Bishop Criteria: The Future Of Indian Water Settlements

Bishop Criteria: The Future Of Indian Water Settlements

Jan 10, 2017

Article

Author, Law360, January 10, 2017

On Feb. 26, 2015, the chairman of the United States House Natural Resources Committee, Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT-1), sent a letter to the United States Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Justice concerning Indian water settlements that sent shock waves through Indian Country. To the dismay of many, Bishop informed the DOI and DOJ that the House Resources Committee would not consider any Indian water settlement legislation until and unless several new criteria were met, which ultimately became referred to as the “Bishop Criteria.” As discussed in more detail below, the process worked. Indeed, the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana successfully moved its water settlement through the House under the newly developed criteria — making the settlement one of the first to successfully navigate this new process, and one of the first settlements to become law since 2010.

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