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Bishop Applauds Senate on Passage of Major Navajo Water Rights Deal


WASHINGTON, D.C.,
June 4, 2020

Today, Ranking Republican Rob Bishop (R-Utah) released the following statement on the passage of S. 1207, the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act of 2019. The bill, first introduced in the House as H.R. 6979 in September 2018 and reintroduced as H.R. 644 in January 2019, is the result of a multi-year collaborative effort lead by Bishop and Senator Romney, as well as the state of Utah and the Navajo Nation.

 “I’m pleased the Senate was finally able to take unanimous action on this desperately needed legislation. As COVID-19 continues to disproportionately affect the Navajo Nation, the Navajo Utah Water Settlement Act will provide necessary funds for clean water projects in the Nation and simultaneously resolve liability issues in a win for the American taxpayer. As House sponsor of this bipartisan bill, I call on Democratic leadership to take up the Senate bill as is and pass it immediately.”

 Background:

The House subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife held a hearing on June 26, 2019, where various stakeholders appeared as witnesses to testify in favor of the Bishop legislation. Witnesses included Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Natural Resources Division Chief Norm Johnson from the Utah Attorney General’s office. On February 12, 2020 in Full Committee markup, H.R. 644 was ordered to be reported by unanimous consent.  

In written testimony, Navajo Nation President Nez stated he, “… wish[ed] to convey the gratitude of the Navajo Nation to Rep. Rob Bishop … and the cosponsors of this legislation for their support and leadership in ensuring that the Navajo People in southeastern Utah have the basic, modern convenience of running water.”

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