S. 27, Hill Creek Cultural Preservation and Energy Development Act

Cost Estimate
May 31, 2013

As ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on May 16, 2013

S. 27 would authorize a conveyance of mineral rights within the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation in Utah among the state of Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Land Administration (SITLA), the federal government, and the Ute Indian Tribe. SITLA currently owns the subsurface mineral rights to approximately 18,000 acres in the Hill Creek Extension of the reservation; however, the surface rights to that land are held in trust for the Ute Indian Tribe by the federal government. The legislation would authorize SITLA to relinquish to the Ute Indian Tribe its subsurface mineral rights in exchange for the subsurface rights to about 18,000 acres of other land within the Hill Creek Extension owned by the federal government.

CBO estimates that the legislation would have no significant impact on the federal budget over the 2014-2023 period. Enacting S. 27 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.

S. 27 would authorize a transfer of federally owned subsurface mineral rights for an equivalent number of acres of state land. However, the acres transferred may not have the same value because mineral deposits are not evenly spread across all areas. To compensate for such a potential imbalance, S. 27 would preserve a royalty interest in the value of any subsurface minerals that are developed on the transferred properties for the state and the federal governments.

S. 27 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. Enacting the bill would benefit the tribe and state.

On May 9, 2013, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 356, the Hill Creek Cultural Preservation and Energy Development Act, as ordered to be reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources on April 24, 2013. The two bills are similar, and the CBO cost estimates are the same.