Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 4643 (rh) To provide for the settlement of issues and claims related to the trust lands of the Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, and for other purposes. [Reported in House] ...

H.R. 4643 (rh) To provide for the settlement of issues and claims related to the trust lands of the Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, and for other purposes. [Reported in House] ...


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106th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 4643


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           September 19, 2000

  Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
To provide for the settlement of issues and claims related to the trust 
  lands of the Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, and for other 
                               purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla 
Indians Claims Settlement Act''.

SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) Findings.--The Congress finds the following:
            (1) In 1876, the Torres-Martinez Indian Reservation was 
        created, reserving a single, 640-acre section of land in the 
        Coachella Valley, California, north of the Salton Sink. The 
        Reservation was expanded in 1891 by Executive Order, pursuant 
        to the Mission Indian Relief Act of 1891, adding about 12,000 
        acres to the original 640-acre reservation.
            (2) Between 1905 and 1907, flood waters of the Colorado 
        River filled the Salton Sink, creating the Salton Sea, 
        inundating approximately 2,000 acres of the 1891 reservation 
        lands.
            (3) In 1909, an additional 12,000 acres of land, 9,000 of 
        which were then submerged under the Salton Sea, were added to 
        the reservation under a Secretarial Order issued pursuant to a 
        1907 amendment of the Mission Indian Relief Act. Due to 
        receding water levels in the Salton Sea through the process of 
        evaporation, at the time of the 1909 enlargement of the 
        reservation, there were some expectations that the Salton Sea 
        would recede within a period of 25 years.
            (4) Through the present day, the majority of the lands 
        added to the reservation in 1909 remain inundated due in part 
        to the flowage of natural runoff and drainage water from the 
        irrigation systems of the Imperial, Coachella, and Mexicali 
        Valleys into the Salton Sea.
            (5) In addition to those lands that are inundated, there 
        are also tribal and individual Indian lands located on the 
        perimeter of the Salton Sea that are not currently irrigable 
        due to lack of proper drainage.
            (6) In 1982, the United States brought an action in 
        trespass entitled ``United States of America, in its own right 
        and on behalf of Torres-Martinez Band of Mission Indians and 
        the Allottees therein v. the Imperial Irrigation District and 
        Coachella Valley Water District'', Case No. 82-1790 K (M) 
        (hereafter in this section referred to as the ``U.S. Suit'') on 
        behalf of the Torres-Martinez Indian Tribe and affected Indian 
        allottees against the two water districts seeking damages 
        related to the inundation of tribal- and allottee-owned lands 
        and injunctive relief to prevent future discharge of water on 
        such lands.
            (7) On August 20, 1992, the Federal District Court for the 
        Southern District of California entered a judgment in the U.S. 
        Suit requiring the Coachella Valley Water District to pay 
        $212,908.41 in past and future damages and the Imperial 
        Irrigation District to pay $2,795,694.33 in past and future 
        damages in lieu of the United States request for a permanent 
        injunction against continued flooding of the submerged lands.
            (8) The United States, the Coachella Valley Water District, 
        and the Imperial Irrigation District have filed notices of 
        appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth 
        Circuit from the district court's judgment in the U.S. Suit 
        (Nos. 93-55389, 93-55398, and 93-55402), and the Tribe has 
        filed a notice of appeal from the district court's denial of 
        its motion to intervene as a matter of right (No. 92-55129).
            (9) The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has stayed 
        further action on the appeals pending the outcome of settlement 
        negotiations.
            (10) In 1991, the Tribe brought its own lawsuit, Torres-
        Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, et al., v. Imperial 
        Irrigation District, et al., Case No. 91-1670 J (LSP) 
        (hereafter in this section referred to as the ``Indian Suit'') 
        in the United States District Court, Southern District of 
        California, against the two water districts, and amended the 
        complaint to include as a plaintiff, Mary Resvaloso, in her own 
        right, and as class representative of all other affected Indian 
        allotment owners.
            (11) The Indian Suit has been stayed by the district court 
        to facilitate settlement negotiations.
    (b) Purpose.--The purpose of this Act is to facilitate and 
implement the settlement agreement negotiated and executed by the 
parties to the U.S. Suit and Indian Suit for the purpose of resolving 
their conflicting claims to their mutual satisfaction and in the public 
interest.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    For the purposes of this Act:
            (1) Tribe.--The term ``Tribe'' means the Torres-Martinez 
        Desert Cahuilla Indians, a federally recognized Indian tribe 
        with a reservation located in Riverside and Imperial Counties, 
        California.
            (2) Allottees.--The term ``allottees'' means those 
        individual Tribe members, their successors, heirs, and assigns, 
        who have individual ownership of allotted Indian trust lands 
        within the Torres-Martinez Indian Reservation.
            (3) Salton sea.--The term ``Salton Sea'' means the inland 
        body of water located in Riverside and Imperial Counties which 
        serves as a drainage reservoir for water from precipitation, 
        natural runoff, irrigation return flows, wastewater, floods, 
        and other inflow from within its watershed area.
            (4) Settlement agreement.--The term ``Settlement 
        Agreement'' means the Agreement of Compromise and Settlement 
        Concerning Claims to the Lands of the United States Within and 
        on the Perimeter of the Salton Sea Drainage Reservoir Held in 
        Trust for the Torres-Martinez Indians executed on June 18, 
        1996, as modified by the first, second, third, and fourth 
        modifications thereto.
            (5) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of the Interior.
            (6) Permanent flowage easement.--The term ``permanent 
        flowage easement'' means the perpetual right by the water 
        districts to use the described lands in the Salton Sink within 
        and below the minus 220-foot contour as a drainage reservoir to 
        receive and store water from their respective water and 
        drainage systems, including flood water, return flows from 
        irrigation, tail water, leach water, operational spills, and 
        any other water which overflows and floods such lands, 
        originating from lands within such water districts.

SEC. 4. RATIFICATION OF SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT.

    The United States hereby approves, ratifies, and confirms the 
Settlement Agreement.

SEC. 5. SETTLEMENT FUNDS.

    (a) Establishment of Tribal and Allottees Settlement Trust Funds 
Accounts.--
            (1) In general.--There are established in the Treasury of 
        the United States three settlement trust fund accounts to be 
        known as the ``Torres-Martinez Settlement Trust Funds 
        Account'', the ``Torres-Martinez Allottees Settlement Account 
        I'', and the ``Torres-Martinez Allottees Settlement Account 
        II'', respectively.
            (2) Availability.--Amounts held in the Torres-Martinez 
        Settlement Trust Funds Account, the Torres-Martinez Allottees 
        Settlement Account I, and the Torres-Martinez Allottees 
        Settlement Account II shall be available to the Secretary for 
        distribution to the Tribe and affected allottees in accordance 
        with subsection (c).
    (b) Contributions to the Settlement Trust Funds.--
            (1) In general.--Amounts paid to the Secretary for deposit 
        into the trust fund accounts established by subsection (a) 
        shall be allocated among and deposited in the trust accounts in 
        the amounts determined by the tribal-allottee allocation 
        provisions of the Settlement Agreement.
            (2) Cash payments by coachella valley water district.--
        Within the time, in the manner, and upon the conditions 
        specified in the Settlement Agreement, the Coachella Valley 
        Water District shall pay the sum of $337,908.41 to the United 
        States for the benefit of the Tribe and any affected allottees.
            (3) Cash payments by imperial irrigation district.--Within 
        the time, in the manner, and upon the conditions specified in 
        the Settlement Agreement, the Imperial Irrigation District 
        shall pay the sum of $3,670,694.33 to the United States for the 
        benefit of the Tribe and any affected allottees.
            (4) Cash payments by the united states.--Within the time 
        and upon the conditions specified in the Settlement Agreement, 
        the United States shall pay into the three separate tribal and 
        allottee trust fund accounts the total sum of $10,200,000, of 
        which sum--
                    (A) $4,200,000 shall be provided from moneys 
                appropriated by Congress under section 1304 of title 
                31, United States Code, the conditions of which are 
                deemed to have been met, including those of section 
                2414 of title 28, United States Code; and
                    (B) $6,000,000 shall be provided from moneys 
                appropriated by Congress for this specific purpose to 
                the Secretary.
            (5) Additional payments.--In the event that any of the sums 
        described in paragraph (2) or (3) are not timely paid by the 
        Coachella Valley Water District or the Imperial Irrigation 
        District, as the case may be, the delinquent payor shall pay an 
        additional sum equal to 10 percent interest annually on the 
        amount outstanding daily, compounded yearly on December 31 of 
        each respective year, until all outstanding amounts due have 
        been paid in full.
            (6) Severally liable for payments.--The Coachella Valley 
        Water District, the Imperial Irrigation District, and the 
        United States shall each be severally liable, but not jointly 
        liable, for its respective obligation to make the payments 
        specified by this subsection.
    (c) Administration of Settlement Trust Funds.--The Secretary shall 
administer and distribute funds held in the Torres-Martinez Settlement 
Trust Funds Account, the Torres-Martinez Allottees Settlement Account 
I, and the Torres-Martinez Allottees Settlement Account II in 
accordance with the terms and conditions of the Settlement Agreement.

SEC. 6. TRUST LAND ACQUISITION AND STATUS.

    (a) Acquisition and Placement of Lands Into Trust.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary shall convey into trust 
        status lands purchased or otherwise acquired by the Tribe 
        within the areas described in paragraphs (2) and (3) in an 
        amount not to exceed 11,800 acres in accordance with the terms, 
        conditions, criteria, and procedures set forth in the 
        Settlement Agreement and this Act. Subject to such terms, 
        conditions, criteria, and procedures, all lands purchased or 
        otherwise acquired by the Tribe and conveyed into trust status 
        for the benefit of the Tribe pursuant to the Settlement 
        Agreement and this Act shall be considered as if such lands 
        were so acquired in trust status in 1909 except as (i) to water 
        rights as provided in subsection (c), and (ii) to valid rights 
        existing at the time of acquisition pursuant to this Act.
            (2) Primary acquisition area.--
                    (A) In general.--The primary area within which 
                lands may be acquired pursuant to paragraph (1) 
                consists of the lands located in the Primary 
                Acquisition Area, as defined in the Settlement 
                Agreement. The amount of acreage that may be acquired 
                from such area is 11,800 acres less the number of acres 
                acquired and conveyed into trust under paragraph (3).
                    (B) Effect of objection.--Lands referred to in 
                subparagraph (A) may not be acquired pursuant to 
                paragraph (1) if by majority vote the governing body of 
                the city within whose incorporated boundaries (as such 
                boundaries exist on the date of the Settlement 
                Agreement) the subject lands are situated within 
                formally objects to the Tribe's request to convey the 
                subject lands into trust and notifies the Secretary of 
                such objection in writing within 60 days of receiving a 
                copy of the Tribe's request in accordance with the 
                Settlement Agreement. Upon receipt of such a 
                notification, the Secretary shall deny the acquisition 
                request.
            (3) Secondary acquisition area.--
                    (A) In general.--Not more than 640 acres of land 
                may be acquired pursuant to paragraph (1) from those 
                certain lands located in the Secondary Acquisition 
                Area, as defined in the Settlement Agreement.
                    (B) Effect of objection.--Lands referred to in 
                subparagraph (A) may not be acquired pursuant to 
                paragraph (1) if by majority vote--
                            (i) the governing body of the city within 
                        whose incorporated boundaries (as such 
                        boundaries exist on the date of the Settlement 
                        Agreement) the subject lands are situated 
                        within; or
                            (ii) the governing body of Riverside 
                        County, California, in the event that such 
                        lands are located within an unincorporated 
                        area,
                formally objects to the Tribe's request to convey the 
                subject lands into trust and notifies the Secretary of 
                such objection in writing within 60 days of receiving a 
                copy of the Tribe's request in accordance with the 
                Settlement Agreement. Upon receipt of such a 
                notification, the Secretary shall deny the acquisition 
                request.
            (4) Contiguous lands.--The Secretary shall not take any 
        lands into trust for the Tribe under generally applicable 
        Federal statutes or regulations where such lands are both--
                    (A) contiguous to any lands within the Secondary 
                Acquisition Area that are taken into trust pursuant to 
                the terms of the Settlement Agreement and this Act; and
                    (B) situated outside the Secondary Acquisition 
                Area.
    (b) Restrictions on Gaming.--The Tribe may conduct gaming on only 
one site within the lands acquired pursuant to subsection 6(a)(1) as 
more particularly provided in the Settlement Agreement.
    (c) Water Rights.--All lands acquired by the Tribe under subsection 
(a) shall--
            (1) be subject to all valid water rights existing at the 
        time of tribal acquisition, including (but not limited to) all 
        rights under any permit or license issued under the laws of the 
        State of California to commence an appropriation of water, to 
        appropriate water, or to increase the amount of water 
        appropriated;
            (2) be subject to the paramount rights of any person who at 
        any time recharges or stores water in a ground water basin to 
        recapture or recover the recharged or stored water or to 
        authorize others to recapture or recover the recharged or 
        stored water; and
            (3) continue to enjoy all valid water rights appurtenant to 
        the land existing immediately prior to the time of tribal 
        acquisition.

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