06.12.18

Daines Attends Historic Ceremony to Sign Documents Implementing the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement and Compact

U.S. SENATE — Today, U.S. Senator Steve Daines joined Secretary Ryan Zinke and Blackfeet Nation Chairman Harry Barnes for the historic signing of documents implementing legislation Daines fought for since arriving in Congress: the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement Act.

The Blackfeet water compact will resolve all claims to water rights on the Blackfeet Reservation and ensure access to reliable and clean water for the communities within the Reservation, as well as farms, ranches, and businesses in the surrounding area. Today’s signing brings the settlement closer to becoming final and enforceable.

Blackfeet

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of the Interior

“The Blackfeet Tribe has been waiting a long time for this day,” said Daines. “Today’s ceremony marks an important step toward the Blackfeet Tribe and surrounding communities having reliable access to water and seeing needed improvements to water infrastructure projects critical to farmers, ranchers and the local economy.”

Background:

On April 11, 2018, Daines pushed the Department of the Interior during a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing to secure as much funding as possible to implement the settlement so it can become enforceable by the 2025 deadline.

On July 20, 2017, Daines secured language in the FY2018 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act encouraging the Bureau of Reclamation to budget more consistently with the need for time sensitive-funding for Indian water rights settlements, such as the Blackfeet water rights settlement, which Daines enacted into law in the 114th Congress.

On March 8, 2017, Daines pressed Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke during a hearing in the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, on securing implementation of the Blackfeet water rights settlement.

On December 10, 2016, Daines hailed the passage of the Blackfeet water compact in the Water Infrastructure Improvements Act for the Nation (WIIN) Act.

On November 16, 2016, Daines applauded the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee’s passage of the Blackfeet water compact.

On September 15, 2016, Daines worked to include authorization for the Blackfeet Water Compact in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which passed the Senate 95-3.

On September 15, 2016, Daines took to the Senate floor to speak on the historic Blackfeet Water Compact vote in the U.S. Senate.

On April 29, 2015, Daines introduced the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement Act to resolve all claims to water rights on the Blackfeet Reservation and ensure access to reliable and clean water for the communities within the Reservation, as well as farms, ranches, and businesses in the surrounding area.

 

###