Environment | Politics

House approves bill to authorize land swap with Ute Tribe

By a voice vote, the House on Wednesday passed H.R.356, the Hill Creek Cultural Preservation and Energy Development Act.

The bill allows the Ute Tribe of Utah to protect 20,000 acres of culturally important sites on the reservation. The tribe already owns the surface rights but the mineral rights are owned by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, a state agency.

The bill transfers the mineral rights to the federal government. In exchange, the state will receive mineral rights in another area of the reservation where oil and gas development is already underway.

“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," Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said in a press release.

The Senate version of the bill is S.27. It was considered at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup this morning.

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House passes Ute tribe land swap (The Salt Lake Tribune 5/16)

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House approves bill to authorize land swap for Ute Tribe of Utah

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