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H. R. 3267

One Hundred Fifth Congress

of the

United States of America

AT THE SECOND SESSION

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the twenty-seventh day of January, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight
An Act
To direct the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Reclamation, to conduct a feasibility study and construct a project to reclaim the Salton Sea, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) SHORT TITLE. - This Act may be cited as the ''Salton Sea Reclamation Act of 1998''.

(b) TABLE OF CONTENTS. - The table of contents of this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Definitions.

TITLE I-SALTON SEA FEASIBILITY STUDY

Sec. 101. Salton Sea Feasibility study authorization.
Sec. 102. Concurrent wildlife resources studies.
Sec. 103. Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge renamed as Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge.

 

TITLE II-EMERGENCY ACTION TO IMPROVE WATER QUALITY IN THE ALAMO RIVER AND NEW RIVER

 

Sec. 201. Alamo River and New River irrigation drainage water.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) The term ''Committees'' means the Committee on Resources and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Committee on Environmental and Public Works of the Senate.

(2) The term ''Salton Sea Authority'' means the Joint Powers Authority by that name established under the laws of the State of California by a Joint Power Agreement signed on June 2, 1993.

(3) The term ''Secretary'' means the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Reclamation.

 

TITLE I - SALTON SEA FEASIBILITY STUDY

SEC. 101. SALTON SEA FEASIBILITY STUDY AUTHORIZATION.

(a) IN GENERAL.- No later than January 1, 2000, the Secretary, in accordance with this section, shall complete all feasibility studies and cost analyses for the options set forth in subsection (b)(2)(A) necessary for Congress to fully evaluate such options.

(b) FEASIBILITY STUDY. -

  (1) IN GENERAL. -

 

  (A) The Secretary shall complete all studies, including, but not limited to environmental and other reviews, of the feasibility and benefit-cost of various options that permit the continued use of the Salton Sea as a reservoir for irrigation drainage and: (i) reduce and stabilize the overall salinity of the Salton Sea; (ii) stabilize the surface elevation of the Salton Sea; (iii) reclaim, in the long term, healthy fish and wildlife resources and their habitats; and (iv) enhance the potential for recreational uses and economic development of the Salton Sea.

  (B) Based solely on whatever information is available at the time of submission of the report, the Secretary shall: (i) identify any options he deems economically feasible and cost effective; (ii) identify an additional information necessary to develop construction specifications; and (iii) submit any recommendations, along with the results of the study to the Committees no later than January 1, 2000.

 

  (C)(i) The Secretary shall carry out the feasibility study in accordance with a memorandum of understanding entered into by the Secretary, the Salton Sea Authority, and the Governor of California.

  (ii) The memorandum of understanding shall, at a minimum, establish criteria for evaluation and selection of options under subparagraph (2)(A), including criteria for determining benefit and the magnitude and practicability of costs of construction, operation, and maintenance of each option evaluated.

 

  (2) OPTIONS TO BE CONSIDERED. - Options considered in the feasibility study -
(A) shall consist of, but need not be limited to -

  (i) use of impoundments to segregate a portion of the water of the Salton Sea in one or more evaporation ponds located in the Salton Sea basin;
  (ii) pumping water out of the Salton Sea;
  (iii) augmented flows of water into the Salton Sea;
  (iv) a combination of the options referred to in clauses (i), (ii), and (iii); and
  (v) any other economically feasible remediation option the Secretary considers appropriate and for which feasibility analyses and cost estimates can be completed by January 1, 2000;

(B) shall be limited to proven technologies; and

(C) shall not include any option that -

  (i) relies on the importation of any new or additional water from the Colorado River; or
  (ii) is inconsistent with the provisions of subsection (c).

  (3) ASSUMPTIONS. - In evaluating options, the Secretary shall apply assumptions regarding water inflows into the Salton Sea Basin that encourage water conservation, account for transfers of water out of the Salton Sea Basin, and are based on a maximum likely reduction in inflows into the Salton Sea Basin which could be 800,000 acre-feet or less per year.

  (4) CONSIDERATION OF COSTS. - In evaluating the feasibility of options, the Secretary shall consider the ability of Federal, tribal, State and local government sources and private sources to fund capital construction costs and annual operation, maintenance, energy, and replacement costs and shall set forth the basis for any cost sharing allocations as well as anticipated repayment, if any, of Federal contributions.

(c) RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LAW. -

  (1) RECLAMATION LAWS. - Activities authorized by this Act shall not be subject to the Act of June 17, 1902 (32 Stat. 388; 43 U.S.C. 391 et seq.), and Acts amendatory thereof and supplemental thereto. Amounts expended for those activities shall be considered nonreimbursable for purposes of those laws and shall not be considered to be a supplemental or additional benefit for purposes of the Reclamation Reform Act of 1982 (96 Stat. 1263; 43 U.S.C. 390aa et seq.).

  (2) PRESERVATION OF RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE COLORADO RIVER. - This Act shall not be considered to supersede or otherwise affect any treaty, law, decree, contract, or agreement governing use of water from the Colorado River. All activities taken under this Act must be carried out in a manner consistent with rights and obligations of persons under those treaties, laws, decrees, contracts, and agreements.

SEC. 102. CONCURRENT WILDLIFE RESOURCES STUDIES.

  (a) IN GENERAL. - The Secretary shall provide for the conduct, concurrently with the feasibility study under section 101(b), of studies of hydrology, wildlife pathology, and toxicology relating to wildlife resources of the Salton Sea by Federal and non-Federal entities.

  (b) SELECTION OF TOPICS AND MANAGEMENT OF STUDIES. -

  (1) IN GENERAL. - The Secretary shall establish a committee to be known as the ''Salton Sea Research Management Committee''. The committee shall select the topics of studies under this section and manage those studies.

  (2) MEMBERSHIP. - The committee shall consist of the following five members:

(A) The Secretary.
(B) The Governor of California.
(C) The Executive Director of the Salton Sea Authority.
(D) The Chairman of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Tribal Government.
(E) The Director of the California Water Resources Center.

  (c) COORDINATION. - The Secretary shall require that studies under this section are coordinated through the Science Subcommittee which reports to the Salton Sea Research Management Committee. In addition to the membership provided for by the Science Subcommittee's charter, representatives shall be invited from the University of California, Riverside; the University of Redlands; San Diego State University; the Imperial Valley College; and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

  (d) PEER REVIEW. - The Secretary shall require that studies under this section are subjected to peer review.

  (e) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. - For wildlife resources studies under this section there are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary, through accounts within the Fish and Wildlife Service, exclusively, $5,000,000.

  (f ) ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT. - The committee, and its activities, are not subject to the Federal Advisory Commission Act (5 U.S.C. App.).

SEC. 103. SALTON SEA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE RENAMED AS SONNY BONO SALTON SEA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE.

  (a) REFUGE RENAMED. - The Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, located in Imperial County, California, is hereby renamed and shall be known as the ''Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge''.

  (b) REFERENCES. - Any reference in any statute, rule, regulation, Executive order, publication, map, or paper or other document of the United States to the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge is deemed to refer to the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge.

TITLE II&emdash;EMERGENCY ACTION TO IMPROVE WATER QUALITY IN THE ALAMO RIVER AND NEW RIVER

SEC. 201. ALAMO RIVER AND NEW RIVER IRRIGATION DRAINAGE WATER.

  (a) RIVER ENHANCEMENT. -
  (1) IN GENERAL. - The Secretary is authorized and directed to promptly conduct research and construct river reclamation and wetlands projects to improve water quality in the Alamo River and New River, Imperial County, California, by treating water in those rivers and irrigation drainage water that flows into those rivers.

  (2) ACQUISITIONS. - The Secretary may acquire equipment, real property from willing sellers, and interests in real property (including site access) from willing sellers as needed to implement actions under this section if the State of California, a political subdivision of the State, or Desert Wildlife Unlimited has entered into an agreement with the Secretary under which the State, subdivision, or Desert Wildlife Unlimited, respectively, will, effective 1 year after the date that systems for which the acquisitions are made are operational and functional -

(A) accept all right, title, and interest in and to the equipment, property, or interests; and
(B) assume responsibility for operation and maintenance of the equipment, property, or interests.

  (3) TRANSFER OF TITLE. - Not later than 1 year after the date a system developed under this section is operational and functional, the Secretary shall transfer all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to all equipment, property, and interests acquired for the system in accordance with the applicable agreement under paragraph (2).

  (4) MONITORING AND OTHER ACTIONS. - The Secretary shall establish a long-term monitoring program to maximize the effectiveness of any wetlands developed under this title and may implement other actions to improve the efficacy of actions implemented pursuant to this section.

  (b) COOPERATION. - The Secretary shall implement subsection (a) in cooperation with Desert Wildlife Unlimited, the Imperial Irrigation District, California, and other interested persons.

  (c) FEDERAL WATER POLLUTION CONTROL. - Water withdrawn solely for the purpose of a wetlands project to improve water quality under subsection (a)(1), when returned to the Alamo River or New River, shall not be required to meet water quality standards under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.).

  (d) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. - For river reclamation and other irrigation drainage water treatment actions under this section, there are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary $3,000,000.

 

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate.