New Mexico senators push Navajo water rights bill
New Mexico Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D) and Pete Domenici (R) will move forward with a bill to settle the Navajo Nation's water rights despite Bush administration opposition.

Assistant secretary Carl Artman and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Robert Johnson testified about the proposed settlement on Wednesday. They said the federal government hasn't been a part of discussions to settle the tribe's rights in the San Juan Basin.

Bingaman and Domenici, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, didn't like those answers. They said the government has failed to get involved despite repeated invitations.

The senators also criticized the Bush administration for balking at the cost of the estimated $1 billion deal while supporting similar Indian water rights deals in Western states, including Arizona.

In addition to securing the Navajo Nation's water rights, the settlement calls for a major pipeline to supply Gallup, a reservation border town, with water.

Get the Story:
N.M. senators proposing bill to settle Navajo water dispute (AP 6/29)

Hearing Info:
Full Committee Hearing: S. 1171 | Webcast | Text of Bill

Relevant Links:
Navajo Nation - http://www.navajo.org

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