December 10, 2016

Water Resources Development Act Includes Several Key Provisions for Indian Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, praised Congress’s passage of S. 612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WINN Act), the legislative vehicle for the Water Resources Development Act, which included several key provisions for Indian Country.
“Congress has taken major action on behalf of tribal communities,” said Barrasso. “The Water Resources Development Act included Indian bills that were passed by the committee throughout this Congress. These measures will help protect Native and surrounding communities from flooding, improve aging irrigation systems, clarify water rights, take land into trust for tribes, and protect and improve lives across Indian Country. I urge the president to sign this bill into law.”
The Congress-passed S. 612 included the following:
·         S. 2717, the Dam Repairs and Improvements for Tribes Act of 2016 (DRIFT Act);
·         S. 438, the Irrigation Rehabilitation and Renovation for Indian Tribal Governments and Their Economies Act (IRRIGATE Act);
·         S. 1983, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians Water Rights Settlement Act;
·         S. 1125, the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement Act of 2015;
·         H.R. 387, a bill to provide for certain land to be taken into trust for the benefit of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians;
·        S. 1822, a bill to take certain federal land located in Tuolumne County, Calif., into trust for the benefit of the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians;
·        H.R. 4685, an act to take certain federal lands located in Tulare County, Calif., into trust for the benefit of the Tule River Indian Tribe; and
·        H.R. 1296, a bill to amend the San Luis Rey Indian Water Rights Settlement Act to clarify certain settlement terms.
S. 2848, the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 passed the Senate on Sept. 15, 2016, and has been under the conference (reconciliation) process between the Senate and the House of Representatives.