Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing on Thursday to address the Cobell settlement. "> Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing on Thursday to address the Cobell settlement. ">
Cobell urges Senate to move quickly on settlement
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The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing on Thursday to address the Cobell settlement.

The settlement provides $1.4 billion to Indian trust fund beneficiaries and authorizes $3 billion for a land consolidation program. The deal requires Congressional approval -- action must be taken by the end of this month or else the plaintiffs and the federal government will have to agree to an extension.

If Congress acts soon, money can be in the hands of Indian beneficiaries by fall 2010, said Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. She said most people will get $1,000 but many will receive more money, based on the type of activity that occurred on their land.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), the chairman of the committee, said he supports the settlement. He said resolution will allow the federal government to focus on education, health, law enforcement and other needs in Indian Country.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the vice chairman, asked about attorney's fees. Tom Perrelli of the Department of Justice said Cobell's legal team could receive as much as $100 million for their 13 years of work but noted that the actual amount will be determined in court.

Barrasso also had questions about land consolidation. David Hayes, the deputy secretary at Interior, said the program will focus on parcels with 20 or more owners, an effort that will result in addressing the most cumbersome parts of the Indian trust.

But he acknowledged that it will take between $6 billion and $8 billion to "truly resolve" fractionation of the Indian estate. He also said the land consolidation program won't focus on parcels with mineral assets because he said they are harder to assess.

Get the Story:
Indian trust fund OK may miss deadline (AP 12/18)
Attorneys Fees in Cobell Case Capped at $100 million (The Blog of Legal Times 12/17)

SCIA Hearing:
OVERSIGHT HEARING on the Cobell v. Salazar Settlement Agreement (December 17, 2009)

Relevant Documents:
Agreement | Press Release | Q&A | Audio

Related Stories:
Witness List: Senate hearing on Cobell settlement (12/16)
Mary Pember: The small picture of the Cobell deal (12/16)
Opinion: Deal won't change much in Indian Country (12/16)
Editorial: Settlement in Cobell case is long overdue (12/16)
Editorial: Act quickly to approve Cobell settlement (12/16)
Bill Means: Cobell settlement a rip-off for Indians (12/15)
Editorial: At last a settlement in Cobell trust case (12/15)
North Dakota tribes back settlement in Cobell case (12/14)
Opinion: Indian plaintiff won't see trust settlement (12/14)
Column: Navajo woman helped resolve Cobell case (12/14)
Editorial: Preventing future trust mismanagement (12/14)
Editorial: Approve settlement to Cobell trust case (12/14)
Senate committee sets Cobell settlement hearing (12/11)
Washington tribes react to Cobell case settlement (12/11)
Editorial: Land consolidation program 'worrisome' (12/11)
Lynne Harlan: A new era in federal Indian relations (12/11)
Column: Cowboy banks got paid more than Indians (12/11)
Editorial: Settling more than a century of injustice (12/11)
Editorial: Support settlement for Cobell trust case (12/11)
Editorial: Acknowledge past mistakes in trust fund (12/11)
Editorial: A long overdue settlement to Cobell suit (12/11)
NARF welcomes settlement in Cobell trust lawsuit (12/10)
Cobell hailed as warrior as she returns to Montana (12/10)
Billings Paper: Cobell deal sends $27M to Montana (12/10)
Editorial: Cobell settlement fair for Indian Country (12/10)
Editorial: Welcome settlement to Cobell trust case (12/10)
Mostly praise for $3.4B settlement to Cobell lawsuit (12/9)
Editorial: Act quickly on Indian trust fund settlement (12/9)
Twitter Recap of Cobell settlement with Photos (12/8)
Statement by President Obama on Cobell settlement (12/8)
Statement by Sen. Dorgan on Cobell settlement (12/8)
Statement by Sen. McCain on Cobell settlement (12/8)
Statement by Sen. Tester on Cobell settlement (12/8)
Statement by Rep. Rahall on Cobell settlement (12/8)
Statement by Rep. Cole and Rep. Kildee on Cobell settlement (12/8)
'Major' announcement on Indian trust management (12/8)

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