Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
TUBA CITY, ARIZONA In the private meeting yesterday with Arizona United States Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain, Navajo elected officials were urged to come to a fast decision on the controversial Senate Bill 2109, "Navajo - Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2012".
The hour-long meeting included(l to r) Senator John McCain, Senator Jon Kyl, Navajo President Ben Shelly, Vice President Rex Lee Jim and 13 Council Delegates, including Speaker Johnny Naize(not pictured).
Senator Kyl, who is retiring from the US Senate this year, said time is limited and that he needed the tribes to make up their minds soon.
“These settlements usually take a few years to do. We have a few months,”
Senator Kyl said
President Shelly said he understands the Navajo Nation has one of the keys for the bill to be pushed through Congress, but he wants to hear from the Navajo people about the issue first.
“It has to go to the people in order for it to be final. That is why we are having town hall meetings- to hear the people,”
Navajo President Shelly said.
Council Delegates in attendance asked questions about the security of the money for the water infrastructure and also addressed some issues about the Bennett Freeze area.
“We expect the money to be there. There has to be an even trade.That is an absolute,”
Senator Kyl said about the water settlement money.
Senator McCain also said money had been appropriated for the Bennett Freeze area.
But most of the discussions centered around Senator Kyl's bill and the Senator emphasized the importance of trying to push the bill through Congress.
“Right now there is a mood in Congress about spending money,”
Senator Kyl said.
“If this settlement does not get done this year, then it is unlikely to get done.”
Water settlement forums held by the Navajo Nation Water Commission and the Office of the President and Vice President are scheduled to start later this month.
posted April 6, 2012 11:40 am edt
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