S. 2040, Blackfoot River Land Exchange Act of 2014

S. 2040

Blackfoot River Land Exchange Act of 2014

Sponsor
Sen. Mike Crapo

Date
December 1, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, December 1, 2014, the House will consider S. 2040, the Blackfoot River Land Exchange Act of 2014, under suspension of the rules.  S. 2040 was introduced by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) on February 25, 2014 and was referred to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.  The bill passed the Senate, as amended, by unanimous consent on September 18, 2014.[1]  A companion bill, H.R. 5049, was introduced by Rep. Michael Simpson (R-ID) and was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.  The bill was marked up on September 18, 2014 and was ordered reported by unanimous consent.

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[1] Senate Committee Report 113-242.

Bill Summary

S. 2040 addresses a land dispute caused by the realignment of the Blackfoot River along the boundary of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho by requiring an exchange of Indian lands for non-Indian lands. Specifically, S. 2040 authorizes the federal government to take into trust certain non-Indian lands on behalf of the Shoshone‐Bannock Tribes in Idaho; authorizes the federal government to convey in exchange certain Indian lands; and extinguishes claims that could be asserted by the Tribes against the federal government.

Background

“The Fort Hall Reservation was created by Executive Order in 1867 . . . .  The Executive Order . . . designates the Blackfoot River as the Reservation’s northern boundary.  Following the realignment of the Blackfoot River by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1964, land disputes arose as various tracts of land that had previously been on one side of the River were now on the other.  At issue are 25 parcels of land (approximately 37.04 acres) of Indian land formerly on the southern side of the river now on the northern side and 19 parcels (approximately 31.01 acres) of non-Indian land formerly on the northern side and now on the southern side and within the Reservation’s boundary.  Due to their inaccessibility, the non-Indian lands have remained unused for years.  In the late 1980s, the Snake River Basin Adjudication began decreeing water rights on all streams and rivers within the Snake River Basin in Idaho, which includes the Blackfoot River.  Several non-Indian landowners whose lands were affected by the realignment of the Blackfoot River asserted claims for water rights on Fort Hall Reservation lands.  The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes opposed these claims, which has resulted in litigation still currently pending as part of the Snake River Basin Adjudication.”[2]

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[2] Id. at 1-2.

Cost

According to CBO estimates, implementing S. 2040 would not significantly impact the federal budget.  The bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.