Summary: S.1771 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (10/09/1998)

Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation Indian Reserved Water Rights Settlement Act of 1998 - Approves and ratifies the Water Rights Compact entered into on April 14, 1997, by the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation and the State of Montana, as modified by this Act. Directs the Secretary of the Interior to execute and implement the Compact.

Requires the United States, the Tribe, or the State of Montana to petition the Montana Water Court to enter and approve the decree agreed to by such parties. Voids the Compact if approval by the appropriate court does not become final within three years after the filing of the decree or the decree is approved but subsequently set aside.

(Sec. 6) Directs the Secretary to administer and enforce the Tribal Water Right until the approval of a tribal water code. Satisfies any entitlement to Federal Indian reserved water of any tribal member solely from the water secured to the Tribe by the Compact.

Authorizes the Tribe, subject to the Secretary's approval and Compact conditions, to enter into a service contract or other agreement providing for the temporary delivery, use, or transfer of water rights confirmed to the Tribe in the Compact.

(Sec. 7) Directs the Secretary, through the Bureau of Reclamation, to: (1) perform a municipal, rural, and industrial, domestic, and incidental drought relief feasibility study of water and related resources in North Central Montana to evaluate alternatives for a amunicipal, rural, and industrial supply for the Reservation; and (2) conduct a regional feasibility study to evaluate such water and resources to determine limitations and how resources can best be managed to serve the needs of Montana's citizens.

(Sec. 8) Requires the Secretary to allocate a specified amount of stored water to the Tribe without cost. Grants the Tribe the right to devote the water to any use within or outside the Reservation.

(Sec. 9) Authorizes and directs the Secretary, through the Bureau, to plan, design, and construct specified water development projects on the Reservation. Permits the Tribe, upon request, to carry out such activity subject to an agreement with the Secretary.

(Sec. 10) Establishes the Chippewa Cree Indian Reserved Water Rights Settlement Trust Fund to fulfill the purposes of this Act, subject to certain restrictions on expenditures.

(Sec. 11) Authorizes appropriations. Provides for the return of unexpended funds appropriated under this Act to the Treasury in the event the ratification of the Compact by the United States becomes null and void.

(Sec. 12) Describes the State contribution to the settlement.

(Sec. 13) Removes the Tribe's right to withdraw as a party to the Compact unless the ratification of the Compact by the United States becomes null and void.

Requires the Tribe to release the United States from the following claims, the validity of which is not recognized by the United States: (1) claims to or for water rights, injuries to water rights, loss or deprivation of water rights, and failures to acquire or develop water rights for tribal lands from time immemorial to the date of Compact ratification; and (2) claims arising out of negotiation of the Compact and settlement. Entitles the United States, in the event the release does not become effective, to set off any funds transferred to the Tribe under this Act against any claim for damages.