Daines Pushes for Passage of Crow Tribe Water Settlement Amendments

Crow Chairman Frank White Clay Emphasizes Positive Impact on Tribe

U.S. Senator Steve Daines today at a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing highlighted the benefits his bipartisan “Crow Tribe Water Settlements Amendments Act” would have on the Tribe, energy security and jobs.

Watch Daines’ full remarks and the exchange HERE.

Daines asked Crow Chairman Frank White Clay about the impact the bill would have on the Tribe. Chairman White Clay stressed the importance of passing this bill for the community.  Daines also called for passage of his Crow Revenue Act” that would support the Tribe while allowing the Bull Mountains mine to continue operating.

Senator Daines: Chairman White Clay, the Crow Tribe Water Settlement Amendments Act and the Crow Revenue Act both bolster tribal sovereignty, increase energy security and we both know fund much needed resources on the reservation. Could you explain to the committee why both of these bills need to be enacted this year and how they will affect access to services on the reservation?

Chairman White Clay: Thank you, Senator. Yes…it’s detrimental that we don’t have those bills in place. I mean, for the Crow tribe, this is a 10-year riddle. Clean water is a basic human right and to have all this funding and to not figure out how we can get water to every community. And to have to make that decision on which community doesn’t get water, that’s a decision no leader should make.

So, this bill would support all the communities getting clean water and the folks that live in the country would have clean drinking water.

The Crow Revenue Act is a bill that basically keeps the tribe afloat for the next 10 years with the closure of one of our single sources revenue, which is the Absaloka mine. Our main customer shut down. We have no revenue coming in from the coal…Which would completely replace it wholly… but it will make it viable for the tribe to find other sources of revenue and diversify our portfolio…The Crow tribe didn’t get to participate in all the government funding that came down because of a problem that we had with a Do Not Pay list that the tribe was unjustly put on. So, all the good government money that was coming down and all the grants and all that, we weren’t available to participate in that. So, all the services that we provide ourselves for social services, MMIW, Search and Rescue, Crow Tribe is ground zero for the MMIW right now, and we…see all the documentaries, all the missing and murdered, and that is all done on the general fund on the back of the Crow Tribe with no input from the federal grants.

We are on a reimbursement basis meaning that, to get federal funds, we have to expend our own funds to start with. So, the Crow Revenue Act would actually give us some room to breathe on that, keep our head almost above water.