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No Navajo Water Deal This Year

By John Fleck
Journal Staff Writer
       Congressional efforts to complete a deal over the Navajo Nation's water rights have failed for the year, but the issue should come up again when Congress returns to work in January, according to a spokeswoman for Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.
    The legislation was part of an omnibus legislative package Congress was unable to get to, but should be able to take up early next year, said Bingaman spokeswoman Jude McCartin.
    The legislation would provide federal approval for an agreement between the Navajo Nation and the state of New Mexico settling the Navajos' claims to water from the San Juan River in northwest New Mexico. The bill would also authorize funding for a pipeline to carry some of that water across western New Mexico to Navajo communities and the city of Gallup.
    The omnibus legislation, which also included funding for other New Mexico water and public lands projects, ran into Republican opposition that could have left it vulnerable to a filibuster in the short lame duck congressional session, McCartin said.