conveying the
land for the shooting range. The AGFD is required to: (1)
purchase the mineral estate or obtain a non-development
agreement for the Santa Fe Railroad mineral estate (390 acres)
under the disposal and buffer lands; (2) provide a detailed
Plan of Development (Plan) that addresses the mitigation
measures found in the BLM's Decision Record; (3) develop a
Cooperative Management Agreement with the BLM for the 470-acre
buffer area; and (4) provide the funds ($3,150) for purchase of
the property. It is the BLM's understanding that the AGFD is
negotiating a purchase agreement to acquire the mineral estate.
The AGFD also submitted a draft Plan and is currently revising
the Plan to address the additional guidance provided by the
BLM, including the request to incorporate the Cooperative
Management Agreement into the Plan.
S. 526 provides for the conveyance to the AGFD of all
right, title, and interest to the approximately 315 acres of
BLM-managed public lands as identified in the final decision
signed by the BLM on February 10, 2010, to be used as a public
shooting range. Furthermore, the legislation makes a
determination that the February 10, 2010, Record of Decision is
``final and determined to be legally sufficient'' and ``not be
subject to judicial review . . .'' The bill also provides that
the lands must be used for purposes consistent with the R&PP;
Act and provides for an appropriate reversionary clause.
As a matter of policy, the BLM supports working with local
governments, tribes, and other stakeholders to resolve land
tenure issues that advance worthwhile public policy objectives.
The BLM acknowledges the lands proposed for development as a
shooting range are of cultural, religious, and traditional
significance to the Tribes which is why we support important
mitigation measures. The bill as drafted does not include such
mitigation measures. In general, the BLM supports the goals of
the proposed conveyance, as it is similar to the transfer the
BLM has been addressing through its administrative process for
the last ten years. As noted, a decision has been made through
the BLM administrative process and the IBLA affirmed the BLM
decision, thereby dismissing the Tribes' appeal that the BLM
did not comply with various environmental laws. Under the
provisions of S. 526, judicial review would be prohibited. The
BLM will continue working to complete the conveyance of the
lands to the AGFD for a shooting range.
If the Congress chooses to legislate this conveyance, the
BLM would recommend some improvements to the bill, including
changes to section 4(b), the incorporation of mitigation
measures to address Tribal concerns, protection of valid
existing rights, and an appropriate map reference.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify. Resolution of
this conveyance in a manner that is acceptable to all parties
has been an important goal of the BLM as evidenced by more than
ten years of negotiations and review. The BLM is confident the
issued decision addresses the concerns of the interested
parties, while providing critical recreational opportunities
and benefits to the public.
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 S. 526 as ordered