Eunice Tso meets with Sen. McCain and Navajo Chapter Officials
“We believe the time has come to resume water rights negotiations,”–Lee Jack Sr.
Navajo Nation Council Delegate, Lee Jack Sr. coordinated a meeting that included the Navajo chapters he represents, Navajo Veterans, and Arizona Senator John McCain. The purpose of the meeting on January 22, 2016 was to discuss the need to resume the Northeastern Arizona Indian Water Rights Settlement. ETD's Eunice Tso was invited to the meeting for her experience managing development projects and formally serving as a water rights commissioner.
In 2012, the Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement (S. 2109) failed to pass Navajo and Hopi tribal councils. The main points of disagreement included; the renewal of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) and Peabody Coal Mine leases, high level of activist group outcry, public and leadership confusion, and failed attempt to renegotiate. The settlement would have mandated congressional funding for a water pipeline from the Leupp Well area to Dilkon in the amount of $400 million.
The south-central area of the Navajo Nation comprises of White Cone, Indian Wells, Greasewood Springs, Teesto, and Dilkon Chapters which Jack Sr. represents. These communities are depended on a shallow alluvial aquifer along the Pueblo Colorado which does not meet the water supply needs. Teesto Chapter President, Elmer Begay, and the Navajo Nation Division of Health Services planner, stated that a new hospital is in the planning stages for Dilkon but the lack of water is a major hindrance. Veterans’ health care was discussed as part of the need for the regional hospital. One of the three veterans involved mentioned to McCain that he was a Vietnam vet who came out of the war on a stretcher. McCain replied that he too was a Vietnam vet that came out of the war on a stretcher.