Republican News

Republican News

Washington, D.C. – The United States Senate this afternoon passed by unanimous consent nine bills sponsored or cosponsored by Senate Energy & Natural Resources Chairman Pete V. Domenici. Eight of the bills benefit New Mexico’s environment, natural resources and cultural, scientific and historic heritage. The ninth honors retiring U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-CO. Chairman Pete V. Domenici’s statement: “I am pleased the Senate today passed several bills critical to preserving New Mexico’s environment, history, culture and natural resources. The Senate this afternoon passed a bill that helps preserve New Mexico’s critical contribution to America’s atomic and nuclear development as well as the conclusion of World War II. “We passed a bill that creates the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area to preserve and promote the unique historic and cultural resources in the Sante Fe and Taos regions. “Perhaps most importantly, the Senate passed several bills that help New Mexico conserve and maximize its limited water resources. Conserving and finding innovative ways to expand New Mexico’s water resources has been and will continue to be one of my top priorities. I am delighted with every federal bill that assists my state in water endeavors vital to our future prosperity. ” The approved bills are: S. 211 - A bill to establish the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area in the State of New Mexico in the counties of Sante Fe, Rio Arriba and Taos. The bill authorizes up to $1 million a year for 15 years, not to exceed a total of $10 million, for the preservation and promotion of the natural, historic and cultural resources in the area. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, is the original sponsor. S. 1582 - A bill to amend the Valles Caldera Preservation Act to improve the preservation of the Valles Caldera, and for other purposes. The bill directs the Secretary of Agriculture to negotiate a price for buying the remaining mineral interests at the Preserve. If negotiations are unsuccessful, the matter would be directed to federal court. The Department of Agriculture would use available funds to acquire the mineral interests, unless the court set a higher price, in which case the difference would be paid from the judgment fund. S. 1687 - A bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study on the preservation and interpretation of the historic sites of the Manhattan Project for potential inclusion in the National Park System. Sites to be studied include Department of Energy sites at Los Alamos, NM; Oakridge, TN; and Hanford, WA. The bill authorizes the appropriation of sums necessary, estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to be approximately $250,000. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, is the original sponsor. S. 1791 - A bill to amend the Lease Lot Conveyance Act of 2002 to provide that the amounts received by the United States under that Act shall be deposited in the reclamation fund on behalf of the Rio Grande Project and immediately made available to irrigation districts as credit toward operation and maintenance expenses. S. 1727- A bill to authorize additional appropriations for the Reclamation Safety of Dams Act of 1978. The bill assures project beneficiaries a seat at the table when Department of Interior determines that a construction modification is necessary. The project beneficiaries have an opportunity to consult with the Bureau on a proposed dam modification. The project beneficiaries may offer modification alternatives for the Secretary to consider and the Secretary will respond in writing to the proposal. The Secretary can waive these consultation requirements for safety and/or security reasons. S. 1957 - A bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to cooperate with the States on the border with Mexico and other appropriate entities in conducting a hydrogeologic characterization, mapping, and modeling program for priority transboundary aquifers, and for other purposes. The bill authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to establish a 10-year United States- Mexico transboundary aquifer assessment program to characterize, map, and model priority transboundary aquifers through a partnership with the Water Resources Research Institutes in the four border states. Aquifers to be characterized are prioritized based on the extent of fresh and saline resources, proximity to population centers, and extent of threat of contamination. Existing data and new data collection would be utilized. Partnerships with States, local water authorities and other groups including Mexican partners are required. S. 1957 authorizes $50 million to be appropriated for fiscal years 2005 through 2014. In addition, the Secretary is required to submit an interim and final report to the border states’ water resource agencies. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, is the original sponsor. S. 2460 - A bill to provide assistance to the State of New Mexico for the development of comprehensive State water plans, and for other purposes with an amendment in the nature of a substitute which adjusted non-federal cost share to 50% and designated that in-kind services shall be credited to non-federal contribution. S. 2508- A bill to redesignate the Ridges Basin Reservoir, Colorado, as Lake Nighthorse to honoring retiring U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell. S. 2511 - A bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a feasibility study of a Chimayo water supply system to provide for the planning, design, and construction of a water supply, reclamation, and filtration facility for Espanola, New Mexico.