US Army Corps of Engineers
Albuquerque District

Program Authorities

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This section discusses the authorization for the Restoration of Abandoned Mines Sites program as well as other authorities available for mine-related projects.

In the Water Resource Development Act of 1999, Congress created Section 560 of Public Law 106-53, authorizing the Restoration of Abandoned Mine Sites (RAMS) program. The Western Region program duties are assigned to Sacramento District.

SEC. 560. ABANDONED AND INACTIVE NONCOAL MINE RESTORATION.

(a) In General.--The Secretary may provide technical, planning, and design assistance to Federal and non-Federal interests for carrying out projects to address water quality problems caused by drainage and related activities from abandoned and inactive noncoal mines.
(b) Specific Measures.--Assistance provided under subsection (a) maybe in support of projects for the purposes of--

  1. managing drainage from abandoned and inactive noncoal mines;

  2. restoring and protecting streams, rivers, wetlands, other water bodies, and riparian areas degraded by drainage from abandoned and inactive noncoal mines; and

  3. demonstrating management practices and innovative and alternative treatment technologies to minimize or eliminate adverse environmental effects associated with drainage from abandoned and inactive noncoal mines.

(c) Non-Federal Share.--The non-Federal share of the cost of assistance under subsection (a) shall be 50 percent, except that the Federal share with respect to projects located on land owned by the United States shall be 100 percent.
(d) Effect on Authority of Secretary of the Interior.--Nothing in this section affects the authority of the Secretary of the Interior under title IV of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (30 U.S.C. 1231 et seq.).
(e) Technology Database for Reclamation of Abandoned Mines.--The Secretary may provide assistance to non-Federal and nonprofit entities to develop, manage, and maintain a database of conventional and innovative, cost-effective technologies for reclamation of abandoned and inactive noncoal mine sites. Such assistance shall be provided through the Rehabilitation of Abandoned Mine Sites Program managed by the Sacramento District Office of the Corps of Engineers.
(f) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $5,000,000.

 

In December 2000, the Omnibus Appropriations Bill (Consolidated Appropriations Act) passed. This bill authorized the Corps to redirect $5 million of previously appropriated funds for initiating RAMS efforts.

WRDA 1999 included section 595- providing authority to work at these sites and allows for construction of restoration projects.

SEC. 595. IDAHO, MONTANA, RURAL NEVADA, NEW MEXICO, AND RURAL UTAH.

(a) Definition of Rural Nevada.--In this section, the term ``rural Nevada'' means--

  1. the counties of Lincoln, White Pine, Nye, Eureka, Elko, Humboldt, Pershing, Churchill, Storey, Lyon, Carson, Douglas, Mineral, Esmeralda, and Lander, Nevada;

  2. the portions of Washoe County, Nevada, that are located outside the cities of Reno and Sparks; and

  3. the portions of Clark County, Nevada, that are located outside the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson and the unincorporated portion of the county in the Las Vegas Valley.

(b) Establishment of Program.--The Secretary may establish a program for providing environmental assistance to non-Federal interests in rural Nevada and Montana.
(c) Form of Assistance.--Assistance under this section may be in the form of design and construction assistance for water-related environmental infrastructure and resource protection and development projects in rural Nevada and Montana, including projects for--

  1. wastewater treatment and related facilities;

  2. water supply and related facilities;

  3. environmental restoration; and

  4. surface water resource protection and development.

(d) Public Ownership Requirement.--The Secretary may provide assistance for a project under this section only if the project is publicly owned.
(e) Local Cooperation Agreement.--

  1. In general.--Before providing assistance under this section, the Secretary shall enter into a local cooperation agreement with a non-Federal interest to provide for design and construction of the project to be carried out with the assistance.

  2. Requirements.--Each local cooperation agreement entered into under this subsection shall provide for the following:

    (A) Plan.--Development by the Secretary, in consultation with appropriate Federal and State officials, of a facilities or resource protection and development plan, including appropriate engineering plans and specifications.
    (B) Legal and institutional structures.-- Establishment of such legal and institutional structures as are necessary to ensure the effective long-term operation of the project by the non-Federal interest.

  3. Cost sharing.--

    (A) In general.--The Federal share of project costs under each local cooperation agreement entered into under this subsection shall be 75 percent. The Federal share may be in the form of grants or reimbursements of project costs.
    (B) Credit for design work.--The non-Federal interest shall receive credit for the reasonable costs of design work completed by the non-Federal interest before entering into a local cooperation agreement with the Secretary for a project.
    (C) Credit for interest.--In case of a delay in the funding of the non-Federal share of the costs of a project that is the subject of an agreement under this section, the non-Federal interest shall receive credit for reasonable interest incurred in providing the non- Federal share of the project costs.
    (D) Land, easements, rights-of-way, and relocations.--The non-Federal interest shall receive credit for land, easements, rights-of-way, and relocations provided by the non-Federal interest toward the non-Federal share of project costs (including all reasonable costs associated with obtaining permits necessary for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the project on publicly owned or controlled land), but not to exceed 25 percent of total project costs.
    (E) Operation and maintenance.--The non-Federal share of operation and maintenance costs for projects constructed with assistance provided under this section shall be 100 percent.

(f) Applicability of Other Federal and State Laws.--Nothing in this section waives, limits, or otherwise affects the applicability of any provision of Federal or State law that would otherwise apply to a project to be carried out with assistance provided under this section.
(g) Report.--Not later than December 31, 2001, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the results of the program carried out under this section, including recommendations concerning whether the program should be implemented on a national basis.
(h) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section for the period beginning with fiscal year 2001--

  1. $25,000,000 for rural Nevada; and

  2. $25,000,000 for Montana;

to remain available until expended.

 

Section 595 was amended in the ‘‘Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 2004’’, as follows:

SEC. 117. Section 595 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1999 (113 Stat. 383; 117 Stat. 142) is amended—

  1. by striking the section heading and inserting the following: ‘‘SEC. 595. IDAHO, MONTANA, RURAL NEVADA, NEW MEXICO, AND RURAL UTAH.’’;

  2. in subsection (a)—

    (A) by redesignating paragraphs (1) through (3) as subparagraphs (A) through (C), respectively;
    (B) by striking (a) and all that follows through ‘‘means—’’ and inserting the following: ‘‘(a) DEFINITIONS.—In this section: ‘‘(1) RURAL NEVADA.—The term ‘rural Nevada’ means’’; and
    (C) by adding at the end the following: ‘‘(2) RURAL UTAH.—The term ‘rural Utah’ means— ‘‘(A) the counties of Box Elder, Cache, Rich, Tooele, Morgan, Summit, Dagett, Wasatch, Duchesne, Uintah, Juab, Sanpete, Carbon, Millard, Sevier, Emery, Grand, Beaver, Piute, Wayne, Iron, Garfield, San Juan, and Kane, Utah; and ‘‘(B) the portions of Washington County, Utah, that are located outside the city of St. George, Utah.’’;

  3. in subsections (b) and (c), by striking ‘‘Nevada, Montana, and Idaho’’ and inserting ‘‘Idaho, Montana, rural Nevada, New Mexico, and rural Utah’’; and

  4. in subsection (h), by striking ‘‘2001—’’ and all that follows and inserting ‘‘2001 $25,000,000 for each of Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, and rural Utah, to remain available until expended.’’.

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) may provide reimbursable support to Federal Agencies, Indian Tribes, and State and Local governments through the Support For Others (SFO) Program under various authorities. The most common authorities in the SFO program are the Economy in Government Act (Economy Act, or 31 USC 1535), the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act (Thomas Amendment, or 31 USC 6505), and the Chief's Economy Act (10 USC 3036(d)(2)). The Intergovernmental cooperation act authorization authorizes federal agencies to provide support to State or Local governments and is not applicable in this Nevada RAMS concept. Services provided by the remaining authorities may include contracted or in-house services for all phases of project execution including study, design, and construction. Projects may include any phase of regulatory compliance, restoration, reclamation, or remediation. An Interagency Agreement (IAG) should be in effect prior to arranging SFO services.

As an integral part of Corps of Engineers business practices, USACE activities have been assigned geographical or functional responsibilities to ensure customers receive the best corporate response to their needs and expectations. Each USACE activity is expected to conduct business in accordance with these responsibilities and to be open and flexible to entering into voluntary agreements with each other to jointly satisfy a customer's needs when it is in the best interest of the customer and the Corps to do so. This voluntary agreement which is referred to as "brokering" is also consistent with the "One door to the Corps" philosophy whereby a customer can contact any Corps office and obtain information on total Corps capabilities and/or specific project/programs regardless of geographical location. When a customer desires to deviate from normal Corps business practices, the USACE activity with whom the customer desires to work must broker the work with the affected USACE activities or obtain written approval from HQUSACE prior to executing the work.

Similar language and authority (with section 560) is also included in section 502 of WRDA 2000. This modifies previous authorities found under section 539 of WRDA 1996. This authority allows the Corps to provide technical assistance except in areas where water quality degradation is caused by the lack of sanitary sewers. In those situations, abatement measures are authorized. Section 502 authorized reclamation and water quality protection projects for the purpose of abating and mitigating surface water quality degradation caused by abandoned mines. Section 502 (a) 4(D) identified Soda Butte Creek, Silver Creek, and Elkhorn Mountain drainages in Montana. Senator Bachus listed these sites in legislation but reportedly did not intend to limit efforts in Montana to these sites.

 Restoration Projects, Section 502

SEC. 502. RESTORATION PROJECTS.

(a) IN GENERAL.--Section 539 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (110 Stat. 3776-3777) is amended

in the section heading by striking ''MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA'';

by striking ''and'' at the end of subsection (a)(1)(A);

by striking the period at the end of subsection (a)(1)(B) and inserting a semicolon; and

by adding at the end of subsection (a)(1) the following:

           ''(C) the Lackawanna River, Pennsylvania;

            ''(D) the Soda Butte Creek, Silver Creek, and Elkhorn Mountain drainages, Montana;

            ''(E) the Pemigewasset River watershed, New Hampshire;

            ''(F) the Hocking River, Ohio; and

            ''(G) the Clinch River watershed and Powell River watershed, Virginia.''.

(b) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.--Section 539(d) of such Act (110 Stat. 3776-3777) is amended-

 by striking ''(a)(1)(A) and'' and inserting ''(a)(1)(A),''; and

by inserting '', $5,000,000 for projects undertaken under subsection (a)(1)(C), $5,000,000 for projects undertaken under subsection (a)(1)(D), $1,500,000 for projects undertaken under subsection (a)(1)(E), $2,500,000 for projects undertaken under subsection (a)(1)(F), and $5,000,000 for projects undertaken under subsection (a)(1)(G)'' before the period at the end.-

Restoration Projects, Section 539

 SEC. 539. RESTORATION PROJECTS FOR MARYLAND, PENNSYLVANIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA.

(a) IN GENERAL.-

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.-The Secretary may provide technical assistance to non-Federal interests, in cooperation with Federal and State agencies, for reclamation and water quality protection projects for the purpose of abating and mitigating surface water quality degradation caused by abandoned mines along-

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.-The Secretary may provide technical assistance to non-Federal interests, in cooperation with Federal and State agencies, for reclamation and water quality protection projects for the purpose of abating and mitigating surface water quality degradation caused by abandoned mines along-

            (A) the North Branch of the Potomac River, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; and

            (B) the New River, West Virginia, watershed.

    2. ADDITIONAL MEASURES.-Projects under paragraph (1) may also include measures for the abatement and mitigation of    surface water quality degradation caused by the lack of sanitary wastewater treatment facilities or the need to enhance such facilities.

CONSULTATION WITH FEDERAL ENTITIES.-Any project under paragraph (1) that is located on lands owned by the United States shall be undertaken in consultation with the Federal entity with administrative jurisdiction over such lands.

            (b) FEDERAL SHARE.-The Federal share of the cost of the activities conducted under subsection (a)(1) shall be 50 percent; except that, with respect to projects located on lands owned by the United States, the Federal share shall be 100 percent.

            (c) EFFECT ON AUTHORITY OF SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.- Nothing in this section is intended to affect the authority of the Secretary of the Interior under title IV of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (30 U.S.C. 1231 et seq.).

            (d) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.-There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $1,500,000 for projects undertaken under subsection (a)(1)(A) and $1,500,000 for projects undertaken under subsection (a)(1)(B).