Summary: S.438 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (11/04/1999)

Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation Indian Reserved Water Rights Settlement and Water Supply Enhancement Act of 1999 - Requires the Chippewa Cree Tribe (Tribe) of the Rocky Boy's Reservation in Montana, in exchange for benefits granted under this Act, to execute a waiver and release of certain water rights claims against the United States.

Title I: Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation Indian Reserved Water Rights Settlement - Approves and ratifies the Water Rights Compact entered into on April 14, 1997, by the Tribe 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 proposed decree agreed to by such parties. Provides that 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: (1) the approval and ratification of the Compact by the United States shall be null and void; and (2) this Act shall be of no further force and effect.

(Sec. 102) Directs the Secretary to administer and enforce the Tribal Water Right until the approval of a tribal water code by the Tribe. 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 approval of the Secretary and the State and Compact conditions, to transfer any portion of the Tribal water right for use off the Reservation by service contract, lease, exchange, or other agreement.

(Sec. 103) Directs the Secretary: (1) through the Bureau of Reclamation, to plan, design, and construct specified water development projects on the Reservation; and (2) at the request of the Tribe, to enter into an agreement with the Tribe to carry out such activity through the Tribe's annual funding agreement entered into under the self- governance program under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act.

(Sec. 104) Establishes the Chippewa Cree Indian Reserved Water Rights Settlement Trust Fund to fulfill the purposes of this Act, subject to certain restrictions on expenditures. Sets forth management and investment requirements, terms, and conditions.

(Sec. 105) Authorizes appropriations for the Fund and its various accounts, for on-Reservation water development projects, and for Bureau administrative costs.

(Sec. 106) Describes the State contribution to the settlement.

Title II: Tiber Reservoir Allocation and Feasibility Studies Authorization - 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. 202) Directs the Secretary, through the Bureau, to: (1) perform a municipal, rural, industrial, domestic, and incidental drought relief feasibility study of water and related resources in North Central Montana to evaluate alternatives for a municipal, rural, and industrial water supply for the Reservation; and (2) conduct a regional feasibility study to evaluate such water and related resources to determine limitations and how such resources can best be managed to serve the needs of Montana's citizens. Authorizes appropriations for such feasibility studies.