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The Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Reclamation, announces the availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Pojoaque Basin Regional Water System, as authorized by the Aamodt Litigation Settlement Act. The FEIS responds to comments received on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement during the comment period that ended on February 27, 2017, and identifies Alternative E as the preferred alternative for the Pojoaque Basin Regional Water System.

The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) prepared the FEIS in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Indian Health Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pueblo de San Ildefonso, Pueblo of Nambé, Pueblo of Pojoaque, Pueblo of Tesuque, New Mexico Department of Transportation, Santa Fe County, and the City of Santa Fe. The FEIS has been updated according to public comments received during the 45-day Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) public review period (January 13-February 27, 2017) and other project updates. A summary of changes between the DEIS and FEIS is included in Chapter 1 of the FEIS.

Background: The Pojoaque Basin Regional Water System (RWS) is described in and authorized by the Aamodt Litigation Settlement Act (Title VI of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010; Public Law 111-291, Title VI; 124 Stat. 3065) (“Settlement Act”). The Settlement Act authorizes and ratifies the Aamodt Litigation Settlement Agreement (Settlement Agreement), dated January 19, 2006, as conformed to the Settlement Act and amendments. The settlement parties are the United States; the State of New Mexico; Santa Fe County; City of Santa Fe; Pueblo de San Ildefonso, Pueblo of Nambé, Pueblo of Pojoaque, Pueblo of Tesuque (Settlement Pueblos); and other individuals. The Settlement Agreement resolves the water rights claims of the Settlement Pueblos.

Among other provisions, the RWS and 2,220 acre-feet per year of new water supply to the basin are included in the Settlement Agreement in exchange for the Pueblos agreeing to reduce their claims to water within the basin and to limit their priority calls against existing non-Pueblo water users. The Settlement Agreement also addresses funding for other water-related projects on the Settlement Pueblos.

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