CROW AGENCY, Mont., April 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Crow Tribe, the State of Montana and the United States executed the Crow-Montana Water Rights Compact today at a signing ceremony held at the United States Department of Interior. Execution of the Compact, along with its appendices, marks an important step towards implementing the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act that was passed into law on December 8, 2010.
The signing ceremony was attended by Crow Tribal Chairman Cedric Black Eagle and tribal representatives, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and his staff, Montana Governor Schweitzer, and Congressional staff from the offices of Senator Baucus and Senator Tester.
"Today is a significant day for the Crow people," said Cedric Black Eagle, Chairman of the Crow Tribe. "We began negotiating the Crow-Montana Compact decades ago and with continued commitment by all of the parties, including the State and the United States, we were able to come together today and sign the Compact. Water is life. This Compact ensures that Crow people will have water and the necessary infrastructure for generations to come. Now the hard work continues to implement the Compact and Settlement legislation to ensure that Crow people realize these benefits from the settlement." Secretary Salazar echoed the United States' support of negotiated settlements, "The Obama Administration is proud to be a party to the Crow-Montana Compact. Signing the Compact today demonstrates the Administration's continued leadership in resolving Indian water rights and providing settlements that truly benefit Indian tribes. The Compact not only ensures delivery of a safe and sanitary supply of water for tribal members, but also will bolster the Tribe's economic security." Governor Schweitzer offered his support stating, "Today is an important day in Montana history—execution of the Crow-Montana Compact evidences the State's dedication to successfully resolving both Indian and federal reserved water rights claims through settlement negotiations."
While Senator Baucus and Senator Tester were unable to attend the signing ceremony they provided comments on the historic event. As Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Baucus worked hard to build a bi-partisan compromise around the Crow-Montana Water Rights Compact to help successfully pass the legislation in the U.S. Senate in December 2010. "Today's execution of the Crow-Montana Compact represents a promise to the Crow Nation that they will receive clean and reliable water and that this will pave the way to new jobs and hope for economic development in the future," said Senator Baucus. Senator Tester, a strong supporter of the Crow Water Settlement both during his time as a Montana State Senator and as U.S. Senator stated, "I have witnessed first-hand the hard work and dedication by all of the parties involved that culminates today with the execution of the Crow-Montana Compact." Senator Tester continued, "This Compact will bring much needed jobs to the great State of Montana and will guarantee that the Crow people have clean and reliable drinking water."
SOURCE Executive Branch of the Apsaalooke Nation