H.R. 2273, To amend the Colorado River Storage Project Act to Authorize the Use of the Active Capacity of the Fontenelle Reservoir

H.R. 2273

To amend the Colorado River Storage Project Act to Authorize the Use of the Active Capacity of the Fontenelle Reservoir

Date
January 1, 1970 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Robert Goad

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, July 5, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 2273, to amend the Colorado River Storage Project Act to Authorize the Use of the Active Capacity of the Fontenelle Reservoir, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 2273 was introduced on May 12, 2015 by Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which ordered the bill reported by unanimous consent on February 3, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 2273 amends the Colorado River Storage Project Act of 1956 by authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to enter into a cooperative agreement with the State of Wyoming to provide for the study, design, planning, and construction of modifications that would enable the full use of the Fontenelle Dam and Reservoir’s active storage capacity.

Background

The Colorado River (River) is a major source of water supply for Wyoming and six other western states. The River is governed under the so-called `’Law of the River,’ which is comprised of numerous federal laws, state compacts and agreements.[1] The seven Colorado River Basin states and the federal government negotiated the Colorado River Compact of 1922, which defined the relationship between the upper basin states, where most of the River’s water supply originates, and the lower basin states, which held most of the water demands.[2] Since the seven states could not agree on how the waters of the Colorado River Basin should be allocated among them, then Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover suggested the basin be divided into an upper and lower half, with each basin having the right to develop 7.5 million acre-feet (maf) annually of river water.[3]

The Upper Colorado River Basin Compact of 1948 apportioned the upper basin’s 7.5 maf among Colorado (51.75 percent), New Mexico (11.25 percent), Utah (23 percent), and Wyoming (14 percent).[4]

Fontenelle Dam and Reservoir is the principal feature of the federal Seedskadee Project in southwest Wyoming.[5] The current active storage capacity of the Reservoir is 260,000 acre feet. Wyoming has proposed expanding the active storage capacity of the Reservoir to 345,000 acre feet. Increasing active storage capacity at the Reservoir requires the installation of large stones, also known as `riprap,’ on parts of the upstream face of the earthen Dam.[6] These stones keep water from eroding parts of the upstream face of the Dam.

In Addition, Wyoming would be responsible for funding the project.

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[1] See House Report 114-450
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.
[6] Id.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing this legislation would have an insignificant effect on the budget.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Robert Goad with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1831.