WASHINGTON—The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs today voted unanimously to approve the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to settle a decades-long negotiation among the Navajo Nation, federal government, and the State of Utah over water rights for Utah Navajos. Ahead of the vote, Senator Romney urged his colleagues on the committee to approve the legislation. Key excerpts of his remarks can be found below.
“The approximate $200 million dollars, which is going to the Navajo Nation, is to provide for water infrastructure that goes to the homes of Indians living on the reservation. There are some forty percent of those that live on the reservation that do not have running water or septic at their home.
“This funding is to provide for water to the homes of Native Americans, so that $200 million dollars is vitally needed for that effort, and it also frees up water for the state of Utah, so that we’re able to live within the agreements that have been made with other states in the region, and at the same time, prevent an unnecessary litigation future.
“I want to thank leaders in Utah and the Navajo Nation, as well as members of the committee, for consideration of this legislation and hope that you move favorably towards its resolution.”