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FORT IRWIN EXPANSION, RIDER LEGISLATION LANGUAGE

Legislation signed by President Clinton — December 21, 2000

H.R.5666

SEC. 323. FORT IRWIN NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER EXPANSION. (a) FINDINGS — Congress makes the following findings:

(1) The National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, is the only instrumented training area in the world suitable for live fire training of heavy brigade-sized military forces and thus provides the Army with essential training opportunities necessary to maintain and improve military readiness and promote national security.

(2) The National Training Center must be expanded to meet the critical need of the Army for additional training lands suitable for the maneuver of large numbers of military personnel and equipment, which is necessitated by advances in equipment, by doctrinal changes, and by Force XXI doctrinal experimentation requirements.

(3) The lands being considered for expansion of the National Training Center are home to the desert tortoise and other species that are protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Interior, in developing a plan for expansion of the National Training Center, must provide for such expansion in a manner that complies with the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, and other applicable laws.

(4) In order for the expansion of the National Training Center to be implemented on an expedited basis, the Secretaries should proceed without delay to define with specificity the key elements of the expansion plan, including obtaining early input regarding national security requirements, Endangered Species Act of 1973 compliance and mitigation, and National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 compliance.

(b) PURPOSE — The purpose of this section is to expedite the expansion of the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, in a manner that is fully compliant with environmental laws.

(c) PREPARATION OF PROPOSED EXPANSION PLAN-

(1) PREPARATION REQUIRED- The Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Interior (in this section referred to as the `Secretaries') shall jointly prepare a proposed plan for the expansion of the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.

(2) SUBMISSION AND AVAILABILITY- The plan required by paragraph (1) (in this section referred to as the ‘proposed expansion plan’) shall be completed not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act. When completed, the Secretaries shall make the proposed expansion plan available to the public and shall publish in the Federal Register a `notice of availability' concerning the proposed expansion plan.

(d) KEY ELEMENTS OF PROPOSED EXPANSION PLAN-

(1) JOINT REPORT- Not later than 45 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretaries shall submit to Congress a joint report that identifies the key elements of the proposed expansion plan.

(2) LANDS WITHDRAWAL AND RESERVATION — The proposed expansion plan shall include the withdrawal and reservation of an appropriate amount of public lands for —

(A) the conduct of combined arms military training at the National Training Center;

(B) the development and testing of military equipment at the National Training Center;

(C) other defense-related purposes; and

(D) conservation and research purposes.

(3) CONSERVATION MEASURES — The proposed expansion plan shall also include a general description of conservation measures, anticipated to cost approximately $75,000,000, that may be necessary and appropriate to protect and promote the conservation of the desert tortoise and other endangered or threatened species and their critical habitats in designated wildlife management areas in the West Mojave Desert. The conservation measures may include--

(A) the establishment of one or more research natural areas, which may include lands both within and outside the National Training Center;

(B) the acquisition of private and State lands within the wildlife management areas in the West Mojave Desert;

(C) the construction of barriers, fences, and other structures that would promote the conservation of endangered or threatened species and their critical habitats;

(D) the funding of research studies; and

(E) other conservation measures.

(d) PRELIMINARY REVIEW OF EXPANSION PLAN-

(1) REVIEW REQUIRED — Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service shall submit to the Secretaries a preliminary review of the proposed expansion plan (as developed as of that date). In the preliminary review, the Director shall identify, with as much specificity as possible, an approach for implementing the proposed expansion plan consistent with the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

(2) RELATION TO FORMAL REVIEW — The preliminary review under paragraph (1) shall not constitute a formal consultation under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536), but shall be used to assist the Secretaries in more precisely defining the nature and scope of an expansion plan for the National Training Center that is likely to satisfy requirements of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and to expedite the formal consultation process under section 7 of such Act.

(3) CONSIDERATION OF PRELIMINARY REVIEW — In preparing the proposed expansion plan, the Secretaries shall take into account the content of the preliminary review by the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service under paragraph (1).

(e) DRAFT LEGISLATION — The Secretaries shall submit to Congress with the proposed expansion plan a draft of proposed legislation providing for the withdrawal and reservation of public lands for the expansion of the National Training Center. It is the sense of the Congress that the proposed legislation should contain a provision that, if enacted, would prohibit ground-disturbing military use of the land to be withdrawn and reserved by the legislation until the Secretaries have certified that there has been full compliance with the appropriate provisions of the legislation, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, and other applicable laws.

(f) CONSULTATION UNDER ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT OF 1973 — The Secretaries shall initiate the formal consultation required under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536) with respect to expansion of the National Training Center as soon as practicable and shall complete such consultation not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(g) ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW — Not later than 6 months following completion of the formal consultation required under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 with respect to expansion of the National Training Center, the Secretaries shall complete any analysis required under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 with respect to the proposed expansion of the National Training Center. The analysis shall be coordinated, to the extent practicable and appropriate, with the review of the West Mojave Coordinated Management Plan that, as of the date of the enactment of this Act, is being undertaken by the Bureau of Land Management.

(h) FUNDING —

(1) IMPLEMENTATION OF CONSERVATION MEASURES — There are authorized to be appropriated $75,000,000 to the Secretary of the Army for the implementation of conservation measures necessary for the final expansion plan for the National Training Center to comply with the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

(2) IMPLEMENTATION OF SECTION — The amounts of $2,500,000 for ‘Operation and Maintenance, Army’ and $2,500,000 for ‘Management of Lands and Resources, Bureau of Land Management’ are hereby appropriated to the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Interior, respectively, only to undertake and complete on an expedited basis the activities specified in this section.

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