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H.R. 5412 (113th): Bureau of Reclamation Surface Water Storage Streamlining Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

9/8/2014--Introduced. Bureau of Reclamation Surface Water Storage Streamlining Act - Sets forth provisions governing feasibility studies for surface water storage projects initiated by the Secretary of the Interior under the Reclamation Act of 1902 (project studies).

Requires a project study initiated after enactment of this Act to: (1) result in the completion of a final feasibility report within three years; (2) have a maximum federal cost of $3 million; and (3) ensure that personnel from the local project area, region, and headquarters levels of the Bureau of Reclamation concurrently conduct the required review. Sets forth factors for extending such time line for complex projects.

Requires the Secretary, within 90 days after the initiation of a project study, to: (1) initiate the process for completing reviews, including environmental reviews, required to be completed as part of such study; (2) convene a meeting of federal, tribal, and state agencies required to act; and (3) provide information that will enable required reviews and analyses to be conducted by other agencies in a thorough and timely manner.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) expedite the completion of any ongoing project study initiated before the enactment of this Act; and (2) proceed directly to preconstruction planning, engineering, and design of a project the Secretary determines is justified.

Sets forth requirements applicable to project studies initiated after enactment of this Act for which an environmental impact statement is prepared under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Requires the Secretary to:

annually prepare a list of all such studies that do not have adequate funding for study completion; develop and implement a coordinated environmental review process for the development of such studies; identify, as early as practicable in such process, all federal, state, and local government agencies and Indian tribes that have jurisdiction and that are required to act, which the federal lead agency shall invite to become participating or cooperating agencies; issue guidance regarding the use of programmatic approaches to carry out the environmental review process; and establish an electronic database and issue reporting requirements to make publicly available the status and progress with respect to compliance with applicable NEPA requirements and any other federal, state, or local approval or action required for a project study. Sets forth the authorities and responsibilities of the joint lead agency, which may be a project sponsor, and the federal lead agency in the environmental review process, including: (1) the preparation and use of environmental documents; (2) establishing a plan for coordinating public and agency participation; (3) working with cooperating and participating agencies to identify and resolve issues that could delay process completion or result in the denial of any approval required for the project study; and (4) establishing, upon request, memoranda of agreement with the project sponsor, Indian tribes, and state and local governments to carry out the early coordination activities.

Requires a federal jurisdictional agency to complete any required approval or decision for the environmental review process on an expeditious basis using the shortest existing applicable process. Provides for a reduction of funds for such an agency that fails to render such a decision by a specified deadline.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) survey the use by the Bureau of categorical exclusions in projects since 2005 and propose a new categorical exclusion for a category of activities if merited, and (2) establish a program to measure and report on progress made toward improving and expediting the planning and environmental review process.

Directs the Secretary to develop and submit by February 1 of each year a Report to Congress on Future Surface Water Storage Development that identifies the costs and benefits of, the non-federal interests associated with, and the support for project reports, proposed project studies, and proposed modifications to authorized surface water storage projects and project studies that are related to the missions and authorities of the Bureau, that require specific congressional authorization, that have not been congressionally authorized, that have not been included in any previous annual report, and that, if authorized, could be carried out by the Bureau.