Hopi lawmakers narrowly endorsed a controversial water settlement today, the latest in a heated dispute over the future of the Little Colorado River.
Hopi Chairman LeRoy Shingoitewa broke a tie in favor of the water agreement, which will settle Hopi and Navajo claims to the Little Colorado.
He says the settlement will manage the Navajo aquifer, the Hopis current source of water.
And he says it will provide a pipeline to get that water to the reservation, where some village wells are contaminated with arsenic or uranium.
But opponents says today’s vote violates a resolution passed by the Council last week.
That resolution rejected a water settlement bill introduced in Congress by Senator Jon Kyl.
Shingoitewa says the Hopis did not negotiate some of the provisions that Kyl included in his bill and would like to see changes.
“Our concern is with the language that deals with Navajo Generating Station, Peabody Coal, and also, as we pick up more land that the tribe is buying, we want to make sure that the land goes into trust,” he says.
The Navajo Tribal Council will take up the water settlement next Thursday in Window Rock.