2009-04-02 / Headlines

Several tribes benefit from Obama's signing of lands management act

WASHINGTON, DC - Several tribes across the nation benefited from the signing of the Omnibus public lands management act at the White House on Tuesday by President Obama.

According to a press release issued on Mar. 30 Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and 13 members of Congress were to be on hand during the signing.

Known as H.R. 146 the 15-title bill "incorporates more than 150 individual bills…the bill designates about 2 million acres of new wilderness areas; creates ten new National Heritage Areas; authorizes land exchanges among USDA's forest service, DOI's Bureau of Land Management, DOI's National Park Service, and other State, local or private parties; authorizes various Bureau of Reclamation projects and water settlements."

The dignitary list also included Navajo Nation Joe Shirley who was a supporter during Obama's campaign. The Navajo Nation through the bill has secured water rights to the San Juan River and $870 million for a pipeline.

The Shoshone-Paiute tribe of Nevada will have their water rights settled, while three tribes in Utah, Nevada and California will have land placed into trust.

And 18 Pueblos along the Rio Grand River in New Mexico will be able to use their irrigation systems and find needed resources to add to their supplies.

Obama said during the signing, "Our lands have always provided great bounty - food and shelter for the first Americans, for settlers and pioneers; raw materials that grew our industry; the energy that powers our economy."

The president also recognized tribal chairman Robert Bear of the Duck Valley Shoshone- Paiute tribes.

The Northern Plains National Heritage Area in North Dakota is one of the many initiatives that fall under the heading of protection of tribal treaty rights.

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