[House Report 109-311]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



109th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    109-311

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          ALBUQUERQUE BIOLOGICAL PARK TITLE CLARIFICATION ACT

                                _______
                                

 November 18, 2005.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Pombo, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 229]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill 
(S. 229) to clear title to certain real property in New Mexico 
associated with the Middle Rio Grande Project, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of S. 229 is to clear title to certain real 
property in New Mexico associated with the Middle Rio Grande 
Project, and for other purposes.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The federal Middle Rio Grande Project was authorized in 
1948 to control Rio Grande River flooding and to rehabilitate 
the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District's water conveyance 
facilities. As a result of the 1948 authorization, the District 
and the Bureau of Reclamation of the Department of the Interior 
entered into a 50 year repayment contract. The District 
believed that under the contract the United States had only an 
easement interest in the Project property. The District has 
completed its repayment of the Project.
    As a result of its reading of the repayment contract, the 
District sold two properties associated with the Middle Rio 
Grande Project to the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1997. 
The City of Albuquerque bought the properties, Tingley Beach 
and San Gabriel Park, for $3.8 million to develop a biological 
park. The Tingley Beach property is approximately 25 acres and 
the San Gabriel Park property is approximately 40 acres.
    In 2000, however, the Bureau of Reclamation notified 
Albuquerque that it actually owned the properties based upon 
the federal agency's reading of the 1951 repayment contract. 
The Bureau of Reclamation challenged the legitimacy of 
Albuquerque's 1997 land transaction with the District, but both 
the City and the District disputed Reclamation's claim. As a 
result of litigation on this issue, a federal court ruled that 
the Bureau of Reclamation holds title to the land unless 
Congress specifically directs conveyance of the property.
    This legislation directs the Secretary of the Interior to 
issue a quit claim deed conveying any right, title, and 
interest that the United States may have in the two properties 
to the City of Albuquerque. This would resolve the title 
dispute only as it pertains to the two properties.
    The House companion measure to this bill is H.R. 2873, 
authored by Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R-NM).

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    S. 229 was introduced on February 1, 2005, by Senator Jeff 
Bingaman (D-NM). It was passed by the Senate by unanimous 
consent on July 26, 2005. In the House of Representatives, the 
bill was referred to the Committee on Resources, and within the 
Committee to the Subcommittee on Water and Power. On October 
19, 2005, the Full Resources Committee met to consider the 
bill. The Subcommittee on Water and Power was discharged from 
further consideration of the bill by unanimous consent. No 
amendments were offered, and the bill was ordered favorably 
reported to the House of Representatives by unanimous consent.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    This section cites the bill as ``Albuquerque Biological 
Park Title Clarification Act.''

Section 2. Purpose

    This section provides the purpose of the bill.

Section 3. Definitions

    This section defines various terms in the bill.

Section 4. Clarification of property interest

    This section requires the Secretary of the Interior issue a 
quitclaim deed conveying any right, title and interest that the 
United States may have in and to Tingley Beach and San Gabriel 
Park. The deed must be issued as soon as practicable after 
enactment of the legislation and would require no additional 
payment from the City of Albuquerque.

Section 5. Other rights, title, and interest unaffected

    Section 5 expressly states that this legislation does not 
impact any portion of the Middle Rio Grande Project other than 
Tingley Beach and San Gabriel Park. In addition, this section 
ensures that the bill has no affect on Rio Grande Silvery 
Minnow v. John W. Keys, III, a lawsuit currently pending in the 
Federal court system.

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

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

                   CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United 
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) 
of that Rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
    2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2) 
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this 
bill does not contain any new budget authority, spending 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in 
revenues or tax expenditures.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. This bill does 
not authorize funding and therefore, clause 3(c)(4) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives does not 
apply.
    4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause 
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate 
for this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office:

S. 229--Albuquerque Biological Park Title Clarification Act

    CBO estimates that implementing S. 229 would have no 
significant impact on the Federal budget. This bill would 
direct the Secretary of the Interior to issue a quitclaim deed 
conveying all right, title, and interest of the Federal 
government in two pieces of property in New Mexico, to the city 
of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The properties are known as Tingley 
Beach and San Gabriel Park.
     The Federal government currently does not generate any 
income from these two pieces of property, nor does it spend any 
funds to operate or maintain them. Tingley Beach and San 
Gabriel Park are part of a larger reclamation project called 
the Middle Rio Grande Project, which is operated primarily by 
the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. The Federal 
government and the district are currently involved in a lawsuit 
regarding title to all of the lands in the Middle Rio Grande 
Project. S. 229 would settle the title of the two pieces of 
property by conveying them to the city of Albuquerque. The 
government would not receive any compensation from the city for 
these lands.
    Enacting S. 229 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues. This legislation 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. Enacting this legislation would benefit the city 
of Albuquerque.
    On February 11, 2005, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for 
S. 229, the Albuquerque Biological Park Title Clarification 
Act, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Energy and 
Natural Resources on February 9, 2005. The House and Senate 
versions of this legislation are identical, as are the two cost 
estimates.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Rachel Milberg. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

    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 in existing 
law.