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Process Information

PROCESS FOR NEGOTIATION OF CENTRAL VALLEY PROJECT
LONG-TERM RENEWAL CONTRACTS
SEPTEMBER 17, 1999

1. Interior has agreed to modify the schedule previously proposed for completion of the long-term renewal contracts. A workshop will be held September 17, 1999, a date selected jointly by Reclamation and contractors' representatives, to develop a schedule agreeable to the contractors and Reclamation for workshops and negotiations. The schedule will provide for execution of long-term renewal contracts by November 30, 2000, based on the expectation that the requisite environmental documentation will be timely completed.

2. Renewal of interim renewal contracts expiring on February 29, 2000, will be addressed as set forth in paragraph 5 below. Noticed public negotiation of the interim renewal contracts will occur and be completed between the September 17 workshop and November 1, 1999, based on the expectation that the PEIS will be filed with the Environmental Protection Agency by that date.

3. Between the September 17 workshop and November 1, 1999, additional workshops/scoping sessions will be held. The workshops/scoping sessions will provide the opportunity for Reclamation, the contractors, and interested members of the public to articulate views and concerns regarding long-term contracts and public policies implicated by long-term contract renewal issues, for Reclamation to set forth and explain concepts for the draft long-term contract on which it intends to begin negotiations, and for participants to advance concepts in order to better inform those who will negotiate the long-term contracts. The workshops/scoping sessions will address the process and timing for completing the environmental documentation, including without limitation the PEIS, site-specific NEPA documentation and any required biological opinion under the Endangered Species Act, to be prepared in connection with the long-term renewal contracts. The workshops/scoping sessions will also be intended to improve the parties' understandings of each other's issues and concerns, and to outline a process to address resolution of impasses should they occur during the negotiations. However, no negotiations will take place in this period. Reclamation will consider the views, opinions, and concerns expressed at the workshops and based on this consideration may modify the terms of the draft contract which is to be the subject of negotiations if it determines modifications are warranted.

4. Assuming the PEIS is filed with the Environmental Protection Agency by November 1, 1999, negotiation of the long-term renewal contracts would commence on or shortly after that date. If the PEIS is not filed with the Environmental Protection Agency by that date, a new date to commence those negotiations would be selected promptly following the filing of the PEIS. Negotiations with interim renewal contractors and binding agreement contractors will be coordinated into a single process.

5. Reclamation will propose that the interim renewal contracts which expire February 29, 2000, will be renewed without change, except as described in this paragraph, for a period of nine months, from March 1, 2000, to November 30, 2000. While Reclamation intends and the contractors have stated their intent to proceed in good faith to finalize long-term renewal contracts by November 30, 2000, Reclamation recognizes the possibility that this schedule may not be met and intends to assure uninterrupted water service and continuity of contract. Accordingly, Reclamation will propose that the interim renewal contracts provide:

(A) The parties will negotiate in good faith the terms of the long-term renewal contracts until at least June 1, 2000. On or after that date the parties may from time to time evaluate progress toward execution of the long-term contracts by November 30, 2000.

(B) The interim renewal contracts will be renewed without change upon the request of either party for the period from December 1, 2000, to February 28, 2001, if (1) the long-term renewal contracts are executed by November 30, 2000 and contain an effective date of March 1, 2001; or (2) the parties have not completed the negotiations on the long-term renewal contracts, believe that further negotiations on those contracts would be beneficial, and mutually commit to continue to negotiate to seek to reach agreement; or (3) the PEIS is not filed with the Environmental Protection Agency by January 1, 2000.

(C) In the event (1) a contractor and Reclamation have reached agreement on the terms of the contractor's long-term renewal contract or (2) the contractor and Reclamation have not completed the negotiations on the contractor's long-term renewal contract, believe that further negotiations on that contract would be beneficial, and mutually commit to continue to negotiate to seek to reach agreement, but all environmental documentation required to allow execution of the contractor's long-term renewal contract by both parties has not been completed in time to allow execution of the contractor's long-term renewal contract by November 30, 2000, the parties will expeditiously complete the environmental documentation required of each of them in order to execute the contractor's long-term renewal contract at the earliest practicable date. In addition, that contractor's then current interim renewal contract will be renewed without change upon the request of either party through the agreed-upon effective date of the contractor's long-term renewal contract or, in the absence of agreement on the terms of the contractor's long-term renewal contract, through the next succeeding February 28.

(D) Provided that interim renewal contracts are not subject to renewal under the terms described in 5(B)or 5(C), if after June 1, 2000, a party determines that the parties have reached an impasse which they have been unable to resolve and which precludes agreement on the long-term renewal contracts, that party may notify the other that it has concluded that there is no reasonable likelihood of executing the long-term renewal contracts by November 30, 2000. In the event of such notice, the parties will immediately agree to a schedule and process for negotiating the terms (other than any terms that would impair continuity of water supply or continuity of contract) of and executing the interim renewal contracts which will be in effect from December 1, 2000 to February 28, 2001; provided that neither party will propose for inclusion in the interim renewal contracts any provision not previously included in an existing interim renewal contract which it had previously proposed for inclusion in the long-term renewal contracts and which was the subject of an impasse in the long-term contract negotiations. The schedule will provide for completion of the negotiations of the terms of those contracts by November 1, 2000 and for execution of the contracts by November 15, 2000. The parties will each acknowledge the right of either party to seek judicial relief in connection with any impasse reached in connection with negotiation of long-term renewal contracts or interim renewal contracts that would become effective on or after December 1, 2000.

6. The parties will acknowledge in the interim renewal contracts that become effective on March 1, 2000, that the contractors assert that they are entitled as a matter of law to interim renewal contracts of longer duration than nine months, and that Reclamation asserts that it is under no obligation to provide the contractors with interim renewal contracts of any particular duration. Accordingly, the parties will further acknowledge that (a) the foregoing process represents a mutual accommodation to facilitate their joint desire to proceed with the development of long-term renewal contracts in an expeditious and orderly manner, (b) they each preserve their respective rights and positions relative to the entitlement of the contractors to subsequent interim renewal contracts should they become necessary, and the terms thereof, and (c) their agreement to the process and interim renewal contract terms described above is in no way intended to be, nor will it be interpreted as, a waiver of any such rights or positions, all of which are and will be expressly preserved.