SANTA FE, N.M. -- After a meeting with Colorado Governor Roy Romer and Lt. Governor Gail Schoettler, the chairmen of the two Colorado Ute Indian Tribes praised the officials' commitment to back a drastically reduced Animas-La Plata Project.
Judy Knight Frank of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Clement Frost of the Southern Ute Tribe applauded Romer and Schoettler for giving their support to what has been dubbed "ALP-Lite."
The state's top two elected officials traveled to Santa Fe to meet with the Tribal leaders and their elected councils, who were attending the annual meeting of the National Congress of American Indians. Representatives from water districts in Colorado and New Mexico also attended.
Romer and Schoettler also pledged to meet as soon as possible with Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Carol Browner, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to discuss repeated studies and analyses which have brought long and costly deIays in fulfilling the terms of the 1988 Colorado Ute Indian Water rights Settlement Act.
"Governor Romer made very strong statements about the need to fulfill obligations to the Tribes, and Lt. Governor Schoettler agreed," Frost said. "They are people of "their word, and so we expect they will play a huge role in moving ALP-Lite forward in a timely fashion."
Frank said the tribes "welcome their support and recognition of our good faith effort to bring the cost down, and of the fact that we've always played by the rules. They know that has backfired on us in a lot of ways, and just like us, they have had enough of the delays."
She also said "the voices of Romer and Schoettler added to the other supporters of the modified project will strengthen the effort to meet the spirit and intent of the negotiated settlement."
"We look forward to working with the Governor and Lt. Governor and our friends in Congress to build ALP-Lite and finally get the new water supply that was agreed to in the 1988 Settlement Act," Frost said. "We'd sure like to see the administration follow suit because we've addressed the cost and environmental issues fairly and squarely."
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