On Wednesday, May 8 at 2:30 PM, Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will chair a U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs legislative hearing on two bills that would address certain water and lands claims of the Blackfeet Nation of Browning, Montana, and the Sandia Pueblo of Bernalillo, New Mexico.
The Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement Act of 2013 (S. 434), introduced by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Jon Tester (D-MT), would ratify the Blackfeet water rights compact with the State of Montana. The compact has already been approved by the Montana Legislature, and will need approval by the U.S. Senate before it can be finalized by the Blackfeet Nation. Implementing the compact would settle a long-standing conflict over waters in Montana, and would also bring clean water to families, support irrigation and livestock activities, and strengthen long-term economic development on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
The Sandia Pueblo Settlement Technical Amendment Act (S. 611), introduced by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM), would make a technical amendment to the T’uf Shur Bien Preservation Trust Area Act to require the Secretary of Agriculture to transfer certain National Forest land to the Secretary of the Interior to be held in trust for the Sandia Pueblo, in exchange for the Pueblo’s La Luz tract.
The Committee will receive the views of administration officials at the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior on these two bills. The Committee will also hear testimony from leaders of the Blackfeet Nation, the State of Montana, and the Pueblo of Sandia on the impacts of the proposed legislation on their communities.
- S. 434, to authorize and implement the water rights compact among the Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and the State of Montana, and for other purposes
- S. 611, to make a technical amendment to the T’uf Shur Bien Preservation Trust Area Act, and for other purposes.