HR.496 - Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Establishment Act

[congressional bills 114th congress]
[from the u.s. government printing office]
[h.r. 496 introduced in house (ih)]

114th congress
  1st session
                                h. r. 496

  to establish the alabama hills national scenic area in the state of 
                  california, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    in the house of representatives

                            january 22, 2015

   mr. cook introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
                     committee on natural resources

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 a bill


 
  to establish the alabama hills national scenic area in the state of 
                  california, 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; table of contents.

    (a) short title.--this act may be cited as the ``alabama hills 
national scenic area establishment act''.
    (b) table of contents.--the table of contents for this act is as 
follows:

sec. 1. short title; table of contents.
sec. 2. definitions.
sec. 3. alabama hills national scenic area, california.
sec. 4. management plan.
sec. 5. land taken into trust for lone pine paiute-shoshone 
                            reservation.
sec. 6. transfer of administrative jurisdiction.
sec. 7. protection of services and recreational opportunities.
sec. 8. land conveyance to eliminate encroachment on public lands.

sec. 2. definitions.

    in this act:
            (1) management plan.--the term ``management plan'' means 
        the management plan for the national scenic area developed 
        under section 4(a).
            (2) map.--except in section 8, the term ``map'' means the 
        map titled ``proposed alabama hills national scenic area'', 
        dated september 8, 2014.
            (3) motorized vehicles.--the term ``motorized vehicles'' 
        means motorized or mechanized vehicles and includes, when used 
        by utilities, mechanized equipment, helicopters, and other 
        aerial devices necessary to maintain electrical or 
        communications infrastructure.
            (4) national scenic area.--the term ``national scenic 
        area'' means the alabama hills national scenic area established 
        by section 3(a).
            (5) secretary.--the term ``secretary'' means the secretary 
        of the interior.
            (6) state.--the term ``state'' means the state of 
        california.
            (7) tribe.--the term ``tribe'' means the lone-pine paiute 
        shoshone tribe.
            (8) utility facility.--the term ``utility facility'' means 
        any and all existing and future electric generation facilities, 
        electric storage facilities, overhead and/or underground 
        electrical supply systems and communication systems consisting 
        of electric substations, electric lines, poles and towers made 
        of various materials, ``h'' frame structures, guy wires and 
        anchors, crossarms, wires, underground conduits, cables, 
        vaults, manholes, handholes, above-ground enclosures, markers 
        and concrete pads and other fixtures, appliances and 
        communication circuits, and other fixtures, appliances and 
        appurtenances connected therewith necessary or convenient for 
        the construction, operation, regulation, control, grounding and 
        maintenance of electric generation, storage, lines and 
        communication circuits, for the purpose of transmitting 
        intelligence and generating, storing, distributing, regulating 
        and controlling electric energy to be used for light, heat, 
        power, communication, and other purposes.

sec. 3. alabama hills national scenic area, california.

    (a) establishment.--subject to valid, existing rights, there is 
established in inyo county, california, the alabama hills national 
scenic area. the national scenic area shall be comprised of the 
approximately 18,610 acres generally depicted on the map as ``national 
scenic area''.
    (b) purpose.--the purpose of the national scenic area is to 
conserve, protect, and enhance for the benefit, use, and enjoyment of 
present and future generations the nationally significant scenic, 
cultural, geological, educational, biological, historical, 
recreational, cinematographic, and scientific resources of the national 
scenic area managed consistent with section 302(a) of the federal land 
policy and management act of 1976 (43 u.s.c. 1732(a)).
    (c) map; legal descriptions.--
            (1) in general.--as soon as practicable after the date of 
        enactment of this act, the secretary shall file a map and a 
        legal description of the national scenic area with--
                    (a) the committee on energy and natural resources 
                of the senate; and
                    (b) the committee on natural resources of the house 
                of representatives.
            (2) force of law.--the map and legal descriptions filed 
        under paragraph (1) shall have the same force and effect as if 
        included in this act, except that the secretary may correct any 
        clerical and typographical errors in the map and legal 
        descriptions.
            (3) public availability.--each map and legal description 
        filed under paragraph (1) shall be on file and available for 
        public inspection in the appropriate offices of the forest 
        service and bureau of land management.
    (d) administration.--the secretary shall manage the national scenic 
area--
            (1) as a component of the national landscape conservation 
        system;
            (2) so as not to impact the future continuing operations 
        and maintenance of any activities associated with valid, 
        existing rights, including water rights;
            (3) in a manner that conserves, protects, and enhances the 
        resources and values of the national scenic area described in 
        subsection (b); and
            (4) in accordance with--
                    (a) the federal land policy and management act of 
                1976 (43 u.s.c. 1701 et seq.);
                    (b) this act; and
                    (c) any other applicable laws.
    (e) management.--
            (1) in general.--the secretary shall allow only such uses 
        of the national scenic area as the secretary determines would 
        support the purposes of the national scenic area as described 
        in subsection (b).
            (2) recreational activities.--except as otherwise provided 
        in this act or other applicable law, or as the secretary 
        determines to be necessary for public health and safety, the 
        secretary shall allow existing recreational uses of the 
        national scenic area to continue, including hiking, mountain 
        biking, rock climbing, sightseeing, horseback riding, hunting, 
        fishing, and appropriate authorized motorized vehicle use.
            (3) motorized vehicles.--except as specified within this 
        act and/or in cases in which motorized vehicles are needed for 
        administrative purposes, or to respond to an emergency, the use 
        of motorized vehicles in the national scenic area shall be 
        permitted only on--
                    (a) roads and trails designated by the director of 
                the bureau of land management for use of motorized 
                vehicles as part of a management plan sustaining a 
                semi-primitive motorized experience; or
                    (b) on county-maintained roads in accordance with 
                applicable state and county laws.
    (f) acquisition of land.--
            (1) in general.--the secretary may acquire non-federal land 
        within the boundaries of the national scenic area only through 
        exchange, donation, or purchase from a willing seller.
            (2) management.--land acquired under paragraph (1) shall 
        be--
                    (a) considered to be a part of the national scenic 
                area; and
                    (b) managed in accordance with this act and any 
                other applicable laws.
    (g) no buffer zones.--
            (1) in general.--nothing in this act creates a protective 
        perimeter or buffer zone around the national scenic area.
            (2) activities outside national scenic area.--the fact that 
        an activity or use on land outside the national scenic area can 
        be seen or heard within the national scenic area shall not 
        preclude the activity or use outside the boundaries of the 
        national scenic area.
    (h) access.--the secretary shall continue to provide private 
landowners adequate access to inholdings in the national scenic area.
    (i) filming.--nothing in this act prohibits filming (including 
commercial film production, student filming, and still photography) 
within the national scenic area--
            (1) subject to--
                    (a) such reasonable regulations, policies, and 
                practices as the secretary considers to be necessary; 
                and
                    (b) applicable law; and
            (2) in a manner consistent with the purposes described in 
        subsection (b).
    (j) fish and wildlife.--nothing in this act affects the 
jurisdiction or responsibilities of the state with respect to fish and 
wildlife.
    (k) livestock.--the grazing of livestock in the national scenic 
area, including grazing under the alabama hills allotment and the 
george creek allotment, as established before the date of enactment of 
this act, shall be permitted to continue--
            (1) subject to--
                    (a) such reasonable regulations, policies, and 
                practices as the secretary considers to be necessary; 
                and
                    (b) applicable law; and
            (2) in a manner consistent with the purposes described in 
        subsection (b).
    (l) overflights.--nothing in this act restricts or precludes 
flights over the national scenic area or overflights that can be seen 
or heard within the national scenic area, including--
            (1) transportation, sightseeing and filming flights, 
        general aviation planes, helicopters, hang-gliders, and 
        balloonists, for commercial or recreational purposes;
            (2) low-level overflights of military aircraft;
            (3) flight testing and evaluation; or
            (4) the designation or creation of new units of special use 
        airspace, or the establishment of military flight training 
        routes, over the national scenic area.
    (m) withdrawal.--subject to this act's provisions and valid rights 
in existence on the date of enactment of this act, including rights 
established by prior withdrawals, the federal land within the national 
scenic area is withdrawn from all forms of--
            (1) entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land 
        laws;
            (2) location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and
            (3) disposition under all laws pertaining to mineral and 
        geothermal leasing or mineral materials.
    (n) wildland fire operations.--nothing in this act prohibits the 
secretary, in cooperation with other federal, state, and local 
agencies, as appropriate, from conducting wildland fire operations in 
the national scenic area, consistent with the purposes described in 
subsection (b).
    (o) grants; cooperative agreements.--the secretary may make grants 
to, or enter into cooperative agreements with, state, tribal, and local 
governmental entities and private entities to conduct research, 
interpretation, or public education or to carry out any other 
initiative relating to the restoration, conservation, or management of 
the national scenic area.
    (p) air and water quality.--nothing in this act modifies any 
standard governing air or water quality outside of the boundaries of 
the national scenic area.
    (q) utility facilities and rights of way.--
            (1) nothing in this act shall--
                    (a) affect the existence, use, operation, 
                maintenance (including but not limited to vegetation 
                control), repair, construction, reconfiguration, 
                expansion, inspection, renewal, reconstruction, 
                alteration, addition, relocation, improvement, funding, 
                removal, or replacement of utility facilities or 
                appurtenant rights of way within or adjacent to the 
                national scenic area;
                    (b) affect necessary or efficient access to utility 
                facilities or rights of way within or adjacent to the 
                national scenic area;
                    (c) preclude the establishment of new utility 
                facilities or rights of way (including instream sites, 
                routes, and areas) within the national scenic area if 
                such facilities--
                            (i) are necessary for public health and 
                        safety, electricity supply, telecommunications, 
                        or other utility services;
                            (ii) are deemed necessary by the california 
                        public utilities commission (cpuc) and/or 
                        california independent system operator (caiso);
                            (iii) comply with the national 
                        environmental policy act of 1969 (42 u.s.c. 
                        4321 et seq.) and/or california environmental 
                        quality act; and
                            (iv) are determined, pursuant to the 
                        process prescribed by the laws referred to in 
                        clause (iii), to be designed and constructed, 
                        to the extent practical, consistent with the 
                        purposes of the national scenic area, taking 
                        into consideration--
                                    (i) siting the utility facilities 
                                or rights of way outside of the 
                                national scenic area; and
                                    (ii) mitigating impacts to the 
                                national scenic area, to the extent 
                                feasible, from the utility facilities 
                                or rights of way; or
                    (d) preclude the use of motorized vehicles on and 
                off roads and trails designated for use by motorized 
                vehicles, including but not limited to the use of 
                mechanized equipment, helicopters, and/or other aerial 
                vehicles or devices, as necessary or efficient for the 
                performance of activities related to the operation, 
                maintenance, expansion, and/or construction of any 
                utility facilities, including lines, and/or rights of 
                way.
            (2) management plan.--consistent with this act, the 
        management plan shall establish plans for maintenance of public 
        utility and other rights of way within the national scenic 
        area.

sec. 4. management plan.

    (a) in general.--not later than 3 years after the date of enactment 
of this act, in accordance with subsection (b), the secretary shall 
develop a comprehensive plan for the long-term management of the 
national scenic area.
    (b) consultation.--in developing the management plan, the secretary 
shall consult with--
            (1) appropriate state, tribal, and local governmental 
        entities, including inyo county, the los angeles department of 
        water and power, and the tribe;
            (2) investor-owned utilities, including southern california 
        edison company;
            (3) the alabama hills stewardship group; and
            (4) members of the public.
    (c) incorporation of management plan.--in developing the management 
plan, in accordance with this section, the secretary shall allow, in 
perpetuity, casual-use mining limited to the use of hand tools, metal 
detectors, hand-fed dry washers, vacuum cleaners, gold pans, small 
sluices, and similar items.
    (d) interim management.--pending completion of the management plan, 
the secretary shall manage the national scenic area in accordance with 
section 3.

sec. 5. land taken into trust for lone pine paiute-shoshone 
              reservation.

    (a) trust land.--as soon as practicable after the date of the 
enactment of this act, the secretary shall take the approximately 132 
acres of federal land depicted on the map as ``lone pine paiute-
shoshone reservation addition'' into trust for the benefit of the 
tribe, subject to the following:
            (1) conditions.--the land shall be subject to all 
        easements, covenants, conditions, restrictions, withdrawals, 
        and other matters of record on the date of the enactment of 
        this act.
            (2) exclusion.--the federal lands over which the right-of-
        way for the los angeles aqueduct is located, generally 
        described as the 250-foot-wide right-of-way granted to the city 
        of los angeles pursuant to the act of june 30, 1906 (chap. 
        3926), shall not be taken into trust for the tribe.
    (b) reservation land.--the land taken into trust pursuant to 
subsection (a) shall be considered part of the reservation of the 
tribe.
    (c) gaming prohibition.--gaming under the indian gaming regulatory 
act (25 u.s.c. 2701 et seq.) shall not be allowed on the land taken 
into trust pursuant to subsection (a).

sec. 6. transfer of administrative jurisdiction.

    administrative jurisdiction of the approximately 40 acres of 
federal land depicted on the map as ``usfs transfer to blm'' is hereby 
transferred from the forest service under the secretary of agriculture 
to the bureau of land management under the secretary.

sec. 7. protection of services and recreational opportunities.

    nothing in this act shall be construed to limit commercial services 
for existing and historic recreation uses as authorized by the bureau 
of land management's permit process. valid, existing, commercial 
permits to exercise guided recreational opportunities for the public 
may continue as authorized on the day before the date of the enactment 
of this act.

sec. 8. land conveyance to eliminate encroachment on public lands.

    (a) definitions.--in this section:
            (1) authorized offer period.--the term ``authorized offer 
        period'' means the 120-day period beginning on the date on 
        which the required appraisal of the federal land is completed 
        under subsection (c).
            (2) federal land.--the term ``federal land'' means the 
        smallest parcel of land within the approximately four acres of 
        bureau of land management land identified on the map as the 
        ``conveyance area'' that--
                    (a) the secretary determines can be reasonably 
                described in legal language and effectively 
                administered; and
                    (b) encompasses construction completed by reginald 
                cook or his predecessor in interest as of the cadastral 
                survey completed by the bureau of land management on 
                april 21, 2011, and certified on october 12, 2011.
            (3) map.--the term ``map'' means the map titled ``proposed 
        conveyance property'', dated january 15, 2015, and on file in 
        the appropriate office of the director of the bureau of land 
        management.
            (4) reginald cook.--the term ``reginald cook'' means mr. 
        reginald cook, the owner of property adjacent to the conveyance 
        area identified on the map.
    (b) conveyance authorized.--if, before the end of the authorized 
offer period, reginald cook submits to the secretary an offer to 
acquire the federal land consistent with subsections (d) and (e), the 
secretary shall convey to reginald cook, upon payment of the required 
consideration, all right, title, and interest of the united states in 
and to the surface estate of the federal land. the conveyance of the 
federal land is subject to valid existing rights.
    (c) appraisal.--not later than 120 days after the date of the 
enactment of this act, the secretary shall complete an appraisal of the 
federal land in accordance with the ``uniform appraisal standards for 
federal land acquisitions'' and the ``uniform standards of professional 
appraisal practice''.
    (d) consideration.--as consideration for the conveyance of the 
federal land, reginald cook shall pay to the united states, for deposit 
in the general fund of the treasury, an amount equal to the appraised 
value of the federal land.
    (e) conditions.--
            (1) payment of costs of conveyance.--reginald cook shall 
        cover any administrative costs incurred by the secretary to 
        carry out the conveyance of the federal land, including the 
        costs of any environmental, wildlife, cultural, or historical 
        resources studies.
            (2) release.--as a condition of the conveyance of the 
        federal land, reginald cook shall agree in writing to release 
        and indemnify the united states from any claims or liabilities 
        that may arise from use of the federal land by the united 
        states or reginald cook before the date of the conveyance.
    (f) access.--the secretary shall continue to provide reginald cook 
with access to his property as required by section 3(h), subject to 
part 2800 of title 43, code of federal regulations.
                                 
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