Ute’s ‘SITLA Land Exchange’ Bill Passes Senate, Awaits President’s Signature

The United States Senate passed the Ute Indian Tribe’s “SITLA Land Exchange” bill and now the bill is headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The bill, H.R. 356, passed the House on May 15 with last month’s Senate passage being the final step.

“Over the last two and half years, the Business Committee worked cooperatively with Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) to tell members of Congress how the bill will return lands in the Hill Creek Extension to the tribe, promote tribal energy development, and also protect an environmentally and culturally significant area on the Reservation,” a tribal press release stated following the passage. “The Business Committee and SITLA’s persistence over these years was needed to obtain hearings on the bill, keep the bill moving through Congress, and overcome political differences between members of Congress that prevents most legislation from passing.”

Passage of this bill in Congress was seen as a major accomplishment given how few bills pass through each year.

Chairman Gordon Howell said in the release, “Our work in Washington, D.C., and the work of Business Committee members before us, finally paid off in the passage of this important bill. With this bill, we will be able to protect our most valuable resources while also promoting energy development.

“The Business Committee thanks the Utah Delegation and members of Congress for taking action on this needed legislation.”

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