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115th Congress   }                                    {        Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session      }                                    {        115-700




  May 22, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed


Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 4689]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 4689) to authorize early repayment of 
obligations to the Bureau of Reclamation within the Northport 
Irrigation District in the State of Nebraska, having considered 
the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommend that the bill do pass.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 4689 is to authorize early repayment of 
obligations to the Bureau of Reclamation within the Northport 
Irrigation District in the State of Nebraska.


    H.R. 4689 gives individual landowners within the Northport 
Irrigation District the ability to make accelerated or lump sum 
capital repayments to the federal government. In exchange for 
paying their part of Northport's debt, the landowners who pay 
will no longer be subject to federal acreage limitations and 
paperwork requirements.
    Under federal law, any irrigation district that receives 
contracted water from a Bureau of Reclamation facility must 
repay its allocated portion of the capital costs of the federal 
water project. These repayment costs are typically set forth in 
long-term capital repayment contracts between the irrigation 
district and the federal government.
    Northport, located in western Nebraska, is one of four 
irrigation districts that receive water from the federal North 
Platte Project. Water for Northport is conveyed 80 miles from 
the Guernsey Reservoir through the Tri-State Canal, which is 
privately owned and operated by the Farmers Irrigation 
District.\1\ In return for allowing the water to be conveyed 
through the Tri-State Canal, Farmers receive compensation from 
Northport. Pursuant to a 1958 amendment to the Northport/Bureau 
of Reclamation contract, if the amount of the carriage fee owed 
to Farmers by Northport is more than $8,000 per year, Northport 
is not obligated to make its annual capital repayment to the 
federal government.\2\ According to a Northport official, the 
annual carriage fee can be anywhere from $80,000 to 
$100,000.\3\ Since carriage fees have been over $8,000 per year 
since the early 1950s, Northport's capital repayment debt to 
the federal government has remained at approximately $923,000 
for over six decades.\4\ As long as Northport owes the debt, 
its landowners are subject to the 960 irrigated acre planting 
limitation and paperwork requirements that must be met prior to 
getting water each year, as set forth in the Reclamation Reform 
Act of 1982 (Title II of Public Law 97-293).
    \3\Natural Resources Republican staff conversation with Northport 
Irrigation District Board Member George Hall on June 3, 2014.
    There are several landowners within Northport who have 
reached retirement age with plans to leave the real estate to 
family members who have already accumulated acres within the 
District. Those combined acres will make additional families 
subject to the 960-irrigated-acre planting limitation. Several 
landowners within Northport are willing to repay their portion 
of the capital repayment obligations owed to the federal 
government to avoid being subject to the federal requirements 
in Public Law 97-293. The same law, however, prohibits these 
landowners from making such accelerated or lump sum payments. 
According to a Northport Irrigation District Board member, 
approximately 20 of the 65 landowners may use the authorities 
granted in H.R. 4689 to repay the federal government.\5\
    While the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation 
Act (Public Law 114-322) provided prepayment authority to 
irrigation districts, this authority did not extend to 
individual landowners. Allowing individual landowners the 
ability to do this is based on two precedents enacted during 
Democratic and Republican Congresses: Section 508 of Public Law 
110-229\6\ and ``The Southern Oregon Bureau of Reclamation 
Repayment Act of 2005'' (Public Law 109-138),\7\ respectively. 
These public laws and H.R. 4689 waive section 213 of the 
Reclamation Reform Act of 1982, which prohibits any early 
repayment unless the repayment contract between an irrigation 
district and the United States allowed for prepayment of the 
contract at the time the Reclamation Reform Act was enacted.
    The House of Representatives passed identical bills in the 
114th and 113th Congresses, but the Senate took no action.\8\
    \8\H.R. 404 (114th Congress) and H.R. 4562 (113th Congress).

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 4689 was introduced on December 19, 2017, by 
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Water, Powers and Oceans. On May 8, 2018, the 
Natural Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The 
Subcommittee was discharged by unanimous consent. No amendments 
were offered and the bill was ordered favorably reported to the 
House of Representatives by unanimous consent.


    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 Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.


    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974. With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and 
(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives 
and sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has received the enclosed cost estimate for 
the bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, May 22, 2018.
Hon. Rob Bishop
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 4689, a bill to 
authorize early repayment of obligations to the Bureau of 
Reclamation within the Northport Irrigation District in the 
State of Nebraska.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Aurora 
                                             Mark P. Hadley
                                        (For Keith Hall, Director).

H.R. 4689--A bill to authorize early repayment of obligations to the 
        Bureau of Reclamation within the Northport Irrigation District 
        in the State of Nebraska

    H.R. 4689 would allow individual landowners in the 
Northport Irrigation District in Nebraska to repay their share 
of the cost of building the North Platte Project. Currently, 
the Northport Irrigation District is not making payments to the 
Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) on its outstanding debt of $924,000 
for the construction of the irrigation project. The district 
makes a required annual payment of $3,500 for the cost of 
conveying water to the district but does not currently make 
payments to pay-off that debt. Using information from the 
bureau, CBO does not expect the district to begin repaying this 
debt during the next several years.
    Although current law permits the district to repay its 
share of construction costs early, the district has not done 
so, probably because some landowners have not agreed to an 
early repayment schedule. Under H.R. 4689, individual 
landowners would have limits on acreage that can be irrigated 
with BOR-delivered water waived if they make early repayments 
to retire their debt obligations to the federal government.
    Using information from BOR, CBO expects that about half of 
the affected landowners would repay their debt obligations 
under the bill. CBO estimates that those payments would 
increase offsetting receipts to the federal government, which 
are treated as reductions in direct spending, by less than 
$500,000 over the 2019-2028 period.
    Because enacting H.R. 4689 would affect direct spending, 
pay-as-you-go procedures apply. Enacting the bill would not 
affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4689 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    H.R. 4689 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Aurora Swanson. 
The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to authorize early repayment of 
obligations to the Bureau of Reclamation within the Northport 
Irrigation District in the State of Nebraska.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       COMPLIANCE WITH H. RES. 5

    Directed Rule Making. This bill does not contain any 
directed rule makings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.


    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes to existing