Naabik’iyati Committee now on approving $2 grazing fee for Eastern Navajo

Naabik’iyati Committee now on Legislation 0012-15 Relating To Naabik’iyati’ Committee; Approving Grazing Fees For Eastern Navajo Agency Of The Navajo Nation; And Requesting Approval By The Federal Government.

We tried to pass in 22nd Council and time ran out. Setting of grazing fee set by federal government and why Bureau of Indian Affairs involved and there is tri-party agreement between Navajo Nation, New Mexico, BIA. Every ten years, grazing permits issued and when that happens there is always discussion of what is fair grazing fee. And so there was federal study on grazing capacity. Recommended $9 to BIA and Navajo Nation Land Board and Navajo people said couldn’t pay because could go as high as $1,000 a year. Many of these pple live in high poverty level by US Census but we feel not improverished. When approved, this legislation will be sent to BIA and grazing permits will be re-issued. Many people waiting in line and permitees also need to submit conservation plan, which people have asked BIA to hire consultants to create conservation plans that will be about 20 pages. The conservation plan will be attached to application for grazing permit. If look at proposed Navajo Nation Rangeland Act, it says 25 sheep units maximum. But this is only looking at fee.

As part of our requirement from federal government, we had 13 public meetings where between 400 and 500 people attended. We went through carrying capacity studies. People asked for more information on conservation plans and so we held 10 more meetings. There were lot of questions and concerns especially by elders. After the public meetings, we started negotiations with land owner, which is Navajo Nation. We provided info to Council’s Resources & Development Committee, and held two-day work session with Land Boards and Navajo Department of Agriculture. from that sessio, it was recommended to adopt $2, not $9 fee. Final phase is final resolution from Council to adopt $2 fee and why here today. But accountable range management remains a priority.

On Dec. 6, 2015, Eastern Navajo Agency passed resolution and so what was the final outcome. This legislation recommends $2 but then it says that BIA shall adopt $2 and there is no agreement between Navajo Nation and BIA for $2 fee. I don’t want another elder coming up to me downhearted because they don’t know how to produce a conservation plan.

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