H.R. 4027: To clarify authority granted under the Act entitled An Act to define the exterior boundary of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation in the State of Utah, and for other purposes

H.R. 4027

To clarify authority granted under the Act entitled An Act to define the exterior boundary of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation in the State of Utah, and for other purposes

Sponsor
Sen. Bernard Sanders

Date
June 18, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, June 18, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 4027 under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority for approval. The bill was introduced on February 14, 2012, by Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which held a mark up and reported the bill by unanimous consent on April 25, 2012.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4027 would authorize the exchange of subsurface mineral rights between the federal government, which administers the land in trust for the Uintah and Ouray Indian Tribes, and the State of Utah. The bill would authorize the exchange of mineral rights on 18,000 acres of land within the “Hill Creek Extension” of Uintah and Ouray Indian reservation which is owned by the federal government for 18,000 acres of mineral rights on land owned by the state of Utah's School and Institutional Trust Land Administration (SITLA). Under the bill, the state-relinquished subsurface estate in the southern area would be held in trust for the Tribe, while the state-acquired subsurface in the northern area would be leased for oil and gas development.

In order to resolve concerns over the relative values of the exchange, the legislation would reserve to the federal government and the State of Utah identical overriding financial interests in each other’s exchanged lands. Specifically, the bill reserves to the federal government 50 percent of bonus bids and rentals from leasing of the mineral resources obtained by the state, a 6.25 percent overriding royalty on the gross proceeds of oil and gas production, and a 50 percent overriding royalty on the gross proceeds of production of minerals other than oil and gas, equal to 50 percent of the royalty rate established by the Secretary of the Interior. The state would also obtain equal overriding financial interests in that portion of the mineral estate it relinquishes to the federal government for the benefit of the Tribe.

Background

According to the House Report 112-509, in 1948, Congress added 510,000 acres of public domain known as the “Hill Creek Extension” to Utah’s Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation to protect tribal grazing rights. In making this addition to the Indian Reservation, the federal government retained the subsurface rights to lands held in trust for the Tribe, while Utah retained 38,000 acres of land it previously acquired. The state lands in the Hill Creek Extension are administered by SITLA for the benefit of K-12 schools and other State institutions. Today, Utah wishes to relinquish 18,000 acres of subsurface in the remote, southern portion of the Hill Creek Extension to the federal government for the benefit of the Tribe, in exchange for 18,000 acres of subsurface in the northern (Uintah County) area of the Extension.

Cost

According to CBO, “the legislation would have no significant impact on the federal budget over the 2013-2022 period.”