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                                                      Calendar No. 685
115th Congress      }                                   {       Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session         }                                   {      115-396

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



 
  TO PROVIDE FOR THE TRANSFER OF CERTAIN FEDERAL LAND IN THE STATE OF 
       MINNESOTA FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE LEECH LAKE BAND OF OJIBWE

                                _______
                                

               November 28, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

           Mr. Hoeven, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 2599]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the 
bill (S. 2599) to provide for the transfer of certain Federal 
land in the State of Minnesota for the benefit of the Leech 
Lake Band of Ojibwe, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon with amendments and recommends that the bill, 
as amended, do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The bill, S. 2599, intends to transfer 11,760 acres of 
federal land from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to 
the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) for the benefit of 
the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Indian tribe (Tribe or Tribal).

                               BACKGROUND

    The bill, S. 2599, would restore Tribal land that was lost 
during the termination era when many of its members were 
illegally dispossessed of their land via ``secretarial 
transfers,'' a transaction where the DOI approved the sale or 
transfer of tribal land and/or individually owned Indian 
allotments without the consent of the tribe or the individual 
Indian allottees. The Tribe maintains that this practice by the 
DOI resulted in the Tribe having an insufficient land base to 
meet the current needs of its membership.\1\ The Tribe is 
seeking the return of the described land in S. 2599 to help 
restore its land base, to protect tribal sacred sites, and to 
build housing on some of the tracts of land near the Tribe's 
existing communities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\The Tribe has the largest population out of the State of 
Minnesota tribes (about 10,660 as of the 2010 census), the Tribe has 
the smallest amount of land available for its use, as much of its 
reservation is submerged under the area's lakes.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

              SUMMARY OF THE BILL AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The federally recognized Tribe has a membership of 
approximately 10,660 members and its reservation is located 
within the National Chippewa Forest in Cass County, Minnesota. 
The Tribe is part of the greater Minnesota Chippewa tribes, 
which is comprised of the Bois Forte, Fond du Lac, Grand 
Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, and White Earth.
    Under the provisions of S. 2599, approximately 11,760 acres 
of federal land, located in Cass County, Minnesota would be 
transferred from the USDA to the DOI. The federal land 
described in S. 2599 is located within the Chippewa National 
Forest and contains utility easements, rights-of-way for roads, 
and flowage and reservoir rights. No cabins, campgrounds, 
lodges, or resorts are located on the land.
    The land described in S. 2599 will be considered a part of 
the Tribe's reservation. Following a survey, mapping, and legal 
description of the land by the Secretary of the USDA, the land 
shall be transferred to the Secretary of the DOI, including all 
right, title, and interest of the federal land described in the 
bill.
    The Tribe intends to respect all existing easements, 
rights-of-way and other encumbrances on the land and does not 
intend to immediately modify the current land uses. The federal 
land will stay in tax-exempt fee status as part of the Chippewa 
National Forest until the Tribe develops a plan to allow for 
economic and residential use.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On March 22, 2018, Senator Smith introduced the Leech Lake 
Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act. The bill, S. 2599, 
was referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs of the Senate 
on the same day.
    On July 11, 2018, the Committee held a legislative hearing 
on S. 2599. At this hearing, Ms. Leslie Weldon, Deputy Chief 
for National Forest System, Forest Service, USDA, and the 
Honorable Faron Jackson, Sr., Chairman, Leech Lake Band of 
Ojibwe, both positively testified regarding the legislation. On 
September 17, 2018, Senator Klobuchar was added as a cosponsor.
    On September 26, 2018, the Committee held a duly called 
business meeting to consider S. 2599. Senator Smith filed a 
timely amendment in the nature of a substitute, which addresses 
comments provided by the Forest Service of the USDA. The 
Committee passed S. 2599 by voice vote and ordered the bill, as 
amended, to be favorably reported.
    A House companion bill, H.R. 5529, was introduced by 
Representative Nolan on April 17, 2018. On April 20, 2018, the 
bill, H.R. 5529, was referred to the Committee on Natural 
Resources of the House of Representatives, Subcommittees on 
Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Affairs, and on Federal 
Lands. On July 26, 2018, Representative McCollum was added as a 
cosponsor. No further action has been taken on H.R. 5529.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    This section provides the short title of the bill as the 
``Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act''.

Sec. 2. Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration

    This section:
     Provides the Congressional Findings and 
Definitions used in the bill.
     Requires that the federal land transferred between 
the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the 
Interior for the benefit of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe be 
held in trust by the United States and considered to be part of 
the Tribe's reservation.
     Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to complete, 
within 180 days after date of enactment of this Act, a plan of 
survey to establish boundaries of the land; and submit a map 
and legal description of the land to the Committee on Natural 
Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
Indian Affairs of the Senate, and be made available to the 
public. The map and legal description of the land may be 
updated for any clerical or typographical errors, by the 
Secretary of Agriculture.
     Provides that nothing in this section affects any 
right or claim of the tribe, unless expressly provided in this 
section, in existence on the date of enactment of this Act, to 
any land or interest in land.
     Applies federal law, including regulations 
relating to the export of unprocessed logs harvested from 
federal land, to any unprocessed logs that are harvested from 
the federal land.
     Prohibits that the federal land transferred in 
this Act from being eligible or used for any gaming activity 
carried out under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C. 
2701 et seq.)

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The following cost estimate, as provided by the 
Congressional Budget Office, dated November 7, 2018, was 
prepared for S. 2599:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, November 7, 2018.
Hon. John Hoeven,
Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 2599, the Leech Lake 
Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Robert Reese.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

S. 2599--Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act

    S. 2599 would take into trust for the benefit of the Leech 
Lake Band of Ojibwe Indians approximately 12,000 acres of land 
in the Chippewa National Forest currently administered by the 
Forest Service. The bill would prohibit certain types of gaming 
on the land and require that commercial forestry on the land be 
managed in accordance with federal law. Using information from 
the Forest Service, CBO estimates that taking the land into 
trust would cost less than $500,000. Any such spending would be 
subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
    The land that would be taken into trust generates 
offsetting receipts, which are treated as reductions in direct 
spending, from the sale of timber, and minerals and from other 
special uses. A portion of those receipts can be spent without 
further appropriation. Using information from the Forest 
Service, CBO estimates enacting S. 2599 would reduce offsetting 
receipts from those collections by about $1 million over the 
2019-2028 period.
    Because enacting S. 2599 would affect direct spending, pay-
as-you-go procedures apply. However, because under current law, 
some receipts would be spent, CBO estimates that enacting S. 
2599 would have no significant net effect on direct spending in 
any year or over the 2019-2028 period. Enacting the bill would 
not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 2599 would not significantly 
increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of 
the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    S. 2599 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Robert Reese. 
The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

               REGULATORY AND PAPERWORK IMPACT STATEMENT

    Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the 
Senate requires each report accompanying a bill to evaluate the 
regulatory and paperwork impact that would be incurred in 
carrying out the bill. The Committee believes S. 2599 will have 
minimal impact on regulatory or paperwork requirements.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The Committee has received no communications from the 
Executive Branch regarding S. 2599.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In accordance with Committee Rules, subsection 12 of rule 
XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate is waived. In the 
opinion of the Committee, it is necessary to dispense with 
subsection 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate 
to expedite business of the Senate.

                                  [all]