July 27, 2010

Dorgan Introduces Bill to Promote the Comprehensive Resolution of Impacts from the Pick-Sloan Program Dams on Tribal Communities

Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee Byron Dorgan (D-ND) introduced a bill Monday to seek a comprehensive approach to resolving problems imposed on the seven Indian tribes whose lands were flooded by the Pick-Sloan Program dams.
The “Pick-Sloan Tribal Commission Bill” establishes a Commission that would hold hearings and study the outstanding issues in order to make final recommendations to Congress and the Administration for a comprehensive resolution of the tribal claims.
The 1944 Flood Control Act authorized the Pick-Sloan Program to stop flooding along the Missouri River as well as other purposes such as navigation and hydroelectric power. As a part of this plan, five dams were constructed on the Missouri River, which flooded Indian reservation lands, community infrastructure, and prime agricultural and hunting areas. Although the tribes received some compensation for the lands, each tribe was compensated differently, and some promises remain unfulfilled.
“For several decades we have fielded individual claims from the tribes impacted by the Pick-Sloan Program, but we lack a comprehensive approach to resolving the issues. This bill will move us toward a complete and final solution to address the critical tribal interests at stake,” Dorgan said. “The flooding of these lands was destructive to the seven tribes who made their homes along the Missouri River, and it’s time we develop a solution to finally settle these decades-old issues. We believe this commission will result in that solution.”
Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND), Tim Johnson (D-SD) and John Thune (R-SD) are cosponsors of the Pick-Sloan Tribal Commission Bill.
Contact: Jennifer Bronson