[Senate Report 113-96] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office] Calendar No. 174 113th Congress Report SENATE 1st Session 113-96 ====================================================================== VALLES CALDERA NATIONAL PRESERVE MANAGEMENT _______ September 10, 2013.--Ordered to be printed _______ Mr. Wyden, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, submitted the following R E P O R T [To accompany S. 285] The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was referred the bill (S. 285) to designate the Valles Caldera National Preserve as a unit of the National Park System, and for other purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with amendments and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass. The amendment are as follows: 1. On page 5, line 21, before the period insert ``in Jemez Springs, New Mexico''. 2. On page 5, line 22, strike ``may'' and insert ``shall''. 3. On page 5, line 24, insert ``at levels and locations determined by the Secretary to be appropriate,'' before ``consistent''. 4. On page 6, strike lines 4 through 16 and insert the following: (f) Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping.-- (1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), the Secretary shall permit hunting, fishing, and trapping on land and water within the Preserve in accordance with applicable Federal and State law. (2) Administrative exceptions.--The Secretary may designate areas in which, and establish limited periods during which, no hunting, fishing, or trapping shall be permitted under paragraph (1) for reasons of public safety, administration, or compliance with applicable law. (3) Agency agreement.--Except in an emergency, regulations closing areas within the Preserve to hunting, fishing, or trapping under this subsection shall be made in consultation with the appropriate agency of the State having responsibility for fish and wildlife administration. (4) Savings clause.--Nothing in this Act affects any jurisdiction or responsibility of the State with respect to fish and wildlife in the Preserve. PURPOSE The purpose of S. 285 is to designate the Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico as a unit of the National Park system. BACKGROUND AND NEED The Valles Caldera in northern New Mexico is one of only three supervolcanoes in the United States and one of six in the world. The Valles Caldera is the oldest of the three supervolcanoes (having formed 1.25 million years ago), and it also is the smallest. Yet the caldera rim spans more than 100,000 acres, and the eruption created a volcanic ash plume that stretched from what is now northern Utah to central Kansas. The Valles Caldera has been thoroughly studied, and it provides an excellent opportunity for both experts and the public to learn about large volcanic eruptions and their impacts on surrounding landscapes. The Valles Caldera's expansive grassland valleys, meandering headwaters of the Jemez River, and forested mountains offer outstanding scenery and provide habitat to a variety of wildlife including peregrine falcons, bald eagles, trout, and a 3,000-strong elk herd. In 1975, the Valles Caldera received formal recognition as an outstanding and nationally significant geologic resource when it was designated a National Natural Landmark. In 2000 Congress passed the Valles Caldera Preservation Act (Public Law 106-248; 16 U.S.C. 698v et seq.), which authorized the United States to acquire the Baca Ranch (which includes the Valles Caldera) from its private owners. The legislation provided for the establishment of the Valles Caldera National Preserve and provided for it to be administered by the Valles Caldera Trust. The Trust operates under an experimental management framework in which a Presidentially-appointed Board of Trustees manages the National Preserve to protect and preserve the scientific, scenic, geologic, watershed, fish, wildlife, historic, cultural, and recreational values of the Preserve, and to provide for the use of its renewable resources. The legislation also directed the Trust to prepare a budget with a goal of becoming financially self-sustaining by 2015. The Valles Caldera Preservation Act also provided that the Trust would terminate at the end of the twentieth full fiscal year following acquisition of the Baca Ranch. The law further provided that ``in the event of termination of the Trust, the Secretary [of Agriculture] shall assume all management and administrative functions over the Preserve, and it shall thereafter be managed as a part of the Santa Fe National Forest, subject to all laws applicable to the National Forest System.'' Upon passage of the Act, the Federal Government acquired the property for approximately $100 million. In the years since the establishment of the National Preserve, there have been concerns that the management framework is not working and has resulted in limited public access. For example, in Fiscal Year 2011, the 89,000-acre Preserve received 97,552 visitors. By comparison, the adjacent 34,000-acre Bandelier National Monument, which is administered by the National Park Service, has annual visitation that has varied between 150,000-430,000 visitors annually. In October of 2009, the Government Accountability Office released a report (GAO-10-84) stating that the Preserve was at least five years behind schedule in the development of an effective management control system and that the goal of becoming financially self-sustaining by 2015 remained the Trust's biggest challenge and would be difficult to achieve. The report noted that the Trust had failed to establish key elements of an effective management program, including that it lacked a strategic plan and had not met the requirements for performance planning, monitoring, or reporting as required by the Government Performance and Results Act. In December 2009, the National Park Service completed a reconnaissance study which updated the Park Service's 1979 feasibility study regarding the designation of the Valles Caldera as a unit of the National Park System. The study found that the Valles Caldera possesses nationally significant geologic resources and meets the suitability and feasibility requirements necessary for inclusion in the National Park System. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY S. 285 was introduced by Senators Udall of New Mexico and Heinrich on February 12, 2013. The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on S. 285 on April 23, 2013. At its business meeting on June 18, 2013, the Committee ordered S. 285 favorably reported with amendments. In the 112th Congress, a Senators Bingaman and Udall of New Mexico introduced a similar measure, S. 564, on March 10, 2011. The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on S. 564 on May 11, 2011 (S. Hrg. 112-124). Senators Bingaman and Udall of New Mexico also introduced similar legislation in the 111th Congress, S. 3452. The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on S. 3452 on June 30, 2010 (S. Hrg. 111-321). At its business meeting on August 5, 2010, the Committee ordered S. 3452 favorably reported, as amended (S. Rept. 111-321). COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open business session on June 18, 2013, by a voice vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 285 if amended as described herein. Senators Barrasso, Risch, Lee, Scott, and Portman asked to be recorded as voting no. COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS During its consideration of S. 285, the Committee adopted four amendments. The first amendment provides that a science and education center authorized in section 3(d) to be established outside of the boundaries of the National Preserve, be located in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. The second and third amendments revise the grazing provisions in the bill to require that grazing be allowed to continue with the National Preserve at levels and locations determined by the Secretary of the Interior to be appropriate, to the extent the use furthers scientific research or interpretation of the ranching history of the Preserve. The fourth amendment modifies the fish and wildlife language in section 3(f) to provide that the Secretary of the Interior to permit hunting, fishing, and trapping within the National Preserve in accordance with applicable Federal and State law. The Secretary is authorized to designate areas in which, and establish limited periods during which no hunting, fishing, or trapping shall be permitted for reasons of public safety, administration, or compliance with applicable law. Except in an emergency, regulations closing areas of the Preserve to hunting, fishing, or trapping shall be made in consultation with the appropriate State agency. SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS Section 1 contains the short title, the ``Valles Caldera National Preserve Management Act''. Section 2 defines key terms in the bill. Section 3(a) designates the Valles Caldera National Preserve (National Preserve) as a unit of the National Park System. Subsection (b)(1) directs the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to administer the National Preserve in accordance with this Act and the laws generally applicable to units of the National Park System including the National Park Service Organic Act (16 U.S.C. 1 et seq.) and the Act of August 21, 1935 (16 U.S.C. 461 et seq.). Paragraph (2) authorizes the Secretary to coordinate the management and operation of the National Preserve with the Bandalier National Monument. Paragraph (3) directs the Secretary to prepare a management plan for the National Preserve, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, State and local governments, Indian tribes, and the public within 3 years after the date on which funding becomes available. Subsection (c) authorizes the Secretary to acquire land and interests in land within the boundaries of the National Preserve by purchase with donated or appropriated funds, donation, or transfer from a another Federal agency and directs the Secretary to administer the acquired lands or interests in land as part of the National Preserve. Subsection (d) directs the Secretary to carry out the science and education program for the National Preserve established by the Trust, until the management plan required under subsection (b)(3) is completed. Upon completion of the management plan, the Secretary is directed to establish a science and education program for the National Preserve. The Secretary is authorized to establish a science and education center outside the boundaries of the National Preserve in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. Subsection (e) directs the Secretary to allow the grazing of livestock within the National Preserve consistent with this Act and at levels and locations determined by the Secretary to be appropriate and to the extent the use furthers scientific research or interpretation of the ranching history of the preserve. Subsection (f)(1) directs the Secretary to permit hunting, fishing, and trapping within the Preserve in accordance with applicable Federal and State law. Paragraph (2) authorizes the Secretary to designate areas and establish limited periods during which no hunting, fishing, trapping shall be permitted for reasons of public safety, administration, or compliance with applicable law. Paragraph (3) requires that, except in an emergency, all regulations closing areas within the Preserve to hunting, fishing, or trapping shall be made in consultation with the appropriate State of New Mexico agency having responsibility for fish and wildlife administration. Paragraph (4) provides that noting in this Act affects the jurisdiction or responsibility of the State with respect to fish and wildlife in the National Preserve. Subsection (g)(1) directs the Secretary to undertake activities to improve the health of the forest, grassland, and riparian areas within the National Preserve, including activities carried out in accordance with title IV of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (16 U.S.C. 7301 et seq.), relating to forest landscape restoration. Paragraph (2) authorizes the Secretary to enter into cooperative agreements with adjacent pueblos to coordinate activities carried out under paragraph (1) on the Preserve and adjacent pueblo land. Subsection (h) withdraws all land and interests in land within the boundaries of the Preserve, subject to valid existing rights, from entry, disposal, or appropriation under the public land laws; from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and from operation of the mineral leasing laws, geothermal leasing laws, and mineral material laws. Subsection (i)(1) restricts motorized access, and the building of roads or buildings within the area above 9,600 feet in elevation or 250-feet below the top, whichever is lower, of the domes and peaks described in paragraph (2). Paragraph (2) provides a list of all the domes and other peaks referred to in paragraph (1). Paragraph (3) provides an exception where motorized access is necessary for administrative purposes or measures required in emergencies to protect the health and safety of persons in the area. Subsection (j)(1) directs the Secretary to ensure the protection of traditional cultural and religious sites in the National Preserve in consultation with the Indian tribes and pueblos. Paragraph (2) requires that the Secretary provide access to the sites described in paragraph (1) by members of Indian tribes or pueblos for traditional cultural and customary uses and may, on request of an Indian tribe or pueblo, temporarily close specific areas of the National Preserve to general public access in order to protect traditional cultural and customary uses in the area by members of the Indian tribe or pueblo. Paragraph (3) directs the Secretary to maintain prohibitions on the use of motorized or mechanical travel on preserve land located adjacent to the Santa Clara Indian Reservation to the extent the prohibition was in effect on the date of the enactment of this Act. Subsection (k) requires the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, to study the feasibility of establishing a hiking trail along the rim of the Valles Caldera on land within the National Preserve, and National Forest System land that is adjacent to the Preserve, within 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act. Upon the request of an affected Indian tribe or pueblo, the Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture are directed to seek to enter into an agreement with the Indian tribe or pueblo that provides for the protection of cultural and religious sites in the vicinity of the trail and the privacy of adjacent pueblo land. Subsection (l) provides that nothing in this Act affects valid existing rights. Section 4(a) transfers administrative jurisdiction over the National Preserve from the Secretary of Agriculture and the Trust to the Secretary to be administer as a unit of the National Park Service Subsection (b) modifies the boundaries of the Santa Fe National Forest to exclude the National Preserve. Subsection (c)(1) directs the Secretary and the Trust to enter into a memorandum of agreement within 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act to facilitate the orderly transfer of the administration of the National Preserve to the Secretary. Paragraph (2) allows the Secretary to administer the National Preserve in accordance with any management activities of plans adopted by the Trust until the date on which the Secretary completes a management plan for the Preserve under section 3(b)(1). Paragraph (3) requires that the National Preserve remain open to the public during the interim management period. Subsection (d)(1) terminates the Trust 180 days after the enactment of this Act unless the Secretary determines that the termination date should be extended in order to facilitate the transitional management of the National Preserve. Paragraph (2)(A) requires that all assets of the Trust be transferred to the Secretary and that any amounts appropriated for the Trust be available to the Secretary for the administration of the National Preserve. Subparagraph (B) requires the Secretary, upon termination of the Trust, to assume all contracts, obligations, and other liabilities of the Trust and that the Secretary and the Trust prepare a budget for the interim management of the National Preserve within 90 days after the enactment of this Act. The Trust must obtain the written concurrence of the Secretary before entering into any new liabilities not authorized in the budget prepared under the subclause (I). Paragraph (3)(A) authorizes the Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture to hire employees of the Trust on a non- competitive basis. Subparagraph (B) requires that any employees hired under subparagraph (A) be subject to the provisions of chapter 51, and subchapter III of chapter 53, title 5, United States Code, relating to Federal agency employment. Subparagraph (C) requires that employees of the Trust be retained for 180 days beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, and shall be considered to be placed on detail to the Secretary. Subparagraph (d) provides that nothing in this paragraph precludes the termination of employment of an eligible employee for cause. Paragraph (4) requires that the Secretary have access to all records of the Trust pertaining to the management of the National Preserve. Paragraph (5) transfers power over the Valles Calera Fund from the Trust to the Secretary and makes available to the Secretary, for the management of the National Preserve, any amounts in the Fund without further appropriation. Section 5(a) repeals the Valles Caldera Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 698v et seq.) on termination of the Trust. Subsection (b) clarifies that notwithstanding the repeal of that Act, the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture to acquire mineral interests under section 104(e) of the Valles Caldera Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 698v et seq.) is transferred to the Secretary to the Secretary and provides that any proceeding for the condemnation of, or payment of compensation for, an outstanding mineral interest shall continue. Paragraph (2) requires that the provisions of section 104(g) of the Valles Caldera Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 698v et seq.) relating to the Pueblo of Santa Clara remain in effect. Paragraph (3) requires that the Valles Caldera Fund not be terminated until all amounts in the Fund have been expended. Subsection (c) provides that the boundaries of the Preserve, the Santa Fe National Forrest (other than the modification made by section 4(b)), the Bandalier National Monument, and any land conveyed to the Pueblo of Santa Clara not be affected by the repeal of the of the Valles Caldera Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 698v et seq.). Section 6 authorizes the appropriation of such sums as are necessary to carry out the Act. COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS The following estimate of costs of this measure has been provided by the Congressional Budget Office: S. 285--Valles Caldera National Preserve Management Act Summary: S. 285 would transfer administrative jurisdiction of the Valles Caldera Preserve in New Mexico from the Forest Service to the National Park Service (NPS). Assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO estimates that implementing S. 285 would cost $27 million over the 2014-2018 period. Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. S. 285 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 impact of S. 285 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-- ------------------------------------------------------- 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2014-2018 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION Estimated Authorization Level........................... 3 6 7 7 7 30 Estimated Outlays....................................... 2 5 7 7 7 27 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the legislation will be enacted near the end of 2013 and that the necessary amounts will be appropriated for each fiscal year. Estimated outlays are based on the historical spending patterns for similar land management activities. Under S. 285, the Valles Caldera National Preserve would become a unit of the National Park System rather than the National Forest System. The preserve would be managed by the NPS rather than the Valles Caldera Trust--a wholly owned, government-sponsored corporation. (The 89,000-acre preserve was established in 2000.) Assets and liabilities of the Valles Caldera Trust Fund would be transferred to the NPS along with authority to spend amounts in the trust fund without an appropriation. Under the bill, the NPS could continue to allow grazing on preserve lands as well as hunting, fishing, and other recreational activities. Based on information provided by the Forest Service and the NPS, CBO estimates that the cost of administering the preserve would increase by about $1 million annually. (The Forest Service currently spends $3 million a year to administer the preserve.) The additional costs would result initially from required management planning and studies and later from improved operations and maintenance activities. In addition, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO estimates that the NPS would spend $22 million over the 2014-2018 period to construct facilities for maintenance operations, administrative activities, and educational purposes. CBO expects that offsetting receipts and associated direct spending under the bill would be about the same as under current law. The NPS would collect receipts currently collected by the trust (primarily recreation fees amounting to less than $1 million annually) and would spend those amounts to benefit the preserve. Spending of balances in the Valles Caldera Trust Fund also would be unchanged under the bill. Finally, we estimate that withdrawing land within the preserve from some commercial activities such as mining would not reduce offsetting receipts because that land is not expected to generate any receipts in future years. Pay-As-You-Go considerations: None. Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 285 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments. Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Martin von Gnechten; Impact on state, local, and tribal governments: Melissa Merrell; 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. 285. 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. 285, as ordered reported. CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING S. 285, 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 National Park Service at the April 23, 2013, Subcommittee on National Parks hearing on S. 285 follows: Statement of Peggy O'Dell, Deputy Director for Operations, National Park Service, Department of the Interior Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the Department of the Interior's views on S. 285, to designate the Valles Caldera National Preserve as a unit of the National Park System, and for other purposes. The Department supports S. 285 with an amendment described later in this statement. The Valles Caldera National Preserve (Preserve) has been found to meet the National Park Service's criteria for inclusion in the National Park System, and this legislation would provide a feasible plan for transferring management responsibility for the Preserve from the Valles Caldera Trust (Trust) to the National Park Service. S. 285 would designate the Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico as a unit of the National Park System and would transfer administrative jurisdiction of the Preserve to the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) for administration by the National Park Service (NPS). The bill would terminate the Trust 180 days after enactment unless the Secretary determines that the termination date should be extended to facilitate the transitional management of the Preserve. All assets and liabilities of the Trust would be transferred to the Secretary. The bill would also authorize the Secretary to coordinate management and operations of the Preserve with Bandelier National Monument and produce a management plan no later than three fiscal years after funds are made available. If S. 285 is enacted, we look forward to working with the Trust, the Secretary of Agriculture, Indian Tribes and Pueblos, State and local governments, and the public to develop a management plan and capitalize on the proximity of Bandelier National Monument for efficiency of operations, while applying Service First principles of sharing resources as appropriate with the surrounding Santa Fe National Forest. S. 285 would authorize grazing, hunting, and fishing to continue within the Preserve. It would also require the Secretary to ensure the protection of traditional cultural and religious sites, including providing tribal access to the sites and temporarily closing specific areas of the Preserve to protect traditional uses, in accordance with applicable law. The NPS has a long history of consultation with Native Americans in the preservation and continuation of traditional practices. Finally, S. 285 would require that eligible Trust employees be retained for at least 180 days from the date of enactment. The Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture would be authorized to hire Trust employees on a noncompetitive basis for comparable positions at the Preserve or other areas or offices under the jurisdiction of the two Secretaries. The Valles Caldera National Preserve is an 88,900 acre unit of the National Forest System located in the Jemez Mountains of north central New Mexico. The Preserve was established by Public Law 106-248, the Valles Caldera Preservation Act of 2000, and is managed by the Valles Caldera Trust, a wholly owned goverment corporation established under the Act. The Trust is charged with mixing elements of both private and public administration while working to achieve resource protection, public enjoyment, and financial self sufficiency goals. The Valles Caldera is considered to be one of the world's best intact examples of a resurgent caldera (the remains of a huge and ancient volcano with a prominent uplift at its center, in this case present-day Redondo Peak) and is of sufficient size and configuration to allow for long-term sustainable resource protection and visitor enjoyment. The geologic features of the Preserve retain a high degree of integrity and the Preserve's unique setting of expansive grasslands and montane forests provides outstanding scenic values and an array of opportunities for public recreation, reflection, education, and scientific study. The Preserve also would expand and enhance the diversity of volcanic sites represented within the National Park System. The national significance of the geological resources of the Valles Caldera was formally recognized in 1975 when the area was designated a National Natural Landmark. Moreover, Valles Caldera offers the opportunity to illustrate the connection of human history in the region that is showcased at Bandelier National Monument with the geologic history that shaped the surrounding mesa and canyon landscape. As early as 1899, the area around Valles Caldera was studied for national park designation, and the resulting report proposed that 153,620 acres be set aside for ``Pajarito National Park.'' A portion of this area later became Bandelier National Monument, established in 1906. Additionally, the Valles Caldera was the subject of site investigations and new area studies that were completed by the NPS in 1939, 1964, 1977, and 1979. An Update Report on the NPS 1979 New Area Study was completed by the NPS in December 2009, at the request of Senator Tom Udall and former Senator Jeff Bingaman. All of these studies found that the Valles Caldera was nationally significant, suitable and feasible for designation as a unit of the National Park System, and the 2009 Update Report reaffirmed the results of the prior studies. Under S. 285, Valles Caldera would be managed in accordance with the 1916 Organic Act and other Acts that have guided the NPS for nearly one hundred years ``to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations'', with recognition that the bill allows for continued, sustainable grazing, hunting, and fishing. The NPS has experience with these activities in our other nineteen designated preserves. Based on current expenses for Valles Caldera and the cost to operate park units comparable in size and assets, we anticipate the annual cost to operate and manage the park would be approximately $22 million for developmental costs and $4 million for annual operational costs, although more complete cost estimates would be developed through the general management plan. In addition, our 2009 Update Report identifies five parcels of private property within the proposed park boundaries, totaling 40 acres. Although appraisals have not been completed, the expected costs to acquire this private property and any transfer costs are not expected to be great. Funds would be subject to the availability of appropriations and NPS priorities. We recommend that the bill be amended to reference a map, which would provide certainty about the boundary and make the bill consistent with most other laws and pending bills designating new units of the National Park System. The NPS would be pleased to provide the committee with language for that amendment. Mr. Chairman, that concludes my prepared remarks. I would be happy to answer any questions that you or any other members of the Committee may have. 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 S. 285, as ordered reported.