Navajo Nation president calls for funds to tackle burdensome regulations

Navajo Nation President Shelly testified on Monday before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies regarding the Navajo Nation’s fiscal 2015 budget priorities including natural resource management, public safety and justice, health, education and abandoned mine cleanup.

Also testifying was Navajo-Hopi Land Commission Chairman and Council Delegate, Walter Phelps (Cameron, Coalmine Canyon, Tsidi To’ii, Leupp, Tolani Lake).

Tribal leaders nationwide are providing testimony before the subcommittee April 7 and 8 during the two-day hearing on Capitol Hill.

In his testimony, President Shelly called for an increase in the Natural Resource Management line item. “Regulatory approval and permit requirements are burdensome. Funding this line item will allow us to better utilize our resources and will help create jobs,” said President Shelly.

For public safety and justice budget priorities, President Shelly said, “The Navajo Nation supports a recent bipartisan Indian Law and Order Commission report to Congress that recommends sufficient funding for Indian Country law enforcement.”

Regarding health, President Shelly said that the Navajo Nation fully supports IHS health care facilities construction. “One of the funded facilities within President Obama’s proposed 2015 budget is the Kayenta Health Center. When completed, this facility will provide quality health care to more than 19,000 people,” added President Shelly.

President Shelly urged lawmakers to fully fund higher education scholarships and elementary and secondary education through the Bureau of Indian Education.

Concerning environmental needs, the president requested resources be put forth to assist tribal coal-based economies, like the Navajo Nation, to invest in clean coal technology and renewable energy projects. Addressing the legacy of uranium mining, President Shelly requested the federal government fully fund the EPA’s ongoing five-year cleanup plan and fund a comprehensive health study on the long term effects of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation.

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