[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 151 (Friday, August 5, 2016)]
[Pages 51927-51936]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-18642]



Bureau of Indian Affairs


Rate Adjustments for Indian Irrigation Projects

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rate adjustments.


SUMMARY: The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) owns or has an interest in 
irrigation projects located on or associated with various Indian 
reservations throughout the United States. We are required to establish 
irrigation assessment rates to recover the costs to administer, 
operate, maintain, and rehabilitate these projects. We request your 
comments on the proposed rate adjustments.

DATES: Interested parties may submit comments on the proposed rate 
adjustments on or before October 4, 2016.

ADDRESSES: All comments on the proposed rate adjustments must be in 
writing and addressed to: Yulan Jin, Chief, Division of Water and 
Power, Office of Trust Services, Mail Stop 4637-MIB, 1849 C Street NW., 
Washington, DC 20240, Telephone (202) 219-0941.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For details about a particular 
irrigation project, please use the tables in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
section to contact the regional or local office where the project is 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The first table in this notice provides 
contact information for individuals who can give further information 
about the irrigation projects covered by this notice. The second table 
provides the current 2015 irrigation assessment rates, the proposed 
rates for Calendar Year (CY) 2016, and proposed rates for subsequent 
years where these rates are available.

What is the meaning of the key terms used in this notice?

    In this notice:
    Administrative costs means all costs we incur to administer our 
irrigation projects at the local project level and is a cost factor 
included in calculating your operation and maintenance assessment. 
Costs incurred at the local project level do not normally include 
Agency, Region, or Central Office costs unless we state otherwise in 
    Assessable acre means lands designated by us to be served by one of 
our irrigation projects, for which we collect assessments in order to 
recover costs for the provision of irrigation service. (See total 
assessable acres.)
    BIA means the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
    Bill means our statement to you of the assessment charges and/or 
fees you owe the United States for administration, operation, 
maintenance, and/or rehabilitation. The date we mail or hand-deliver 
your bill will be stated on it.
    Costs means the costs we incur for administration, operation, 
maintenance, and rehabilitation to provide direct support or benefit to 
an irrigation facility. (See administrative costs, operation costs, 
maintenance costs, and rehabilitation costs).
    Customer means any person or entity to whom or to which we provide 
irrigation service.
    Due date is the date on which your bill is due and payable. This 
date will be stated on your bill.
    I, me, my, you and your means all persons or entities that are 
affected by this notice.
    Irrigation project means a facility or portion thereof for the 
delivery, diversion, and storage of irrigation water that we own or 
have an interest in, including all appurtenant works. The term 
``irrigation project'' is used interchangeably with irrigation 
facility, irrigation system, and irrigation area.
    Irrigation service means the full range of services we provide 
customers of our irrigation projects. This includes our activities to 
administer, operate, maintain, and rehabilitate our projects in order 
to deliver water.
    Maintenance costs means costs we incur to maintain and repair our 
irrigation projects and associated equipment and is a cost factor 
included in calculating your operation and maintenance assessment.
    Operation and maintenance (O&M) assessment means the periodic 
charge you must pay us to reimburse costs of administering, operating, 
maintaining, and rehabilitating irrigation projects

[[Page 51928]]

consistent with this notice and our supporting policies, manuals, and 
    Operation or operating costs means costs we incur to operate our 
irrigation projects and equipment and is a cost factor included in 
calculating your O&M assessment.
    Past due bill means a bill that has not been paid by the close of 
business on the 30th day after the due date as stated on the bill. 
Beginning on the 31st day after the due date, we begin assessing 
additional charges accruing from the due date.
    Rehabilitation costs means costs we incur to restore our irrigation 
projects or features to original operating condition or to the nearest 
state which can be achieved using current technology and is a cost 
factor included in calculating your O&M assessment.
    Responsible party means an individual or entity that owns or leases 
land within the assessable acreage of one of our irrigation projects 
and is responsible for providing accurate information to our billing 
office and paying a bill for an annual irrigation rate assessment.
    Total assessable acres means the total acres served by one of our 
irrigation projects.
    Water delivery is an activity that is part of the irrigation 
service we provide our customers when water is available.
    We, us, and our means the United States Government, the Secretary 
of the Interior, the BIA, and all who are authorized to represent us in 
matters covered under this notice.

Does this notice affect me?

    This notice affects you if you own or lease land within the 
assessable acreage of one of our irrigation projects or if you have a 
carriage agreement with one of our irrigation projects.

Where can I get information on the regulatory and legal citations in 
this notice?

    You can contact the appropriate office(s) stated in the tables for 
the irrigation project that serves you, or you can use the Internet 
site for the Government Printing Office at http://www.gpo.gov.

Why are you publishing this notice?

    We are publishing this notice to inform you that we propose to 
adjust our irrigation assessment rates. This notice is published in 
accordance with the BIA's regulations governing its operation and 
maintenance of irrigation projects, found at 25 CFR part 171. This 
regulation provides for the establishment and publication of the 
proposed rates for annual irrigation assessments as well as related 
information about our irrigation projects.

What authorizes you to issue this notice?

    Our authority to issue this notice is vested in the Secretary of 
the Interior by 5 U.S.C. 301 and the Act of August 14, 1914 (38 Stat. 
583; 25 U.S.C. 385). The Secretary has in turn delegated this authority 
to the Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs under Part 209, Chapter 
8.1A, of the Department of the Interior's Departmental Manual.

When will you put the rate adjustments into effect?

    We will put the rate adjustments into effect for the CY 2016 and 
subsequent years where applicable.

How do you calculate irrigation rates?

    We calculate annual irrigation assessment rates in accordance with 
25 CFR part 171.500 by estimating the annual costs of operation and 
maintenance at each of our irrigation projects and then dividing by the 
total assessable acres for that particular irrigation project. The 
result of this calculation for each project is stated in the rate table 
in this notice.

What kinds of expenses do you consider in determining the estimated 
annual costs of operation and maintenance?

    Consistent with 25 CFR part 171.500, these expenses include the 
    (a) Salary and benefits for the project engineer/manager and 
project employees under the project engineer/manager's management or 
    (b) Materials and supplies;
    (c) Vehicle and equipment repairs;
    (d) Equipment costs, including lease fees;
    (e) Depreciation;
    (f) Acquisition costs;
    (g) Maintenance of a reserve fund available for contingencies or 
emergency costs needed for the reliable operation of the irrigation 
facility infrastructure;
    (h) Maintenance of a vehicle and heavy equipment replacement fund;
    (i) Systematic rehabilitation and replacement of project 
    (j) Carriage Agreements for the transfer of project water through 
irrigation facilities owned by others.
    (j) Any water storage fees for non-BIA-owned reservoirs, as 
    (j) Contingencies for unknown costs and omitted budget items; and
    (k) Other expenses we determine necessary to properly perform the 
activities and functions characteristic of an irrigation project.

When should I pay my irrigation assessment?

    We will mail or hand-deliver your bill notifying you (a) the amount 
you owe to the United States and (b) when such amount is due. If we 
mail your bill, we will consider it as being delivered no later than 5 
business days after the day we mail it. You should pay your bill by the 
due date stated on the bill.

What information must I provide for billing purposes?

    All responsible parties are required to provide the following 
information to the billing office associated with the irrigation 
project where you own or lease land within the project's assessable 
acreage or to the billing office associated with the irrigation project 
with which you have a carriage agreement:
    (1) The full legal name of person or entity responsible for paying 
the bill;
    (2) An adequate and correct address for mailing or hand delivering 
our bill; and
    (3) The taxpayer identification number or Social Security number of 
the person or entity responsible for paying the bill.

Why are you collecting my taxpayer identification number or Social 
Security number?

    Public Law 104-134, the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, 
requires that we collect the taxpayer identification number or Social 
Security number before billing a responsible party and as a condition 
to servicing the account.

What happens if I am a responsible party but I fail to furnish the 
information required to the billing office responsible for the 
irrigation project within which I own or lease assessable land or for 
which I have a carriage agreement?

    If you are late paying your bill because of your failure to furnish 
the required information listed above, you will be assessed interest 
and penalties as provided below, and your failure to provide the 
required information will not provide grounds for you to appeal your 
bill or any penalties assessed.

What can happen if I do not provide the information required for 
billing purposes?

    We can refuse to provide you irrigation service.

[[Page 51929]]

If I allow my bill to become past due, could this affect my water 

    Yes. 25 CFR 171.545(a) states: ``We will not provide you irrigation 
service until: (1) Your bill is paid; or (2) You make arrangement for 
payment pursuant to Sec.  171.550 of this part.'' If we do not receive 
your payment before the close of business on the 30th day after the due 
date stated on your bill, we will send you a past due notice. This past 
due notice will have additional information concerning your rights. We 
will consider your past due notice as delivered no later than 5 
business days after the day we mail it. We follow the procedures 
provided in 31 CFR 901.2, ``Demand for Payment,'' when demanding 
payment of your past due bill.

Are there any additional charges if I am late paying my bill?

    Yes. We will assess you interest on the amount owed, using the rate 
of interest established annually by the Secretary of the United States 
Treasury (Treasury) to calculate what you will be assessed. You will 
not be assessed this charge until your bill is past due. However, if 
you allow your bill to become past due, interest will accrue from the 
original due date, not the past due date. Also, you will be charged an 
administrative fee of $12.50 for each time we try to collect your past 
due bill. If your bill becomes more than 90 days past due, you will be 
assessed a penalty charge of 6 percent per year, which will accrue from 
the date your bill initially became past due. Pursuant to 31 CFR 901.9, 
``Interest, penalties and administrative costs,'' as a Federal agency, 
we are required to charge interest, penalties, and administrative costs 
in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 3717.

What else will happen to my past due bill?

    If you do not pay your bill or make payment arrangements to which 
we agree, we are required to send your past due bill to the Treasury 
for further action. Under the provisions of 31 CFR 901.1, ``Aggressive 
agency collection activity,'' Federal agencies should consider 
referring debts that are less than 180 days delinquent, and we must 
send any unpaid annual irrigation assessment bill to Treasury no later 
than 180 days after the original due date of the bill.

Who can I contact for further information?

    The following tables are the regional and project/agency contacts 
for our irrigation facilities.

           Project name                    Project/agency contacts
                        Northwest Region Contacts
 Stanley Speaks, Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Northwest
     Regional Office, 911 NE. 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97232-4169,
                       Telephone: (503) 231-6702.
Flathead Irrigation Project.......  Ernest Moran, Superintendent, Pete
                                     Plant, Irrigation Project Manager,
                                     P.O. Box 40, Pablo, MT 59855,
                                     Telephones: (406) 675-2700 ext.
                                     1300, Superintendent; (406) 745-
                                     2661 ext. 2, Project Manager.
Fort Hall Irrigation Project......  David Bollinger, Irrigation Project
                                     Manager, Building #2, Bannock Ave.,
                                     Fort Hall, ID 83203-0220,
                                     Telephone: (208) 238-6264.
Wapato Irrigation Project.........  David Shaw, Superintendent, Larry
                                     Nelson, Acting Project
                                     Administrator, P.O. Box 220,
                                     Wapato, WA 98951-0220, Telephone:
                                     (509) 865-2421, Superintendent;
                                     (509) 877-3155, Acting Project
                     Rocky Mountain Region Contacts
   Darryl LaCounte, Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Rocky
  Mountain Regional Office, 316 North 26th Street, Billings, MT 59101,
                       Telephone: (406) 247-7943.
Blackfeet Irrigation Project......  Thedis Crowe, Superintendent, Greg
                                     Tatsey, Irrigation Project Manager,
                                     Box 880, Browning, MT 59417,
                                     Telephones: (406) 338-7544,
                                     Superintendent; (406) 338-7519,
                                     Irrigation Project Manager.
Crow Irrigation Project...........  Vianna Stewart, Superintendent, Karl
                                     Helvik, Acting Irrigation Project
                                     Manager, P.O. Box 69, Crow Agency,
                                     MT 59022, Telephones: (406) 638-
                                     2672, Superintendent; (406) 247-
                                     7469, Acting Irrigation Project
Fort Belknap Irrigation Project...  John St. Pierre, Superintendent,
                                     Vacant, Irrigation Project Manager,
                                     (Project operations & maintenance
                                     contracted to Tribes), R.R.1, Box
                                     980, Harlem, MT 59526, Telephones:
                                     (406) 353-2901, Superintendent;
                                     (406) 353-8454, Irrigation Project
                                     Manager (Tribal Office).
Fort Peck Irrigation Project......  Howard Beemer, Superintendent, Huber
                                     Wright, Acting Irrigation Project
                                     Manager, P.O. Box 637, Poplar, MT
                                     59255, Telephones: (406) 768-5312,
                                     Superintendent; (406) 653-1752,
                                     Irrigation Project Manager.
Wind River Irrigation Project.....  Norma Gourneau, Superintendent, Karl
                                     Helvik, Acting Irrigation Project
                                     Manager, P.O. Box 158, Fort
                                     Washakie, WY 82514, Telephones:
                                     (307) 332-7810, Superintendent;
                                     (406) 247-7469, Acting Irrigation
                                     Project Manager.
                        Southwest Region Contacts
     William T. Walker, Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs,
   Southwest Regional Office, 1001 Indian School Road, Albuquerque, NM
                    87104, Telephone: (505) 563-3100.
Pine River Irrigation Project.....  Priscilla Bancroft, Superintendent,
                                     Vickie Begay, Irrigation Project
                                     Manager, P.O. Box 315, Ignacio, CO
                                     81137-0315, Telephones: (970) 563-
                                     4511, Superintendent; (970) 563-
                                     9484, Irrigation Project Manager.
                         Western Region Contacts
   Bryan Bowker, Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Western
 Regional Office, 2600 N. Central Ave., 4th Floor Mailroom, Phoenix, AZ
                    85004, Telephone: (602) 379-6600.
Colorado River Irrigation Project.  Kellie Youngbear Superintendent,
                                     Gary Colvin, Irrigation Project
                                     Manager, 12124 1st Avenue, Parker,
                                     AZ 85344, Telephone: (928) 669-

[[Page 51930]]

Duck Valley Irrigation Project....  Joseph McDade, Superintendent,
                                     (Project operations & management
                                     compacted to Tribes), 2719 Argent
                                     Ave., Suite 4, Gateway Plaza, Elko,
                                     NV 89801, Telephone: (775) 738-
                                     5165; (208) 759-3100, (Tribal
Yuma Project, Indian Unit.........  Irene Herder, Superintendent, 256
                                     South Second Avenue, Suite D, Yuma,
                                     AZ 85364, Telephone: (928) 782-
San Carlos Irrigation Project       Ferris Begay, Project Manager,
 Indian Works and Joint Works.       Clarence Begay, Irrigation Manager,
                                     13805 N. Arizona Boulevard,
                                     Coolidge, AZ 85128, Telephone:
                                     (520) 723-6225.
Uintah Irrigation Project.........  Bart Stevens Superintendent, Ken
                                     Asay, Irrigation System Manager,
                                     P.O. Box 130, Fort Duchesne, UT
                                     84026, Telephone: (435) 722-4300,
                                     (435) 722-4344.
Walker River Irrigation Project...  Robert Eben, Superintendent, 311 E.
                                     Washington Street, Carson City, NV
                                     89701, Telephone: (775) 887-3500.

What irrigation assessments or charges are proposed for adjustment by 
this notice?

    The rate table below contains the current rates for all irrigation 
projects where we recover costs of administering, operating, 
maintaining, and rehabilitating them. The table also contains the 
proposed rates for the CY 2016 and subsequent years where applicable. 
An asterisk immediately following the rate category notes the 
irrigation projects where rates are proposed for adjustment.

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[[Page 51933]]


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[[Page 51935]]


Consultation and Coordination With Tribal Governments (Executive Order 

    The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its 
government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribes through a 
commitment to consultation with Indian Tribes and recognition of their 
right to self-governance and Tribal sovereignty. We have evaluated this 
notice under the Department's consultation policy and under the 
criteria of Executive Order 13175 and have determined there to be 
substantial direct effects on federally recognized Tribes because the 
irrigation projects are located on or associated with Indian 
reservations. To fulfill its consultation responsibility to Tribes and 
Tribal organizations, BIA communicates, coordinates, and consults on a 
continuing basis with these entities on issues of water delivery, water 
availability, and costs of administration, operation, maintenance, and 
rehabilitation of projects that concern them. This is accomplished at 
the individual irrigation project by project, agency, and regional 
representatives, as appropriate, in accordance with local protocol and 
procedures. This notice is one component of our overall coordination 
and consultation process to provide notice to, and request comments 
from, these entities when we adjust irrigation assessment rates.

Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use (Executive Order 13211)

    The proposed rate adjustments are not a significant energy action 
under the definition in Executive Order 13211. A Statement of Energy 
Effects is not required.

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Order 12866)

    These proposed rate adjustments are not a significant regulatory 
action and do not need to be reviewed by the Office of Management and 
Budget under Executive Order 12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    These proposed rate adjustments are not a rule for the purposes of 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act because they establish ``a rule of 
particular applicability relating to rates.'' 5 U.S.C. 601(2).

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    These proposed rate adjustments do not impose an unfunded mandate 
on State, local, or tribal governments in the aggregate, or on the 
private sector, of more than $100 million per year. The rule does not 
have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or Tribal 
governments or the private sector. A statement containing the 
information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 
et seq.) is not required.

Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    These proposed rate adjustments do not effect a taking of private 
property or otherwise have ``takings'' implications under Executive 
Order 12630. The proposed rate adjustments do not deprive the public, 
state, or local governments of rights or property.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    Under the criteria in section 1 of Executive Order 13132, these 
proposed rate adjustments do not have sufficient federalism 
implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact 
statement because they will not affect the States, the relationship 
between the national government and the States, or the distribution of 
power and responsibilities among various levels of government. A 
federalism summary impact statement is not required.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    This notice complies with the requirements of Executive Order 
12988. Specifically, in issuing this notice, the Department has taken 
the necessary steps to eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity, 
minimize potential litigation, and provide a clear legal standard for 
affected conduct, as required by section 3 of Executive Order 12988.

[[Page 51936]]

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    These proposed rate adjustments do not affect the collections of 
information which have been approved by the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The OMB Control Number is 1076-0141 
and expires June 30, 2019.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The Department has determined that these proposed rate adjustments 
do not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the 
quality of the human environment and that no detailed statement is 
required under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 

    Dated: August 1, 2016.
Lawrence S. Roberts,
Principal Deputy Secretary--Indian Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2016-18642 Filed 8-4-16; 8:45 am]