Visit Arches and discover a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures unlike any other in the world. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks. This red rock wonderland will amaze you with its formations, refresh you with its trails, and inspire you with its sunsets.
A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Denali is six million acres of wild land, bisected by one ribbon of road. Travelers along it see the relatively low-elevation taiga forest give way to high alpine tundra and snowy mountains, culminating in North America's tallest peak, 20,310' Denali. Wild animals large and small roam un-fenced lands, living as they have for ages. Solitude, tranquility and wilderness await.
H.R. 2085 - River Restoration and Pipeline Conveyance Bills
Statement of Robert W. Johnson
Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation
U.S.Department of the Interior
Subcommittee on Water and Power,
Committee on Natural Resources
U.S.House of Representatives
To Authorize the Secretary of the Interior to Convey Title to
Certain Lands and Facilities of the McGee Creek Project
September 18, 2007
Madam Chairwoman and members of the Subcommittee, I am Robert W. Johnson, Commissioner for the Bureau of Reclamation. I am pleased to appear before this Subcommittee to provide testimony on H.R. 2085, legislation to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to convey certain lands and facilities of the McGee Creek Project in Oklahoma to the McGee Creek Authority. The Administration supports this bill and we thank the committee for considering it today.
The Department of the Interior has an active title transfer program and supports transferring ownership of certain Reclamation project facilities to non-Federal entities. Initial discussions on this transfer began in 1997, and Reclamation and the McGee Creek Authority have been working collaboratively to lay the groundwork for this title transfer since that time. Reclamation and the Authority entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in 1998 for the purpose of defining the activities and responsibilities necessary to move forward with the proposed transfer. Before the transfer could be finalized and the necessary legislation could be proposed, the agreement expired in September 2002. In 2006, the Authority again expressed interest in the transfer and in April of that year, a new MOA was executed.
Through cooperative efforts with the Authority, all elements required by Reclamation for title transfer have been successfully addressed for the McGee Creek project. The Authority has provided funding for Reclamation to complete the necessary environmental, legal, and historic preservation documentation for this transfer, including a Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact, concurrence from the State Historic Preservation Officer, a hazardous materials clearance, and conveyance documents.
The costs of the lands, buildings and facilities to be transferred have already been repaid pursuant to the Authority's original repayment contract. All of the lands to be transferred were acquired by Reclamation when the project was built and the original repayment contract incorporated acquisition costs together with the costs associated with the construction of the project facilities and associated easements, lands and buildings. There are no ongoing revenue streams associated with these lands and facilities. As such, no additional payment for this transfer is required.
In addition, this title transfer protects the financial interest of the United States. Transferring title to these facilities will reduce a number of administrative burdens on Reclamation including periodic facility reviews that are currently required because it is a Reclamation owned facility, and the processing of paperwork that currently consumes significant staff time. It will also ensure that long term responsibility for the operation, maintenance, management, and regulation, as well as liability, for the transferred lands and facilities will rest with the Authority.
Again, we support passage of H.R. 2085 and thank the subcommittee for holding this hearing. It reflects a cooperative and cost effective process that will provide a benefit to the Authority and Reclamation.
This concludes my testimony and I would be pleased to answer any questions.