Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R), and Representative Scott Tipton (R), sent a letter Monday to Chairmen John McCain (R-AZ) and Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Ranking Members Jack Reed (D-RI) and Adam Smith (D-WA) from the Armed Services Committees urging the inclusion of Section 3204 of the House-passed H.R. 5515 in the final conference report of the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This section would ensure communities receive their rightful payments from cleanup of the Anvil Points federal research site by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Bennet, Gardner, and Tipton announced in March that, after years of work, the long overdue funding for Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, and Mesa Counties would be distributed by the Department of Interior.
A copy of the letter is available below:
Dear Chairmen McCain and Thornberry and Ranking Members Reed and Smith:
As you prepare for conference negotiations on the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), we urge you to include Section 3204 of the House-passed H.R. 5515 in the final conference report.
The Anvil Points Fund at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was established in the 1997 NDAA and used oil and gas lease revenue to reimburse the federal government for expenses invested in and for cleanup of the Anvil Points federal research site near Rifle, Colorado. These funds were mostly provided by four Colorado counties: Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, and Mesa County. The revenue for this fund provided more than enough to complete the cleanup project, but the excess funds were held by the BLM.
On March 14, 2018, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced it was finally distributing nearly $18 million to four Colorado counties. Under current law, the March payment would offset the amount owed to these four counties under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program in 2019. Section 3204 in the 2019 NDAA would ensure that these communities are not punished for successfully recouping funds that were owed to them by the federal government for over a decade. This section was adopted by the House of Representatives on a voice vote.
We have worked closely with Secretary Zinke and Deputy Secretary Bernhardt to make certain that these communities received the payments owed to them, and we will continue to ensure that this matter is properly resolved.
We appreciate your consideration of this provision in the final conference report. Please contact our offices if we can be of any assistance.