The legislation, H.R. 1491, was approved on a voice vote by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which is chaired by Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM). SYV Coalition Chairman Bill Krauch appeared before the Committee on April 26 to register the group’s objections and propose amendments that would address the environmental and private property impacts of the legislation.
Although Sen. Hoeven ordered both sides to find common ground, the tribe has refused to sit down and discuss a compromise. Krauch informed Hoeven about the tribe’s lack of cooperation to make the development work for all parties involved. The Committee approved the bill anyway.
“We are outraged by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee’s latest action,” Krauch said. “This action is a direct repudiation of the notion of protecting property rights. Make no mistake about it, what is happening in the Santa Ynez Valley could happen anywhere else in the country.”
If enacted, H.R. 1491 would ratify the last-minute action by the Obama administration to approve the Santa Ynez Chumash Tribe’s application for the Camp 4 fee-to-trust land acquisition.
More importantly, it would also extinguish at least three federal lawsuits challenging that decision’s legality, giving a tribe of fewer than 150 members a “blank check” to eventually develop the land however they wish, including with a commercial development or entertainment complex.
Below is the full statement from Santa Ynez Valley Coalition Chair Bill Krauch:
Remarkably, the Committee approved this bill even after the Committee Chairman, Senator Hoeven, directly asked, during the hearing on this bill in April, that the Coalition and Tribe meet and find “common ground” on the significant consequences that would arise from the enactment of H.R. 1491. Chairman Kahn and the Tribe rejected our efforts to initiate these substantive discussions on the very issues on which the Chairman asked us to try and find that “common ground.“
The legislation now proceeds to consideration by the full Senate where we will continue seeking assurances that H.R. 1491 will be modified to protect the residents of the Santa Ynez Valley and beyond.
The mission of the Santa Ynez Valley Coalition is ensuring that the Santa Ynez Valley residents have a voice in land use decisions affecting our water, environment, public safety and economy and opposes “Fee to Trust” efforts by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. The Coalition engages in outreach and education efforts with policymakers and residents regarding the importance of maintaining local control of land use in the Santa Ynez Valley.
For more about the Coalition go to http://www.SYVCoalition.com