Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.
Notice of proposed rate adjustments.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) owns or has an interest in irrigation projects located on or associated with various Indian reservations throughout the United States. We are required to establish irrigation assessment rates to recover the costs to administer, operate, maintain, and rehabilitate these projects. We request your comments on the proposed rate adjustments.
Interested parties may submit comments on the proposed rate adjustments on or before August 10, 2015.
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All comments on the proposed rate adjustments must be in writing and addressed to: Yulan Jin, Chief, Division of Water and Power, Office of Trust Services, Mail Stop 4637-MIB, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240, Telephone (202) 219-0941.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
For details about a particular irrigation project, please use the tables in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section to contact the regional or local office where the project is located.
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The first table in this notice provides contact information for individuals who can give further information about the irrigation projects covered by this notice. The second table provides the current 2014 irrigation assessment rates, the proposed rates for the 2015 irrigation season, and proposed rates for subsequent years where these are available.
What is the meaning of the key terms used in this notice?
In this notice:
Administrative costs means all costs we incur to administer our irrigation projects at the local project level and are a cost factor included in calculating your operation and maintenance assessment. Costs incurred at the local project level do not normally include Agency, Region, or Central Office costs unless we state otherwise in writing.
Assessable acre means lands designated by us to be served by one of our irrigation projects, for which we collect assessments in order to recover costs for the provision of irrigation service. (See total assessable acres.)
BIA means the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Bill means our statement to you of the assessment charges and/or fees you owe the United States for administration, operation, maintenance, and/or rehabilitation. The date we mail or hand-deliver your bill will be stated on it.
Costs means the costs we incur for administration, operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation to provide direct support or benefit to an irrigation facility. (See administrative costs, operation costs, maintenance costs, and rehabilitation costs).
Customer means any person or entity to which we provide irrigation service.
Due date is the date on which your bill is due and payable. This date will be stated on your bill.
I, me, my, you and your means all persons or entities that are affected by this notice.
Irrigation project means a facility or portion thereof for the delivery, diversion, and storage of irrigation water that we own or have an interest in, including all appurtenant works. The term “irrigation project” is used interchangeably with irrigation facility, irrigation system, and irrigation area.
Irrigation service means the full range of services we provide customers of our irrigation projects. This includes our activities to administer, operate, maintain, and rehabilitate our projects in order to deliver water.
Maintenance costs means costs we incur to maintain and repair our irrigation projects and associated equipment and are a cost factor included in calculating your operation and maintenance assessment.
Operation and maintenance (O&M) assessment means the periodic charge you must pay us to reimburse costs of administering, operating, maintaining, and rehabilitating irrigation projects consistent with this notice and our supporting policies, manuals, and handbooks.
Operation or operating costs mean costs we incur to operate our irrigation projects and equipment and are a cost factor included in calculating your O&M assessment.
Past due bill means a bill that has not been paid by the close of business on the 30th day after the due date as stated on the bill. Beginning on the 31st day after the due date, we begin assessing additional charges accruing from the due date.
Rehabilitation costs means costs we incur to restore our irrigation projects or features to original operating condition or to the nearest state which can be achieved using current technology and is a cost factor included in calculating your O&M assessment.
Responsible party means an individual or entity that owns or leases land within the assessable acreage of one of our irrigation projects and is responsible for providing accurate information to our billing office and paying a bill for an annual irrigation rate assessment.
Total assessable acres means the total acres served by one of our irrigation projects.
Water delivery is an activity that is part of the irrigation service we provide our customers when water is available.
We, us, and our means the United States Government, the Secretary of the Interior, the BIA, and all who are authorized to represent us in matters covered under this notice.
Does this notice affect me?
This notice affects you if you own or lease land within the assessable acreage of one of our irrigation projects or if you have a carriage agreement with one of our irrigation projects.
Where can I get information on the regulatory and legal citations in this notice?
You can contact the appropriate office(s) stated in the tables for the irrigation project that serves you, or you can use the Internet site for the Government Publishing Office at http://www.gpo.gov.
Why are you publishing this notice?
We are publishing this notice to notify you that we propose to adjust our irrigation assessment rates. This notice is published in accordance with the BIA's regulations governing its operation and maintenance of irrigation projects, found at 25 CFR part 171. This regulation provides for the establishment and publication of the rates for annual irrigation assessments as well as related information about our irrigation projects.
What authorizes you to issue this notice?
Our authority to issue this notice is vested in the Secretary of the Interior by 5 U.S.C. 301 and the Act of August 14, 1914 (38 Stat. 583; 25 U.S.C. 385). The Secretary has in turn delegated this authority to the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs under Part 209, Chapter 8.1A, of the Department of the Interior's Departmental Manual.
When will you put the rate adjustments into effect?
We will put the rate adjustments into effect for the 2015 irrigation season and subsequent years where applicable.
How do you calculate irrigation rates?
We calculate annual irrigation assessment rates in accordance with 25 CFR part 171.500 by estimating the annual costs of operation and maintenance at each of our irrigation projects and then dividing by the total assessable acres for that particular irrigation project. The result of this calculation for each project is stated in the rate table in this notice.
What kinds of expenses do you consider in determining the estimated annual costs of operation and maintenance?
Consistent with 25 CFR part 171.500, these expenses include the following:
(a) Salary and benefits for the project engineer/manager and project Start Printed Page 33281employees under the project engineer/manager's management or control;
(b) Materials and supplies;
(c) Vehicle and equipment repairs;
(d) Equipment costs, including lease fees;
(f) Acquisition costs;
(g) Maintenance of a reserve fund available for contingencies or emergency costs needed for the reliable operation of the irrigation facility infrastructure;
(h) Maintenance of a vehicle and heavy equipment replacement fund;
(i) Systematic rehabilitation and replacement of project facilities;
(j) Carriage Agreements for the transfer of project water through irrigation facilities owned by others;
(j) Any water storage fees for non BIA-owned reservoirs, as applicable;
(j) Contingencies for unknown costs and omitted budget items; and
(k) Other expenses we determine necessary to properly perform the activities and functions characteristic of an irrigation project.
When should I pay my irrigation assessment?
We will mail or hand-deliver your bill notifying you (a) the amount you owe to the United States and (b) when such amount is due. If we mail your bill, we will consider it as being delivered no later than 5 business days after the day we mail it. You should pay your bill by the due date stated on the bill.
What information must I provide for billing purposes?
All responsible parties are required to provide the following information to the billing office associated with the irrigation project where you own or lease land within the project's assessable acreage or to the billing office associated with the irrigation project with which you have a carriage agreement:
(1) The full legal name of person or entity responsible for paying the bill;
(2) An adequate and correct address for mailing or hand delivering our bill; and
(3) The taxpayer identification number or social security number of the person or entity responsible for paying the bill.
Why are you collecting my taxpayer identification number or social security number?
Public Law 104-134, the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, requires that we collect the taxpayer identification number or social security number before billing a responsible party and as a condition to servicing the account.
What happens if I am a responsible party but I fail to furnish the information required to the billing office responsible for the irrigation project within which I own or lease assessable land or for which I have a carriage agreement?
If you are late paying your bill because of your failure to furnish the required information listed above, you will be assessed interest and penalties as provided below, and your failure to provide the required information will not provide grounds for you to appeal your bill or any penalties assessed.
What can happen if I do not provide the information required for billing purposes?
We can refuse to provide you irrigation service.
If I allow my bill to become past due, could this affect my water delivery?
Yes. 25 CFR 171.545(a) states: “We will not provide you irrigation service until: (1) Your bill is paid; or (2) You make arrangement for payment pursuant to § 171.550 of this part.” If we do not receive your payment before the close of business on the 30th day after the due date stated on your bill, we will send you a past due notice. This past due notice will have additional information concerning your rights. We will consider your past due notice as delivered no later than 5 business days after the day we mail it. We follow the procedures provided in 31 CFR 901.2, “Demand for Payment,” when demanding payment of your past due bill.
Are there any additional charges if I am late paying my bill?
Yes. We will assess you interest on the amount owed, using the rate of interest established annually by the Secretary of the United States Treasury (Treasury) to calculate what you will be assessed . You will not be assessed this charge until your bill is past due. However, if you allow your bill to become past due, interest will accrue from the original due date, not the past due date. Also, you will be charged an administrative fee of $12.50 for each time we try to collect your past due bill. If your bill becomes more than 90 days past due, you will be assessed a penalty charge of 6 percent per year, which will accrue from the date your bill initially became past due. Pursuant to 31 CFR 901.9, “Interest, penalties and administrative costs,” as a Federal agency, we are required to charge interest, penalties, and administrative costs in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 3717
What else will happen to my past due bill?
If you do not pay your bill or make payment arrangements to which we agree, we are required to send your past due bill to the Treasury for further action. Under the provisions of 31 CFR 901.1, “Aggressive agency collection activity,” federal agencies should consider referring debts that are less than 180 days delinquent, and we must send any unpaid annual irrigation assessment bill to Treasury no later than 180 days after the original due date of the bill.
Who can I contact for further information?
The following tables are the regional and project/agency contacts for our irrigation facilities.
|Project name||Project/agency contacts|
|Northwest Region Contacts|
|Stanley Speaks, Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Northwest Regional Office, 911 N.E. 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232-4169, Telephone: (503) 231-6702.|
|Flathead, Irrigation Project||Ernest Moran, Superintendent, Pete Plant, Irrigation Project Manager, P.O. Box 40, Pablo, MT 59855, Telephones: (406) 675-2700 x1300 Superintendent, (406) 745-2661 x2 Project Manager.|
|Fort Hall, Irrigation Project||Randy Thompson, Acting Superintendent, David Bollinger, Irrigation Project Manager, P.O. Box 220, Fort Hall, ID 83203-0220, Telephone: (208) 238-2301 Superintendent.|
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|Wapato, Irrigation Project||Edwin Lewis, Project Administrator, P.O. Box 220, Wapato, WA 98951-0220, Telephone: (509) 877-3155.|
|Rocky Mountain Region Contacts|
|Darryl LaCounte, Acting Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Rocky Mountain Regional Office, 316 North 26th Street, Billings, Montana 59101, Telephone: (406) 247-7943.|
|Blackfeet, Irrigation Project||Thedis Crowe, Acting Superintendent, Greg Tatsey, Irrigation Project Manager, Box 880, Browning, MT 59417, Telephones: (406) 338-7544, Superintendent, (406) 338-7519, Irrigation Project Manager.|
|Crow, Irrigation Project||Vianna Stewart, Superintendent, Vacant, Irrigation Project Manager, P.O. Box 69, Crow Agency, MT 59022, Telephones: (406) 638-2672, Superintendent, (406) 638-2863, Irrigation Project Manager.|
|Fort Belknap, Irrigation Project||Sarah Fallsdown, Acting Superintendent, Vacant, Irrigation Project Manager, (Project operations & management contracted to Tribes), R.R.1, Box 980, Harlem, MT 59526, Telephones: (406) 353-2901, Superintendent, (406) 353-8454, Irrigation Project Manager (Tribal Office).|
|Fort Peck, Irrigation Project||Howard Beemer, Superintendent, Huber Wright, Acting Irrigation Project Manager, P.O. Box 637, Poplar, MT 59255, Telephones: (406) 768-5312, Superintendent, (406) 653-1752, Irrigation Project Manager.|
|Wind River, Irrigation Project||Norma Gourneau, Superintendent, Vacant, Irrigation Project Manager, P.O. Box 158, Fort Washakie, WY 82514, Telephones: (307) 332-7810, Superintendent, (307) 332-2596, Irrigation Project Manager.|
|Southwest Region Contacts|
|William T. Walker, Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southwest Regional Office, 1001 Indian School Road, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87104, Telephone: (505) 563-3100.|
|Pine River, Irrigation Project||Priscilla Bancroft, Acting Superintendent, Vickie Begay, Irrigation Project Manager, P.O. Box 315, Ignacio, CO 81137-0315, Telephones: (970) 563-4511, Superintendent, (970) 563-9484, Irrigation Project Manager.|
|Western Region Contacts|
|Bryan Bowker, Regional Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Western Regional Office, 2600 N. Central Ave., 4th Floor Mailroom, Phoenix, Arizona 85004, Telephone: (602) 379-6600.|
|Colorado River, Irrigation Project||Kellie Youngbear Superintendent, Gary Colvin, Irrigation Project Manager, 12124 1st Avenue, Parker, AZ 85344, Telephone: (928) 669-7111.|
|Duck Valley, Irrigation Project||Joseph McDade, Superintendent, (Project operations & management compacted to Tribes), 2719 Argent Ave., Suite 4, Gateway Plaza, Elko, NV 89801, Telephone: (775) 738-5165, (208) 759-3100, (Tribal Office).|
|Yuma Project, Indian Unit||Irene Herder, Superintendent, 256 South Second Avenue, Suite D, Yuma, AZ 85364, Telephone: (928) 782-1202.|
|San Carlos, Irrigation Project, Indian Works and Joint Works||Ferris Begay, Project Manager, Clarence Begay, Irrigation Manager, 13805 N. Arizona Boulevard, Coolidge, AZ 85128, Telephone: (520) 723-6225.|
|Uintah, Irrigation Project||Bart Stevens Superintendent, Ken Asay, Irrigation System Manager, P.O. Box 130, Fort Duchesne, UT 84026, Telephone: (435) 722-4300, (435) 722-4344.|
|Walker River, Irrigation Project||Marilyn Bitsillie, Acting Superintendent, 311 E. Washington Street, Carson City, NV 89701, Telephone: (775) 887-3500.|
What irrigation assessments or charges are proposed for adjustment by this notice?
The rate table below contains the current rates for all irrigation projects where we recover costs of administering, operating, maintaining, and rehabilitating them. The table also contains the proposed rates for the 2015 season and subsequent years where applicable. An asterisk immediately following the name of the project notes the irrigation projects where rates are proposed for adjustment.
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* Notes irrigation projects where rates are proposed for adjustment.
Note #1—The BIA reassumed Management and Operation of the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project in April 2014. The 2014 and 2015 rates were established by the previous Project Operator and are considered final.Start Printed Page 33286
Note #2—The O&M rate varies yearly based upon the budget submitted by the LeClair District.
Note #3—The O&M rate for the Yuma Project, Indian Unit has two components. The first component is the O&M rate established by the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), the owner and operator of the Project. The BOR rate for 2015 is proposed to be $107/acre. The second component is for the O&M rate established by BIA to cover administrative costs including billing and collections for the Project. The 2015 BIA rate is proposed to be $1.50/acre.
Note #4—The construction water rate schedule proposes the fees assessed for use of irrigation water for non-irrigation purposes.
The final 2015 rate for the SCIP-JW was established by Federal Register Notice on March 6, 2015 (80 FR 12197). This notice proposes the 2016 rate for the SCIP-JW. The Project recommended a rate of $30/acre for FY 2016. However, BIA recently completed a technical report indicating that the deferred maintenance costs for Coolidge Dam will be much higher than originally estimated. Therefore, this notice proposes to retain the $35/acre O&M rate for the Project in order to collect an additional $500,000 for Coolidge Dam deferred maintenance. The Project provided the technical report to the water users for review and comment.
Note #5—The 2015 O&M rate for the San Carlos Irrigation Project—Indian Works has three components. The first component is the O&M rate established by the San Carlos Irrigation Project—Indian Works, the owner and operator of the Project; this rate is proposed to be $45 per acre. The second component is for the O&M rate established by the San Carlos Irrigation Project—Joint Works and is determined to be $35.00 per acre. The third component is the O&M rate established by the San Carlos Irrigation Project Joint Control Board and is proposed to be $6 per acre.
Consultation and Coordination With Tribal Governments (Executive Order 13175)
To fulfill its consultation responsibility to tribes and tribal organizations, BIA communicates, coordinates, and consults on a continuing basis with these entities on issues of water delivery, water availability, and costs of administration, operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of projects that concern them. This is accomplished at the individual irrigation project by Project, Agency, and Regional representatives, as appropriate, in accordance with local protocol and procedures. This notice is one component of our overall coordination and consultation process to provide notice to, and request comments from, these entities when we adjust irrigation assessment rates.
Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (Executive Order 13211)
The rate adjustments will have no adverse effects on energy supply, distribution, or use (including a shortfall in supply, price increases, and increase use of foreign supplies) should the proposed rate adjustments be implemented. This is a notice for rate adjustments at BIA-owned and operated irrigation projects, except for the Fort Yuma Irrigation Project. The Fort Yuma Irrigation Project is owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation with a portion serving the Fort Yuma Reservation.
Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Order 12866)
These rate adjustments are not a significant regulatory action and do not need to be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
These rate adjustments are not a rule for the purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act because they establish “a rule of particular applicability relating to rates.” 5 U.S.C. 601(2).
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
These rate adjustments do not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments in the aggregate, or on the private sector, of more than $130 million per year. The rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. Therefore, the Department is not required to prepare a statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).
Takings (Executive Order 12630)
The Department has determined that these rate adjustments do not have significant “takings” implications. The rate adjustments do not deprive the public, state, or local governments of rights or property.
The Department has determined that these rate adjustments do not have significant Federalism effects because they will not affect the States, the relationship between the national government and the States, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among various levels of government.
In issuing this rule, the Department has taken the necessary steps to eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity, minimize potential litigation, and provide a clear legal standard for affected conduct, as required by section 3 of Executive Order 12988.
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
These rate adjustments do not affect the collections of information which have been approved by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The OMB Control Number is 1076-0141 and expires March 31, 2016.
National Environmental Policy Act
The Department has determined that these rate adjustments do not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment and that no detailed statement is required under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370(d)).
Data Quality Act
In developing this notice, we did not conduct or use a study, experiment, or survey requiring peer review under the Data Quality Act (Pub. L. 106-554).
End Supplemental Information
Dated: June 4, 2015.
Kevin K. Washburn,
Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs.
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[FR Doc. 2015-14211 Filed 6-10-15; 8:45 am]
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