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Committee on Indian AffairsIntroducedMay 4th, 2009
- senate Committees
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Taos Pueblo Indian Water Rights Settlement Act
A bill to approve the Taos Pueblo Indian Water Rights Settlement Agreement, and for other purposes.
Taos Pueblo Indian Water Rights Settlement Act - Authorizes, ratifies, and confirms the Settlement Agreement of March 31, 2006, between the United States, the Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, the Taos Valley Acequia Association and its 55 member ditches, Taos, the El Prado Water and Sanitation District (EPWSD), and the 12 Taos area Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Associations, and any amendments executed to make the Agreement consistent with this Act. Requires water rights to which the Taos Pueblo is entitled under the Partial Final Decree entered in New Mexico v. Abeyta and New Mexico v. Arellano to be held in trust by the United States. Directs the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Commissioner of Reclamation, to provide: (1) grants and technical assistance to the Pueblo to construct, replace, or rehabilitate water infrastructure, to protect the environment associated with the Buffalo Pasture area, and to enhance watershed conditions; and (2) financial assistance to eligible non-Pueblo entities for mutual-benefit projects in accordance with the Agreement. Establishes in the Treasury the Taos Pueblo Water Development Fund. Authorizes the Pueblo to market its water rights under the Agreement. Directs the Secretary to enter into three repayment contracts for the delivery of specified amounts of San Juan-Chama Project water to the Pueblo, the town of Taos, and EPWSD. Provides for the waiver and release of claims against the parties to New Mexico v. Abeyta and New Mexico v. Arellano in return for recognition of the Pueblo's water rights. Authorizes appropriations for FY2010-FY2016 for the Taos Pueblo Infrastructure and Watershed Fund, for the Taos Pueblo Water Development Fund, and for Mutual-Benefit Projects funding (to minimize adverse impacts on the Pueblo's water resources by moving future non-Indian ground water pumping away from the Pueblo's Buffalo Pasture and to implement the resolution of a dispute over the allocation of certain surface water flows between the Pueblo and non-Indian irrigation water right owners in the community of Arroyo Seco Arriba).