[Senate Report 116-146]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


                                                       Calendar No. 268
116th Congress  }                                            {   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session    }                                            {  116-146

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       PLATTE RIVER RECOVERY IMPLEMENTATION PROGRAM EXTENSION ACT

                                _______
                                

                October 24, 2019.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 990]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 990) to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to participate in the implementation of the Platte 
River Recovery Implementation Program First Increment Extension 
for threatened and endangered species in the Central and Lower 
Platte River Basin, and for other purposes, having considered 
the same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommends that the bill do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 990 is to authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior (Secretary) to continue the cooperative effort among 
the Federal and non-Federal entitites through the 
implementation of the Platte River Recovery Implementation 
Program First Increment Extension for threatened and endangered 
species in the Central and Lower Platte River Basin.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The Platte River Recovery and Implementation Program (PRRIP 
or Program) is a partnership between the Department of the 
Interior (DOI) and the states of Colorado, Nebraska, and 
Wyoming aimed at recovering endangered species and complying 
with the Endangered Species Act within the Central and Lower 
Platte basin. DOI entered into a cooperative agreement with 
these states in 1997, and in 2006 the Bureau of Reclamation 
(Reclamation) released a Final Programmatic Environmental 
Impact Statement, the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a final 
Biological Opinion, and the Record of Decision was signed for 
the Program.
    PRRIP targets four listed species through land, water, and 
adaptive management goals. The four target species include the 
endangered whooping crane, interior least tern, and pallid 
sturgeon, and the threatened piping plover. The water plan's 
objective is to increase flows in the central Platte River area 
through incentive-based water projects in order to maintain 
habitat for the target species. The land plan's goals are to 
protect, and where appropriate, restore critical habitat. The 
adaptive management plan's goals are to improve production, 
avoid adverse impacts, and improve survival of the various 
listed species.
    Congress authorized the first increment of PRRIP in 2008 
(section 515 of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008, 
Public Law 110-229). During the first increment, progress 
toward endangered species compliance included development of 
operation depletion plans for each state, an integrated 
monitoring and research plan, over 12,000 acres of habitat 
lands acquired and under management, and 90,000 acre-feet (AF) 
per year of secure water supplies.
    PRRIP is currently set to expire in 2020 and legislation is 
needed to extend the program to allow further progress toward 
long-term objectives, including development and acquisition of 
120,000 AF per year of total water assets for the program, an 
additional 1,500 acres of complex habitat to the current land 
inventory, and continuation of the adaptive management program 
to better understand the science and ecology of target species. 
S. 990 extends the program by an additional 13 years, through 
2033.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 990 was introduced by Senators Barrasso, Gardner, 
Fischer, Bennet, and Enzi on April 4, 2019. The Subcommittee on 
Water and Power held a hearing on the measure on June 26, 2019.
    Identical companion legislation, H.R. 3237, was introduced 
in the House of Representatives by Representative Neguse on 
June 12, 2019. The Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife 
held a hearing on the bill on June 24, 2019.
    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met in 
open business session on September 25, 2019, and ordered S. 990 
favorably reported.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on September 25, 2019, by a majority 
voice vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass 
S. 990.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Sec. 1. Short title

    Section 1 sets forth the short title.

Sec. 2. Purpose

    Section 2 states the purpose.

Sec. 3. Definitions

    Section 3 defines key terms.

Sec. 4. Platte River Recover Implementation Program

    Subsection (a) authorizes the Secretary to participate in 
PRRIP and carry out implementation-related projects and 
activities, including entering into contracts and agreements, 
acquiring interests in land, water, and facilities from willing 
sellers, and accepting or providing grants.
    Subsection (b) requires the states to contribute not less 
than 50 percent of the total contributions needed to implement 
the program. The subsection specifies that the states' non-
Federal contributions are to be comprised of an additional $28 
million, and additional credit, as determined by the Secretary, 
for contributions of land and water. The subsection also allows 
in-kind goods and services to provide a portion of the Federal 
or non-Federal shares, if approved by the Program's Governance 
Committee.
    Subsection (c) authorizes the modification or amendment of 
the Program before completion of the First Increment Extension 
if the Secretary and states determine a modification or 
amendment is consistent with the purposes of PRRIP.
    Subsection (d)(1) states that no action taken pursuant to 
section 4 shall, with respect to acreage limitations provisions 
of Reclamation laws, be used to: (A) determine whether a water 
district has repaid the construction costs of project 
facilities; (B) reinstate acreage limitations on a district 
that has repayed its construction obligations; or (C) increase 
a district's construction repayment obligation.
    Subsection (d)(2) states that section 4 does not create 
Federal water rights or require water rights to be granted to 
Federal entities.
    Subsection (e) authorizes an additional $78 million in 
appropriations above the $157.1 million authorized in 2008 and 
specifies that those funds are non-reimbursable Federal 
expenditures. The subsection further directs any fund balance 
to be adjusted for inflation annually and specifies that any 
unexpended funds may be retained and carried over for future 
use, including from the First Increment to the Firest Increment 
Extension.
    Subsection (f) terminates the Secretary's authority to 
implement the First Increment Extension on September 30, 2033.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

    The Congressional Budget Office estimate of the costs of 
this measure has been requested but was not received at the 
time the report was filed. When the Congressional Budget Office 
completes its cost estimate, it will be posted on the internet 
at www.cbo.gov.

                      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. 990. 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. 990, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    S. 990, as ordered 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 Department of the Interior at 
the June 26, 2019, hearing on S. 990 follows:

  Statement of Kiel Weaver, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for 
           Water and Science, U.S. Department of the Interior

    Chairman McSally, Ranking Member Cortez Masto, and Members 
of the Subcommittee, I am Kiel Weaver, Principal Deputy 
Assistant Secretary for Water and Science with the U.S. 
Department of the Interior (``Department''). Thank you for the 
opportunity to provide the views of the Department on several 
water related pieces of legislation. I will address each of 
these individually.
S. 990--the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program Extension Act
    The Department's participation, collaboration with the 
States of Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska, in the Platte River 
Recover Implementation Program (Program) was authorized under 
Sec. 515 of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 
(P.L. 110-229.) S. 990, sponsored by Senator John Barrasso (R-
WY), would reauthorize the Department's continued 
participation, allowing for an extension of the Program for 
thirteen years from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2032.
    During the first thirteen years of the Program (referred to 
as the ``First Increment'') eight of ten milestones have been 
achieved, with two remaining. One remaining milestone is the 
Program's Water Action Plan, which is to provide 50,000 acre-
feet of water for shortage reduction to U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service target flows in the central Platte River. The other 
remaining milestone is the completion of the Nebraska New 
Depletions Plan, which is a responsibility of the state of 
Nebraska. The Program has allowed existing water and power 
related projects with a federal nexus within the Platte River 
basin, including Reclamation's projects on the North and South 
Platte Rivers, to continue to operate as they have historically 
while providing an avenue for new water development projects to 
be developed in compliance with the Endangered Species Act 
through more efficient, streamlined consultations. The Program 
has implemented five Water Action Plan projects which provide 
approximately 14,000 acre-feet of water on an annual basis and 
has acquired an interest in approximately 12,600 acres of 
habitat for threatened and endangered species. In addition, the 
Program has implemented an Integrated Monitoring and Research 
Plan and Adaptive Management Plan to monitor target species, 
Central Platte River habitat conditions, and the effects of 
Program management actions on the species.
    The Program has been successful, providing an avenue for 
different parties and competing interests to find collaborative 
solutions to improving habitat conditions for the target 
species while allowing water use and development within the 
Platte River basin to continue. If the Program is not 
reauthorized, regulatory certainty for water and power users 
within the Platte River basin could be lost, which would 
jeopardize the continued operation of Reclamation projects in 
the basin and have detrimental effects on the delivery of water 
and power to Reclamation customers.
    The Platte River Recovery Implementation Program is 
important to providing continued ESA compliance for the 
operation of Reclamation projects in the Platte River basin. 
The Department is supportive and urges reauthorization.
Conclusion
    Again, thank you for the opportunity to testify. The 
Department looks forward to working closely with this Committee 
on these bills. I would be happy to answer any questions.

                        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. 990 as ordered reported.

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