Statement of John W. Keys, III, Commissioner
U.S. Department of the Interior
Before the
Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Subcommittee on Energy
U.S. Senate
S. 2304
To Amend Reclamation Project Authorization Act of 1972

May 19, 2004

My name is John W. Keys III. I am Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. I am pleased to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 2304 and H.R. 3209.

S. 2304 and H.R. 3209 would amend Title V, Section 501 of Public Law 92-514 known as the Reclamation Project Authorization Act of 1972. The original Act provided for the reauthorization of the North Loup Division of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program. The North Loup Division was to provide irrigation water for 53,000 acres of land. S. 2304 and H.R. 3209 would amend that authorization to "approximately 53,000 acres".

There is no practical method of final project development that results in exactly 53,000 acres. The number of acres under irrigation is subject to change due to factors such as continuing project development and land use changes. The passage of S. 2304 and H.R. 3209 which amends the current reauthorizing language by striking "fifty-three thousand acres" and inserting "approximately 53,000 acres" would provide for authorization of minor acreage changes to allow for practical and economical project development in light of current and future circumstances.

Mr. Chairman, the Department supports S. 2304 and H.R. 3209. Again, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. That concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions.