S. 990 would reauthorize through 2033 a program to aid the recovery of threatened and endangered species in the Platte River basin. The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) operates that program (which will expire at the end of fiscal year 2020) in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the states of Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. The bill would authorize the appropriation of $78 million (plus whatever amounts are necessary to account for inflation) for that program. Over the past 13 years, as part of that program, the federal government and states have implemented several elements of a jointly developed plan; however, 2 of 10 milestones outlined in the plan remain outstanding.
The bill does not specify the year in which any appropriation should be provided so CBO has estimated the necessary amounts for each year using information from BOR. Using historical spending patterns for the program, CBO estimates that implementing S. 990 would cost $23 million over the 2020-2024 period and about $75 million after 2024. Total estimated costs are greater than the specified $78 million because of the authorized adjustments for inflation. That spending would be subject to appropriation of the necessary amounts.
The costs of the legislation, detailed in Table 1, fall within budget function 300 (natural resources and environment).
CBO expects that the governors of Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming will sign an agreement with the Secretary of Interior extending the program before the end of 2019. However, because that agreement is not yet fully executed, S. 990 would impose an intergovernmental mandate as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) by requiring the three states to match the $78 million federal contribution to fund the extension of the program. The states would be required to contribute $28 million in cash (adjusted annually for inflation), and may elect to provide the balance in water, land, or other goods and services necessary to implement the program. CBO estimates the annual cost of the mandate would fall below the intergovernmental threshold established in UMRA ($82 million in 2019, adjusted annually for inflation).
S. 990 contains no private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.