Fisheries bills benefits Pacific Northwest tribes

Two pieces of legislation that will help Pacific Northwest tribes gain access to traditional fishing and settle water claims have been approved by Congress and are now expected to be signed by President Donald Trump.

“Both bills are good examples of how tribes can work with other governments in resolving issues at the local level,” said Sen. John Hoeven, R-ND., in an announcement on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

S.50, the Columbia River In-Lieu and Treaty Fishing Access Sites Improvement Act, allows the Bureau of Indian Affair to assess lands provided to the Columbia River Treaty Tribes for traditional fishing uses. The legislation allows the BIA to contract with Indian tribes or tribal organizations to improve sanitation, safety conditions and access to electricity, sewer and water infrastructure on the lands.

S.216, the Spokane Tribe of Indians of the Spokane Reservation Equitable Compensation Act, provides the Spokane Tribe with annual payments for continued use of tribal lands, based on sale of hydroelectric power generated by the Grand Coulee Dam.