Regional
10:41 am
Fri October 2, 2009

Native Water Project Moves Forward

New Mexico – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Thursday signed the final environmental impact statement for a project to supply water to the Navajo Nation, the Jicarilla Apache Nation and the city of Gallup.

Salazar signed documents in Washington, D.C., joined by three members of New Mexico's congressional delegation, Democrats Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan.

Congress in March passed a massive public lands bill that included legislation settling a decades-long dispute over Navajo water claims.

The legislation settled the tribe's claims in the San Juan River Basin and authorized a pipeline to serve Gallup and Navajo communities in New Mexico and eastern Arizona.

Salazar said moving the project ahead will provide a sustainable water supply and a foundation for economic development in northwestern New Mexico.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.