[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 14 (Wednesday, January 22, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 3614-3621]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-01154]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Indian Affairs

[14X/A11220000.224200/AAK4004800/AX.480ADM1.0000]


Rate Adjustments for Indian Irrigation Projects

AGENCY: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rate adjustments.

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SUMMARY: 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.

DATES: Interested parties may submit comments on the proposed rate 
adjustments on or before March 24, 2014.

ADDRESSES: 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.

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.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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 2013 irrigation assessment rates, the proposed 
rates for the 2014 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 mean all costs we incur to administer our 
irrigation projects at the local project level and is

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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 mean 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 mean 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 is 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 means costs we incur to operate our 
irrigation projects and equipment and is 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 Printing 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 2014 
irrigation season and subsequent years where applicable.

How do you calculate irrigation rates?

    We calculate annual irrigation assessment rates in accordance with 
25 CFR 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 171.500, these expenses include the 
following:
    (a) Salary and benefits for the project engineer/manager and 
project employees under the project engineer/manager's management or 
control;
    (b) Materials and supplies;
    (c) Vehicle and equipment repairs;
    (d) Equipment costs, including lease fees;
    (e) Depreciation;
    (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;
    (k) Any water storage fees for non BIA-owned reservoirs, as 
applicable;
    (l) Contingencies for unknown costs and omitted budget items; and
    (m) 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

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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 Sec.  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.

                        Northwest Region Contacts
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Stanley Speaks, Regional Director
Bureau of Indian Affairs, Northwest Regional Office
911 N.E. 11th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97232-4169
Telephone: (503) 231-6702
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Project name                             Project/agency contacts
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Fort Hall Irrigation Project...........  Vacant, Superintendent, Fort
                                          Hall Agency, P.O. Box 220,
                                          Fort Hall, ID 83203-0220,
                                          Telephone: (208) 238-2301.
Wapato Irrigation Project..............  Edwin Lewis, Project
                                          Administrator, Wapato
                                          Irrigation Project, P.O. Box
                                          220, Wapato, WA 98951-0220,
                                          Telephone: (509) 877-3155.
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                     Rocky Mountain Region Contacts
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Ed Parisian, Regional Director
Bureau of Indian Affairs, Rocky Mountain Regional Office
316 North 26th Street
Billings, Montana 59101
Telephone: (406) 247-7943
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Project name                             Project/agency contacts
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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,
                                          Kyle Varvel, 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........  Cliff Hall, 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...........  Charles Knowlton, Acting
                                          Superintendent, P.O. Box 637,
                                          Poplar, MT 59255, Huber
                                          Wright, Acting Irrigation
                                          Project Manager, 602 6th
                                          Avenue North, Wolf Point, MT
                                          59201, Telephones: (406) 768-
                                          5312, Superintendent, (406)
                                          653-1752, Irrigation Project
                                          Manager.
Wind River Irrigation Project..........  Ray Nation, Acting
                                          Superintendent, Brent Allen,
                                          Irrigation Project Manager,
                                          P.O. Box 158, Fort Washakie,
                                          WY 82514, Telephones: (307)
                                          332-7810, Superintendent,
                                          (307) 332-2596, Irrigation
                                          Project Manager.
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                        Southwest Region Contacts
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William T. Walker, Regional Director
Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southwest Regional Office
1001 Indian School Road
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87104
Telephone: (505) 563-3100
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Project name                             Project/agency contacts
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Pine River Irrigation Project..........  John Waconda, Superintendent,
                                          Vickie Begay, Irrigation
                                          Project Manager, P.O. Box 315,
                                          Ignacio, CO 81137-0315,
                                          Telephones: (970) 563-4511,
                                          Superintendent, (970) 563-
                                          9484, Irrigation Engineer.
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                         Western Region Contacts
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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
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Project name                             Project/agency contacts
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Colorado River Irrigation Project......  MarDon Glory, Acting,
                                          Superintendent, Gary Colvin,
                                          Acting Irrigation Project
                                          Manager, 12124 1st Avenue,
                                          Parker, AZ 85344, Telephone:
                                          (928) 669-7111.
Duck Valley Irrigation Project.........  Joseph McDade, Superintendent,
                                          2719 Argent Ave., Suite 4,
                                          Gateway Plaza, Elko, NV 89801,
                                          Telephone: (775) 738-5165.
Fort Yuma Irrigation Project...........  Irene Herder, Superintendent,
                                          256 South Second Avenue, Suite
                                          D, Yuma, AZ 85364, Telephone:
                                          (928) 782-1202.
San Carlos Irrigation Project Joint      Ferris Begay, Project Manager,
 Works.                                   Clarence Begay, Irrigation
                                          Manager, 13805 N. Arizona
                                          Boulevard, Coolidge, AZ 85128,
                                          Telephone: (520) 723-6225.
San Carlos Irrigation Project Indian     Cecilia Martinez,
 Works.                                   Superintendent, Pima Agency,
                                          Land Operations, P.O. Box 8,
                                          Sacaton, AZ 85247, Telephone:
                                          (520) 562-3326.
Uintah Irrigation Project..............  Johnna Blackhair,
                                          Superintendent, Dallas Perank,
                                          Acting Irrigation System
                                          Manager, P.O. Box 130, Fort
                                          Duchesne, UT 84026, Telephone:
                                          (435) 722-4300, Telephone:
                                          (435) 722-4341.
Walker River Irrigation Project........  Athena Brown, 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 2014 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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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.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    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.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    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).

    Dated: January 13, 2014.
Kevin K. Washburn,
Assistant Secretary--Indian Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2014-01154 Filed 1-21-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-W7-P