PLI Dies in 114th Congress!



Ft. Duchesne, UT —December 16, 2016.

On December 9, 2016 the 114th Congress adjourned for the rest of the year and did not pass Congressman Bishop's and Congressman Chaffetz’s Utah Public Lands Initiative.  The bill is now dead.  If Congressman Bishop wants to continue to push his Utah Public Lands Initiative and its taking of the Ute Indian Tribe’s Reservation lands, he will have to reintroduce the bill in the next Congress which begins in January 2017.

The Ute Indian Tribe and the Tribe’s political action committee, Ute PAC, strongly opposed the bill and its impacts on the Tribe’s Reservation.  The bill was also opposed by the National Congress of American Indians, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council and many other tribes.

The bill would have stolen more than 100,000 acres of the Tribe’s Reservation lands for the State of Utah and impacted the Tribe’s sovereignty, jurisdiction and water rights across another 300,000 acres.  The Congressman had rushed his bill through his Committee in record time—one week.  But once on the floor of the House of Representatives the bill stalled and did not pass the House or the Senate. 

On January 3, 2017 Congress will meet for the beginning of the new 115th Congress.  Any bills that did not pass in the prior Congress will need to be reintroduced and hearings held.  The Ute Indian Tribe will continue to monitor the bill and plans to remain vigilant in protection of its lands and resources.

About the Ute Indian Tribe - The Ute Indian Tribe resides on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in northeastern Utah. Three bands of Utes comprise the Ute Indian Tribe: the Whiteriver Band, the Uncompahgre Band and the Uintah Band. The Tribe has a membership of more than three thousand individuals, with over half living on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation. The Ute Indian Tribe operates its own tribal government and oversees approximately 1.3 million acres of trust land which contains significant oil and gas deposits.  The Tribal Business Committee is the governing council of the Tribe.  

Robert Lucero