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                                                       Calendar No. 514
113th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     113-227

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

 
           RECLAMATION SAFETY OF DAMS ACT OF 1978 AMENDMENTS

                                _______
                                

                 July 31, 2014.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Ms. Landrieu, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1946]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1946) to amend the Reclamation Safety of 
Dams Act of 1978 to modify the authorization of appropriations, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:

  On page 1, strike lines 5 through 9 and insert the following:

  (a) Authorization of Appropriations.--Section 5 of the Reclamation 
Safety of Dams Act of 1978 (43 U.S.C. 509) is amended--
          (1) in the first sentence, by inserting ``and, effective 
        October 1, 2014, not to exceed an additional $1,100,000,000 
        (October 1, 2014 price levels)'' before ``, plus or minus'';
          (2) in the proviso--
                  (A) by striking ``$1,250,000'' and inserting 
                ``$20,000,000''; and
                  (B) by striking ``Congress'' and inserting 
                ``Committee on Natural Resources of the House of 
                Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural 
                Resources of the Senate''; and
          (3) by adding at the end the following: ``For modification 
        expenditures between $1,800,000 and $20,000,000 (October 1, 
        2013 price levels), the Secretary of the Interior shall, at 
        least 30 days before the date on which the funds are expended, 
        submit written notice of the expenditures to the Committee on 
        Natural Resources of the House of Representatives and the 
        Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate that 
        provides a summary of the project, the cost of the project, and 
        any alternatives that were considered.''.

                                Purpose

    The purpose of S. 1946 is to amend the Reclamation Safety 
of Dams Act of 1978 to authorize additional appropriations.

                          Background and Need

    The Safety of Dams Act of 1978 was enacted to enable the 
Bureau of Reclamation to: ``ensure that Reclamation facilities 
do not present unreasonable risks to the public, public safety, 
property, and/or the environment.'' The original authorization 
in 1978 set a $100 million appropriation ceiling, and the 
ceiling has since been raised by Congress four times (an 
additional $650 million in 1983, $95 million in 2000, $32 
million in 2001, and $540 million in 2003). The Safety of Dams 
program evaluates and implements corrective actions to address 
dam safety concerns. Once the Bureau of Reclamation begins risk 
modifications to a dam, local partners share 15% of the 
associated costs.
    Reclamation manages 476 dams and dikes currently, 370 of 
which are listed under the ``High'' or ``Significant Hazard'' 
class, meaning failure of the dam or dike would cause loss of 
life or significant damages. The challenge of meeting the 
program's safety mission is complicated by the strains of aging 
infrastructure and population growth within dam failure zones. 
The Safety of Dams program is approaching its appropriation 
ceiling and enactment of S. 1946 will enable Reclamation to 
proceed with construction modifications for projects in its 
queue.

                          Legislative History

    S. 1946 was introduced by Senators Wyden, Schatz, and 
Feinstein on January 16, 2014. The Subcommittee on Water and 
Power held a hearing on S. 1946 (S. Hrg. 113-284) on February 
27, 2014. At its business meeting on June 18, 2014, the Senate 
Energy and Natural Resources Committee ordered S. 1946 
favorably reported with amendment.

                        Committee Recommendation

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on June 18, 2014, by a voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 1946, if 
amended as described herein. Senators Lee and Scott asked to be 
recorded as voting no.

                          Committee Amendment

    During its consideration of S. 1946, the committee adopted 
an amendment to modify section 5 of the Reclamation Safety of 
Dams Act of 1978 (43 U.S.C. 509) to raise the authorization 
ceiling an additional $1.1 billion. The amendment also modifies 
the reporting requirement, which is explained in greater detail 
in the section-by-section analysis, below.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1(a)(1) amends section 5 of the Reclamation Safety 
of Dams Act of 1978 (43 U.S.C. 509) by raising the 
authorization ceiling an additional $1.1 billion. Subsection 
(a)(2) requires the Secretary of the Interior to send a report 
to both the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Senate 
Energy and Natural Resources Committee if more than $20,000,000 
is spent to modify an existing dam. Subsection (a)(3) requires 
the Secretary to alert the Committees when Reclamation spends 
between $1,800,000 and $20,000,000 to modify or repair an 
existing dam. Subsection (b) makes a conforming amendment to 
section 4(c) of the Reclamation Safety of Dams Act.

                   Cost and Budgetary Considerations

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

S. 1946--A bill to amend the Reclamation Safety of Dams Act of 1978 to 
        modify the authorization of appropriations

    Summary: S. 1946 would authorize the appropriation of $1.1 
billion (plus additional amounts to account for inflation) for 
the Secretary of the Interior to carry out projects under the 
Reclamation Safety of Dams Act. Based on information from the 
Bureau of Reclamation, and assuming appropriation of necessary 
amounts, CB0 estimates that implementing S. 1946 would cost 
$196 million over the 2015-2019 period with additional spending 
continuing for several subsequent years.
    Enacting S. 1946 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    S. 1946 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary effect of S. 1946 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                    ------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       2015      2016      2017      2018      2019    2015-2019
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Estimated Authorization Level......................         0         0        64        90        92        246
Estimated Outlays..................................         0         0        38        70        87        196
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that S. 
1946 will be enacted near the start of fiscal year 2015 and 
that the necessary amounts will be appropriated over the next 
several years. Estimated outlays are based on historical 
spending patterns for those activities.
    Under current law, the bureau is responsible for 
maintaining the safety and reliability of 476 dams in the 
western United States. About half of those dams were built 
before 1950 and many are scheduled to be rehabilitated over the 
next few years. Based on information from the bureau, $200 
million remains under the current authorization ceiling for the 
bureau's dam safety program. That amount is insufficient to 
carry out the rehabilitation of six projects planned for the 
next 10 to 20 years with total estimated costs of about $1 
billion.
    Under the bill, CBO estimates that about $90 million a 
year--an amount similar to the program's recent funding 
levels--would be needed for planned work over the next several 
years. However, the first $200 million in funding for that work 
would come under the existing authorization in law. CBO 
estimates that implementing S. 1946 would cost $196 million 
over the 2015-2019 period and additional amounts in subsequent 
years.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 1946 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments. Any costs incurred by public entities to 
match or reimburse the federal funds authorized by this 
legislation would result from participating in a voluntary 
federal program.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Aurora Swanson; Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Jon Sperl; Impact on 
the Private Sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate 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. 1946.
    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 S. 1800, as ordered reported.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    S. 1946, 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.

                        Executive Communications

    The testimony provided by the Bureau of Reclamation at the 
February 27, 2014, Subcommittee on Water and Power hearing on 
S. 1946 follows:

   Statement of Robert Quint, Senior Advisor, Bureau of Reclamation, 
                       Department of the Interior

    Chairman Schatz and members of the Subcommittee, I am Bob 
Quint, Senior Advisor at the Bureau of Reclamation 
(Reclamation). Thank you for the opportunity to provide the 
views of the Department of the Interior (Department) on S. 
1946, a bill to provide permanent authority for appropriations 
under the Reclamation Safety of Dams Act. While Reclamation has 
been able to carry out its priority of ensuring the safety and 
reliability of Reclamation dams under current law, the 
Department supports this bill which would support Reclamation's 
efforts in reducing the risk associated with Reclamation's 
portfolio of dams.
    Reclamation's inventory of 476 dams includes 370 classified 
as ``high hazard'' dams and dikes, located at 250 water 
projects across the 17 Reclamation states. The dam safety 
program helps to ensure the safety and reliability of these 
facilities. Approximately 50 percent of Reclamation's dams were 
built between 1900 and 1950 and approximately 90 percent of the 
dams were built before current state-of-the-art design and 
construction practices. Considering the age of Reclamation 
dams, the ongoing monitoring, facility reviews, analysis, 
investigations, and emergency management are critical 
components of the dam safety program. We are proud of our dam 
safety work, but we also realize we must never take safety for 
granted.
    Some of Reclamation's highest priorities are to deliver 
water to and generate power for its customers without 
disruption, while protecting public safety. In its 111-year 
history, Reclamation has had one dam failure that resulted in 
loss of life and damage to property. Teton Dam failed in 1976 
during initial filling due to a design and construction 
deficiency. After the Teton Dam disaster Congress enacted the 
Reclamation Safety of Dams Act in 1978, Public Law 95-578, and 
Reclamation began its current dam safety program.
    The original 1978 statute has been amended four times, 
beginning in 1984. In the first amendment, Public Law 98-404, 
Congress increased the authorization for appropriations by $100 
million. The 1984 amendment also instituted a 15 percent non-
Federal repayment requirement for modifications made as a 
result of new hydrologic or seismic information or changes in 
the state-of-the-art technology. Public Law 98-404 also 
increased the authorized appropriations ceiling an additional 
$650 million, indexed for inflation. Public Law 106-377 in 2000 
increased the ceiling another $95 million, and two years later, 
Public Law 107-117 added $32 million. The last amendment, 
Public Law 108-439, was enacted in 2004 and provided the 
current program ceiling of $1.417 billion, indexed from October 
2003 price levels. Approximately $400 million remains available 
under that ceiling. Apart from changes to the program's 
authorization ceiling, the 1984 amendments also directed 
Reclamation to submit to Congress, prior to taking corrective 
actions, a report on any modifications expected to exceed 
$750,000 in actual construction costs. Public Law 108-439 
increased the amount to $1,250,000 (October 1, 2003, price 
levels), as adjusted to reflect any ordinary fluctuations in 
construction costs indicated by applicable engineering cost 
indexes.
    The Bureau of Reclamation has developed a dam safety 
program that effectively implements the Federal Guidelines for 
Dam Safety and to modifies dams in accordance with the 1978 
Act. In 1996, an independent review team comprised of 
representatives from the Association of Dam Safety Officials 
assessed the Department of the Interior's Dam Safety Program. 
In 1997, the team released a comprehensive and independent 
report finding that the Bureau of Reclamation has ``an 
effective Dam Safety Program'' overseen by highly competent 
staff using state-of-the-art technical standards and expertise. 
Reclamation's ability to respond to dam safety issues and to 
take preventative, corrective actions to reduce the public 
risks under the authority of the Reclamation Safety of Dams Act 
was a critical component of this favorable peer review. In 
addition, outside experts have annually reviewed Reclamation's 
dam safety activities to ensure that the program has adequate 
policies and procedures in place to address public safety 
issues.
    Reclamation's Fiscal Year 2014 budget requests lists 
current modification/construction projects where funds under 
the program's existing authorized appropriations ceiling have 
been planned. These include Folsom Dam in California, Glendo 
and Guernsey Dams in Wyoming, Echo Dam in Utah, and Red Willow 
Dam in Nebraska. Stampede Dam in California, Nelson Dikes in 
Montana, Bull Lake Dam in Wyoming, Hyatt Dam in Oregon, Hyrum 
Dam in Utah, and Altus Dam in Oklahoma are slated to have 
modification reports submitted to Congress in 2014 and 2015. 
The current appropriations ceiling would be able to support 
these projects but would commit all but an estimated $200 
million of the remaining authorization. Six additional dams, 
including planned work at B.F. Sisk Dam in California and 
Scoggins Dam in Oregon, are in need of risk reduction action 
with combined costs currently estimated at $1 billion. Based on 
our present knowledge of these upcoming projects, an 
authorization increase of at least $1 billion would be needed 
to allow Reclamation to address these dam safety risks.
    Since 1978, when Congress first created the Safety of Dams 
program, we have carried out 80 risk reduction corrective 
actions totaling approximately $1.43 billion. Reclamation has 
implemented these corrective actions to protect public safety 
at the lowest feasible cost. In each of these projects, 
Reclamation's process benefitted from our relationships with 
the end users of the water and power from these projects. With 
that in mind, we have formalized requirements for communicating 
the need for dam safety modifications with our customers in a 
timely fashion. The Reclamation Manual now contains formal 
policy and directives which require the development of a plan 
in cooperation with our water and power contractors to assure 
continued communication and involvement during the development 
of alternatives, selection of a preferred alternative, and 
implementation of the actions required to reduce risk.
    However, the nature of any safety program does not always 
afford the luxury of being able to schedule outlays as 
precisely as we can in other programs. Sometimes the need for 
corrective action presents itself with little notice. When 
sudden unexpected performance of a dam requires a modification 
to reduce risk, Reclamation must act quickly to protect the 
project and the downstream public. One example of such 
successful immediate action is the emergency work we performed 
in 2006 at Deer Flat Dam in Idaho. We discovered voids beneath 
the outlet works conduit and embankment material was being 
removed through cracks in the outlet work conduit that required 
immediate attention in order to allow for continued operation 
of the dam and reservoir. Working closely with local project 
beneficiaries we were able to quickly identify and implement an 
interim solution to reduce risk to the downstream public 
without significantly curtailing service to water users. 
Without the Safety of Dams program authority, we could not have 
completed the investigation and interim repairs prior to the 
Spring run-off. The quick response meant the reservoir was 
ready to store critically needed run-off water for beneficial 
use later in 2007.
    Another example of a successful action was the quick 
response needed at Red Willow Dam in Nebraska after sinkholes 
and extensive cracking were discovered in the dam embankment. 
The reservoir was immediately drawn down to reduce risk to the 
downstream public. Expedited actions were taken to implement 
long term modifications to the embankment and return the water 
supply as quickly as possible.
    In closing, S. 1946 removes the ceiling from the program's 
authorization for appropriations. Under current law, the 
Department has been able to carry out its priority of ensuring 
the safety and reliability of Reclamation dams under the Dam 
Safety program, and has been able to do so through several 
increases in the ceiling since the program was originally 
authorized in 1979. S. 1946 would also preserve all of the 
program's existing provisions, including the ability to respond 
quickly with limited interim actions, and the obligation to 
notify Congress and consult with project beneficiaries. 
Throughout our implementation of these authorities we will 
continue to evaluate this program for potential changes to 
improve planning and operations. There are always ways to 
better serve the taxpayer by clearly delineating between dam 
safety modifications and other infrastructure improvements, and 
protect the safety of the people and businesses that rely on 
Reclamation facilities. Meanwhile, we believe the provisions 
calling for regular dialogue with our customers assures a fair, 
transparent program without compromising the Department's 
ability to maintain dam safety and security.
    This concludes my statement. Again, while Reclamation has 
been able to carry out its priority of ensuring the safety and 
reliability of Reclamation dams under current law, the 
Department supports this bill which would support Reclamation's 
efforts in reducing the risk associated with Reclamation's 
portfolio of dams. I would be pleased to answer questions at 
the appropriate time.

                        Changes In Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the bill S. 1946, as ordered reported, are shown as follows 
(existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black 
brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law in 
which no change is proposed is shown in roman):

                 RECLAMATION SAFETY OF DAMS ACT OF 1978


                           Public Law 95-578


    AN ACT to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to construct, 
  restore, operate, and maintain new or modified features at existing 
Federal reclamation dams for safety of dams purposes.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    Sec. 4. (a) Costs heretorore or hereafter incurred in the 
modification of structures under this Act, the cause of which 
results from age and normal deterioration of the structure or 
from nonperformance of reasonable and normal maintenance of the 
structure by the operating entity shall be considered as 
project costs and will be allocated to the purposes for which 
the structure was authorized initially to be constructed and 
will be reimbursable as provided by existing law.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (c) Reimbursement of certain modification costs. With 
respect to the [additional] amounts authorized to be 
appropriated by section 5 (43 USCS Sec. 509), costs incurred in 
the modification of structures under this Act, the cause of 
which results from new hydrologic or seismic data or changes in 
state-of-the-art criteria deemed necessary for safety purposes, 
shall be reimbursed to the extent provided in this subsection.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    Sec. 5. There are hereby authorized to be appropriated for 
fiscal year 1979 and ensuing fiscal years such sums as may be 
necessary and, effective October 1, 1983, not to exceed an 
additional $650,000,000 (October 1, 1983, price levels), and, 
effective October 1, 2000, not to exceed an additional 
$95,000,000 (October 1, 2000, price levels), and, effective 
October 1, 2001, not to exceed an additional $32,000,000 
(October 1, 2001, price levels), and, effective October 1, 
2003, not to exceed an additional $540,000,000 (October 1, 
2003, price levels), and, effective October 1, 2014, not to 
exceed an additional $1,100,000,000 (October 1, 2014 price 
levels), plus or minus such amounts, if any, as may be 
justified by reason of ordinary fluctuations in construction 
costs as indicated by engineering cost indexes applicable to 
the types of construction involved herein, to carry out the 
provisions of this Act to remain available until expended if so 
provided by the appropriations Act: Provided, That no funds 
exceeding [$1,250,000] $20,000,000 (October 1, 2003, price 
levels), as adjusted to reflect any ordinary fluctuations in 
construction costs indicated by applicable engineering cost 
indexes, shall be obligated for carrying out actual 
construction to modify an existing dam under authority of this 
Act prior to 30 calendar days from the date that the Secretary 
has transmitted a report on such existing dam to the [Congress] 
Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives 
and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the 
Senate. The report required to be submitted by this section 
will consist of a finding by the Secretary of the Interior to 
the effect that modifications are required to be made to insure 
the safety of an existing dam. Such finding shall be 
accompanied by a technical report containing information on the 
need for structural modification, the corrective action deemed 
to be required, alternative solutions to structural 
modification that were considered, the estimated cost of needed 
modifications, and environmental impacts if any resulting from 
the implementation of the recommended plan of modification. For 
modification expenditures between $1,800,000 and $20,000,000 
(October 1, 2013 price levels), the Secretary of the Interior 
shall, at least 30 days before the date on which the funds are 
expended, submit written notice of the expenditures to the 
Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives 
and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate 
that provides a summary of the project, the cost of the 
project, and any alternatives that were considered.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *