S. 611, Sandia Pueblo Settlement Technical Amendment Act

S. 611

Sandia Pueblo Settlement Technical Amendment Act

Sponsor
Sen. Tom Udall

Date
May 28, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, May 28, 2014, the House will consider S. 611, the Sandia Pueblo Settlement Technical Amendment Act, under suspension of the rules.  S. 611 was introduced on March 19, 2013 by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and passed the Senate, as amended, by unanimous consent.  S. 611 was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Bill Summary

S. 611amends the T’uf Shur Bien Preservation Trust Area Act to require the Secretary of Agriculture to transfer certain National Forest land to the Secretary of the Interior to be held in trust for the Pueblo if a land exchange with the Pueblo required by the Act is not completed within 30 days of enactment.  The land is required to remain undeveloped in its natural state.  The bill directs the Secretary of the Interior, after the transfer of the National Forest land is complete (and with the consent of the Pueblo), to transfer to the Secretary of Agriculture the Pueblo’s La Luz tract and a conservation easement on its Piedra Lisa tract.  Additionally, S. 611 requires the Secretary of the Interior to grant the Secretary of Agriculture a right-of-way for the Piedra Lisa Trail within the Piedra Lisa Tract.

Background

“The T’uf Shur Bien Preservation Trust Area Act settled the Pueblo of Sandia’s claim to the west face of Sandia Mountain, New Mexico.”[1]  The Act directed the Forest Service to offer a land exchange of 700 acres to the Pueblo under the condition that the land would remain in its natural state and not subject to commercial development.[2]  The Pueblo was to provide compensation to the Forest Service for the transfer.  However, the Forest Service has argued that the land should be appraised without title restrictions because the limitations would take place after the land is conveyed.[3]   As a result, Congress clarified its intent by passing the Sandia Pueblo Land Exchange Technical Amendment in 2009, which provided that the limitations were a “condition of conveyance.”[4]  However, there has been continued confusion about congressional intent on the matter.  S. 611 states that the Pueblo of Sandia, in exchange for the 700 acres, will transfer the 70 acre La Luz Tract to the Forest Service, and agree to a conservation easement and right-of-way on the 160 acre Piedra Lisa parcel.[5]  S. 611 also makes the exchange automatic if it is not completed within 30 days of the bill’s enactment.

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[1] Senate Report 113-136 at 1.
[2] Id. at 1.
[3] Id. at 1-2.
[4] Id. at 2.
[5] Id. at 2.

Cost

According to the CBO estimates, implementing S. 611 would have no significant impact on the federal budget, and would not affect direct spending or revenues.

Additional Information

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