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Hoeven Opening Statement at Legislative Hearing on Indian Water Rights, Economic Development Bills

July 18, 2018

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today delivered the following remarks at a committee legislative hearing to receive testimony on three bills. These include:

 

·        S. 2154, the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Water Rights Settlement Agreement Act.

·        S. 3060, A bill to repeal section 2141 of the Revised Statutes to remove the prohibition on certain alcohol manufacturing on Indian lands.

·        S. 3168, A bill to amend the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 to make Reclamation Water Settlements Fund permanent.

 

The committee heard testimony from Alan Mikkelsen, senior advisor to the Secretary for water and western resource issues and chair of the working group on Indian water settlements at the Department of the Interior; Lester Randall, chairman of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas; Harry Pickernell Sr., chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation; and John Tubbs, director of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

 

For hearing video and witness testimony click here.

 

Senator Hoeven’s full remarks:

 

“Today, the committee will receive testimony on three bills: S. 2154, the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Water Rights Settlement Agreement Act; S. 3060, a bill to repeal section 2141 of the revised statues to remove the prohibition of certain alcohol manufacturing on Indian lands; and S. 3172, the Indian Water Rights Settlement Extension Act.

 

“The Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Water Rights Settlement Agreement Act, S. 2154, was introduced by Senator Moran on November 16, 2017. This bill would approve the tribe’s water claims in the State of Kansas and authorize the tribe’s water rights settlement agreement between the tribe and the state.

 

“Most notably, the legislation would confirm the tribe’s water right of 4,705 acre-feet of water per year; direct the tribe to pass a tribal water code within three years after the bill’s enactment; and direct the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, to commence a study and make recommendations to Congress for the Upper Delaware and Tributaries Watershed project.

 

“Regarding S. 3060, Senator Cantwell introduced the legislation on June 13, 2018This bill would repeal a 1834 federal law that prohibited the creation, or continuation, of ardent spirit distilleries in Indian Country.

 

“A House companion bill, H.R. 5317, was introduced by Representative Jamie Herrera Beutler.

 

“The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on H.R. 5317 on April 26, 2018, at which the Department of the Interior provided testimony in support of the bill. 

 

“On May 24, 2018, H.R. 5317 was reported favorably by the House Natural Resources Committee.

 

“Finally, the Indian Water Rights Settlement Extension Act, S. 3168, was introduced by Senator Udall on June 28, 2018.  This bill would extend in perpetuity the Indian Water Rights Settlement Fund, which was established in the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009.

 

“This settlement fund pays for certain water supply infrastructure projects, as described in Congressionally-approved Indian water rights settlement agreements.”

 

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