House passes water leasing act for Mescalero Apaches

From the Alamogordo Daily News - By John Bear, The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Mescalero Apache Tribe Leasing Authorization Act on Wednesday, according to a press release issued by Congressman Steve Pearce's office. The legislation, designated H.R. 1461, authorizes the Mescalero Apache tribe to lease, contract or transfer adjudicated water rights. It was cosponsored by Congressmen Lujan and Heinrich and matches the legislation from Senator Jeff Bingaman. Mescalero Apache tribal president Frederick Chino Sr. thanked Pearce for his work on the legislation, saying the bill allows the tribe to better manage its water and work with neighboring communities on water usage. A 1993 New Mexico court decision authorized the tribe to make soveriegn decisions with regard to its water. Revenue gained from leasing water enables the tribe to invest in services for their reservation, such as infrastructure improvements, elder care and scholarship programs. Read more


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