Aug 30, 2012 5:40 PM by Victoria Fregoso-Q2 News
BILLINGS - It is a historical day for the Crow Tribe, as they signed a contract with the Bureau of Reclamation to create a clean drinking water system on the reservation.
The contract is part of the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act. It gives the tribe $246 million over the next ten years to plan, design and construct the Municipal, Rural and Industrial Water System.
This will be the first ever clean drinking water system on the reservation.
During the signing ceremony held here in Billings this morning at the James F. Battin Federal Courthouse, Crow Tribe Chairman Cedric Black Eagle calls the contract a win-win situation because it will also boost economic development in the area. "We have somewhere between 30 and 40 percent unemployment on the reservation so it helps us with that," Black Eagle said. "And plus it helps the surrounding area in economic development of materials, equipment and so forth."
Also present at the meeting were representatives for Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester. In a press release Baucus said "Reliable clean drinking water is a building block for healthy families, healthy communities and a healthy economy. Today marks one more monumental step in our fight to make sure the Crow community has access to the clean water they deserve to protect their families and help their economy grow and create jobs." Baucus sponsored the Crow Water Rights Settlement Act that passed in 2010.
The tribe plans on holding a ground breaking ceremony in September for their new water system.