U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) -- member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs -- and U.S. Representative Steve Watkins (KS-02) today introduced the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Water Rights Settlement Agreement Act.
Dating back to the 1970s, the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas has worked to achieve water security for its livelihood and that of its members. After a decade of negotiations between the tribe, state and federal entities, the state and tribe reached a settlement in September 2016, determining the various elements of the Tribal Water Right.
The Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Water Rights Settlement Agreement Act approves the tribe's water right, establishes the administration of the right by the state as the senior water right in the Delaware River basin and provides no funding for future water storage projects. Federal law requires such settlements involving tribes to be affirmed by Congress.
"I recognize and appreciate the extensive time and effort the Kickapoo tribe and the state of Kansas have committed over the past decade to reaching this agreement," said Sen. Moran. "This is a local solution to a local natural resource matter that Congress ought to approve. Last Congress, we made significant progress on advancing this legislation that would finally provide Kickapoo vital water security for its reservation and residents, and I will continue working with my colleagues to get this across the finish line."
"This bill is an important step forward in approving the Kickapoo Tribe's Water Settlement Agreement," said Rep. Watkins. "The Kickapoo Tribe deserves water security and I am committed to continuing to work on this issue with my colleagues in both Chambers of Congress."
The Kickapoo reservation encompasses 30 square miles in Brown County and is comprised of 1,600 members, 400 of whom live on or near the reservation.
Items to Note:
Sen. Moran introduced the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas Water Rights Settlement Agreement Act last Congress, was marked up in a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing in September.