Akin Gump Joins Crow Tribe To Celebrate Landmark Water Settlement
Akin Gump joined the Crow Tribe in Montana recently to celebrate the implementation of the tribe's landmark water settlement. The Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act passed in late 2010 and just became fully enforceable in June, after six years of work fulfilling its enforceability requirements.
The law firm represented the Crow Tribe on the bill's passage and implementation.
At the celebration, Don Pongrace, who heads Akin Gump's American Indian law and policy practice, received a Crow War Bonnet from Howard Shane and Kenny Shane in appreciation of his legal work on the Crow Nation's water rights.
"We are thrilled to be able to join the Crow Tribe today in celebrating this momentous occasion,” Don said in a statement. After six years of diligent work by the tribe, Akin Gump and the federal government, "it is tremendously gratifying to be able to see this settlement through to its full implementation."
One of the largest water rights settlements in US history, the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act provides the tribe with $460M in federal benefits and water rights of more than 1 million acre feet per year.
Above, Bureau of Reclamation commissioner Estevan Lopez with Crow Nation chairman Darrin N. Old Coyote.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (above) spoke at the celebration, as did Sen. Jon Tester.
The settlement will provide the tribe with benefits, including the first clean drinking water system for the Crow Reservation, rehabilitation of a reservation irrigation project, and hydropower development rights on the Big Horn River.