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H.R. 2130 (114th): Red River Private Property Protection Act

The text of the bill below is as of Nov 4, 2015 (Reported by House Committee).


IB

Union Calendar No. 248

114th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2130

[Report No. 114–327]

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

April 30, 2015

(for himself, Mr. Carter of Texas, Mr. McCaul, and Mr. Gohmert) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources

November 4, 2015

Additional sponsors: Mr. Sessions, Mr. Farenthold, Mr. Ratcliffe, and Mr. Sam Johnson of Texas

November 4, 2015

Reported with an amendment, committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, and ordered to be printed

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

For text of introduced bill, see copy of bill as introduced on April 30, 2015


A BILL

To provide legal certainty to property owners along the Red River in Texas, and for other purposes.


1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Red River Private Property Protection Act.

2.

Disclaimer and outdated surveys

(a)

In general

The Secretary disclaims any right, title, and interest to the land located south of the South Bank boundary line in the affected area.

(b)

Clarification of prior surveys

Surveys conducted by the Bureau of Land Management before the date of the enactment of this Act shall have no force or effect in determining the South Bank boundary line.

3.

Survey of South Bank boundary line

(a)

Survey required

To identify the South Bank boundary line in the affected area, the Secretary shall commission a survey. The survey shall—

(1)

adhere to the gradient boundary survey method;

(2)

span the entire length of the affected area;

(3)

be conducted by Licensed State Land Surveyors chosen by the Texas General Land Office, in consultation with the Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office;

(4)

be completed not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act; and

(5)

not be submitted to the Bureau of Land Management for approval.

(b)

Approval of the survey

After the survey is completed, the Secretary shall submit the survey to be approved by the Texas General Land Office, in consultation with the Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office.

(c)

Surveys of individual parcels

(1)

In general

Parcels surveyed as required by this section shall be surveyed and approved on an individual basis by the Texas General Land Office, in consultation with the Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office.

(2)

Surveys of individual parcels not submitted to the Bureau of Land Management

Surveys of individual parcels shall not be submitted to the Bureau of Land Management for approval.

(d)

Notice

(1)

Notification to the Secretary

Not later than 30 days after a survey for a parcel is approved by the Texas General Land Office under subsection (c), such office shall provide to the Secretary the following:

(A)

Notice of the approval of such survey.

(B)

A copy of such survey and field notes relating to such parcel.

(2)

Notification to adjacent landowners

Not later than 30 days after the date on which the Secretary receives notification relating to a parcel under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall provide to landowners adjacent to such parcel the following:

(A)

Notice of the approval of such survey.

(B)

A copy of such survey and field notes relating to such parcel.

(C)

Notice that the landowner may file an appeal under section 4.

(D)

Notice that the landowner may apply for a patent under section 5.

(E)

Any additional information considered appropriate by the Secretary.

4.

Appeal

Not later than 1 year after the date on which a landowner receives notification under section 3(d)(2), a landowner who claims to hold right, title, or interest in the affected area may appeal the determination of the survey to an administrative law judge of the Department of the Interior.

5.

Red River surface rights

(a)

Notification of application period for patents

(1)

In general

On the date that is 18 months after the date on which the Secretary receives notification relating to a parcel under section 3(d)(1), the Secretary shall determine whether such parcel is subject to appeal.

(2)

Parcel not subject to appeal

Not later than 30 days after the date on which the Secretary determines a parcel is not subject to appeal, the Secretary shall—

(A)

notify landowners adjacent to such parcel that the Secretary shall accept applications for patents for that parcel under subsection (b) for a period of 210 days; and

(B)

begin accepting applications for patents for that parcel under subsection (b) for a period of 210 days.

(3)

Parcel subject to appeal

If the Secretary determines a parcel is subject to appeal, the Secretary shall, not less than once every 6 months, check the status of the appeals relating to such parcel, until the Secretary determines such parcel is not subject to appeal.

(b)

Patents for lands in the affected area

If the Secretary receives an application for a patent for a parcel of identified Federal lands during the period for applications for such parcel under subsection (a)(2)(B) and determines that the parcel has been held in good faith and in peaceful adverse possession by an applicant, or the ancestors or grantors of such applicant, for more than 20 years under claim (including through a State land grant or deed or color of title), the Secretary may issue a patent for the surface rights to such parcel to the applicant, on the payment of $1.25 per acre, if the patent includes the following conditions:

(1)

All minerals contained in the parcel are reserved to the United States and subject to sale or disposal by the United States under applicable leasing and mineral land laws.

(2)

Permittees, lessees, or grantees of the United States have the right to enter the parcel for the purpose of prospecting for and mining deposits.

(c)

Pending requests for patents

The Secretary shall not offer a parcel of identified Federal land for purchase under section 6 if a patent request for that parcel is pending under this section.

6.

Right of refusal and competitive sale

(a)

Right of refusal

(1)

Offers to purchase

After the expiration of the period for applications under section 5(a)(2)(B), the Secretary shall offer for purchase for a period of 60 days for each right of refusal—

(A)

the surface rights to the remaining identified Federal lands located north of the vegetation line of the South Bank to—

(i)

the adjacent owner of land located in Oklahoma to the north with the first right of refusal;

(ii)

if applicable, the adjacent owner of land located in Texas to the south with the second right of refusal;

(iii)

if applicable, the adjacent owner of land located to the east with the third right of refusal; and

(iv)

if applicable, the adjacent owner of land located to the west with the fourth right of refusal; and

(B)

the surface rights to the remaining identified Federal lands located south of the vegetation line of the South Bank to—

(i)

the adjacent owner of land located in Texas to the south with the first right of refusal;

(ii)

if applicable, the adjacent owner of land located in Oklahoma to the north with the second right of refusal;

(iii)

if applicable, the adjacent owner of land located to the east with the third right of refusal; and

(iv)

if applicable, the adjacent owner of land located to the west with the fourth right of refusal.

(2)

Remaining identified Federal lands defined

In this subsection, the term remaining identified Federal lands means any parcel of identified Federal lands—

(A)

not subject to appeal under section 4;

(B)

not determined by an administrative law judge of the Department of the Interior or a Federal court to be the property of an adjacent landowner; and

(C)

not patented or subject to a pending request for a patent under section 5.

(b)

Disposal by competitive sale

If a parcel offered under subsection (a) is not purchased, the Secretary shall offer the parcel for disposal by competitive sale for not less than fair market value as determined by an appraisal conducted in accordance with nationally recognized appraisal standards, including the Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.

(c)

Conditions of sale

The sale of a parcel under this section shall be subject to—

(1)

the condition that all minerals contained in the parcel are reserved to the United States and subject to sale or disposal by the United States under applicable leasing and mineral land laws;

(2)

the condition that permittees, lessees, or grantees of the United States have the right to enter the parcel for the purpose of prospecting for and mining deposits; and

(3)

valid existing State, tribal, and local rights.

(d)

Report

Not later than 5 years after the date on which the survey is approved, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate a list of the parcels of identified Federal lands that have not been sold under subsection (b) and a description of the reasons such parcels were not sold.

7.

Resource management plan

The Secretary may not treat a parcel of identified Federal lands as Federal land for the purposes of a resource management plan if the treatment of such parcel does not comply with the provisions of this Act.

8.

Construction

(a)

Lands located north of the South Bank boundary line

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to modify the interest of Texas or Oklahoma or sovereignty rights of any federally recognized Indian tribe over lands located to the north of the South Bank boundary line as established by the survey.

(b)

Patents under the Color of Title Act

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to modify land patented under the Act of December 22, 1928 (Public Law 70–645; 45 Stat. 1069; 43 U.S.C. 1068; commonly known as the Color of Title Act), before the date of the enactment of this Act.

(c)

Red River Boundary Compact

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to modify the Red River Boundary Compact as enacted by the States of Texas and Oklahoma and consented to by the United States Congress by Public Law 106–288 (114 Stat. 919).

9.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Affected area

The term affected area means lands along the approximately 116-mile stretch of the Red River from its confluence with the North Fork of the Red River on the west to the 98th meridian on the east between the States of Texas and Oklahoma.

(2)

Gradient boundary survey method

The term gradient boundary survey method means the measurement technique used to locate the South Bank boundary line under the methodology established in Oklahoma v. Texas, 261 U.S. 340 (1923) (recognizing that the boundary line between the States of Texas and Oklahoma along the Red River is subject to change due to erosion and accretion).

(3)

Identified Federal lands

The term identified Federal lands means the lands in the affected area from the South Bank boundary line north to the medial line of the Red River as identified pursuant to this Act.

(4)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the Bureau of Land Management.

(5)

South Bank

The term South Bank means the water-washed and relatively permanent elevation or acclivity, commonly called a cut bank, along the southerly or right side of the Red River which separates its bed from the adjacent upland, whether valley or hill, and usually serves to confine the waters within the bed and to preserve the course of the river (as specified in the fifth paragraph of Oklahoma v. Texas, 261 U.S. 340 (1923)).

(6)

South bank boundary line

The term South Bank boundary line means the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma identified through the gradient boundary survey method (as specified in the sixth and seventh paragraphs of Oklahoma v. Texas, 261 U.S. 340 (1923)).

(7)

Survey

The term survey means the survey required by section 3(a).

(8)

Vegetation line

The term vegetation line means the visually identifiable continuous line of vegetation that is adjacent to the portion of the riverbed kept practically bare of vegetation by the natural flow of the river and is continuous with the vegetation beyond the riverbed.

November 4, 2015

Reported with an amendment, committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, and ordered to be printed