—The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Hill Creek Cultural Preservation and Energy Development Act [H.R. 356], which was introduced by Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on January 23, 2013. The legislation would facilitate the exchange of approximately 20,000 acres of state-held mineral rights within the Hill Creek Extension of the Ute Indian Reservation for mineral rights on approximately 20,000 acres of land in the northern portion of the reservation. This long-sought exchange will preserve tribal cultural lands located within the southern part of the Reservation while also providing new opportunities for energy development further north away from cultural and environmentally sensitive areas.
"I am pleased that we are one step closer to making this long-sought exchange a reality for the Ute tribe and the State of Utah. This bill balances the unique interests of both the Ute tribe and the State of Utah. With this legislation we accomplish the goals of protecting both sensitive tribal lands and the state's and tribe's ability to generate funding for public education and other vital needs," said Bishop.
Congressman Jim Matheson (UT-04), Congressman Jason Chaffetz (UT-03), and Congressman Chris Stewart (UT-02), as well as Senator Mike Lee (Utah), are original co-sponsors of the legislation.