WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, announced Senate passage of H.R.4032, the Gila River Indian Community Federal Rights-of-Way, Easements and Boundary Clarification Act. The bill will now head to President Trump for his signature.
Establishes, ratifies, documents, and confirms the Federal electrical, irrigation, and road rights-of-way and easements that exist within the exterior boundaries of the Reservation as of the date of the enactment of this Act.
Establishes a fixed location of the northern boundary of the Reservation and provides for the Secretary of the Interior to ensure that the northern boundary is resurveyed and marked in conformance with the public system of surveys.
Authorizes and directs the Secretary of the Interior to place certain lands into trust for the benefit of the Gila River Indian Community.
Substitutes the benefits provided under this Act to the Gila River Indian Community, its members and allottees for any claims that the Community, its members and allottees may have had in connection with alleged failures relating to the northern boundary of the Reservation and the documentation and management of Federal rights-of-way on the Reservation.
“This legislation provides for the accurately surveyed northern boundary of the Reservation to be established, bringing much needed clarity and resolution to a dispute between the Gila River Indian Community and the Federal government that began in 1895,” Hoeven said. “More importantly, this legislation affirms the Federal government’s respect for the rights of the Gila River Indian Community and reconciles Federal mismanagement of the Tribe’s trust funds and non-monetary trust assets and resources.”
H.R. 4032 was introduced by Congressman Tom O’Halleran on October 12, 2017. It passed the House of Representatives on July 17, 2018. On November 14, 2018 the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a Legislative Hearing to receive testimony on the bill. On November 28, 2018, the Committee held a Business Meeting on the bill and ordered it to be reported without amendment favorably. It will now go to the President to be signed into law.