Press Release — Opponents Continue Efforts to Block Jobs and Economic Opportunity in the West Valley

On Sept. 17, 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1410, the result of an aggressive lobbying campaign from project opponents trying to protect their market share.

The bill creates a dangerous precedent by unilaterally altering a tribal land and water rights settlement. During the floor debate today, Rep. Raul Grijalva also warned that the Congress was “interjecting ourselves for the first time in our history into a state and tribal gaming compact,” putting all other tribal compacts at risk of future Congressional intervention.

Every matter raised in the debate over this bill has already been resolved or is presently before the courts. The Nation has already received a total of thirteen court and federal agency decisions in its favor. Unable to win a single challenge, two wealthy tribes are trying again to change the law so they can protect their massive market share

The passage of this misguided bill comes as no surprise. H.R. 1410 has so far followed in the footsteps of its legislative predecessor, H.R. 2938, which was passed by the House last year only to die in the U.S. Senate following stiff opposition from Arizona communities and other tribes. Despite last year’s failure, opponents are spending millions of dollars to again push this special interest legislation.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. said, “The Nation will continue to fight this transparent and desperate attempt to change the rules on behalf of a few wealthy East Valley tribes. We remain committed to creating jobs and opportunity in the West Valley and we trust this dangerous legislation will fail in the Senate.”

West Valley residents understand the need for the thousands of construction jobs and more than 3,000 permanent jobs this project will create, all at no cost to taxpayers. This is why more than two-thirds of West Valley voters consistently support the project, together with businesses groups, educators, and elected officials.

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