WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) delivered the following remarks at a committee hearing to receive testimony on the following bills:
· S. 2796, the Repealing Existing Substandard Provisions Encouraging Conciliation with Tribes Act (RESPECT Act);
· S. 2959, a bill to amend the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 2010 to clarify the use of amounts in the WMAT Settlement Fund; and
· S. 3013, Salish and Kootenai Water Rights Settlement Act of 2016.
The hearing featured testimony from Ms. Alletta Berlin, senior counselor to the deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of the Interior; the Honorable David Flute, chairman of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate; the Honorable Kasey Velasquez, vice chairman of the White Mountain Apache Tribe; the Honorable Vernon Finley, chairman of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation.
Click here for more information on the witnesses’ testimony and to watch video of the entire hearing.
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“Today the committee will examine three bills: S. 2796, a bill to repeal certain obsolete laws relating to Indians; S. 2959, a bill to amend the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 2010 to clarify the use of amounts in the WMAT Settlement Fund; and S. 3013, the Salish and Kootenai Water Rights Settlement Act of 2016.
“S. 2796 was introduced by Senator Rounds on April 13, 2016. Senator Lankford is a co-sponsor.
“At this time, there is no House companion bill. The bill, S. 2796 would repeal obsolete laws relating to Indians. I want to thank Senator Rounds for his work on this, today.
“On May 19, of this year, Senator McCain introduced S. 2959, a bill to amend the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 2010. Senator Flake is an original co-sponsor.
“This bill would allow funding authorized for water-related economic development projects in Title III of the Claims Resettlement Act of 2010 to include the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s rural water system.
“This would allow the secretary of the Interior to use all, or a portion of, the appropriated $78 million White Mountain Apache Tribe’s Settlement Fund for the completion, operation and maintenance of the Miner Flat Dam along the North Fork of the White River.
“On May 26, Vice Chairman Tester introduced S. 3013, the Salish and Kootenai Water Rights Settlement Act of 2016.
“This bill, S. 3013, would settle claims to water rights in the state of Montana.
“The bill also ratifies a compact passed by the Montana state legislature that took a decade of negotiations to resolve the tribe’s claims to reserved water rights within the state.
“The bill authorizes over $2.3 billion for irrigation, water, and education purposes. The bill also provides an allocation of 90,000 acre-feet per year from the Hungry Horse Reservoir.”