- Short Title:
This Title shall be known and may be cited as the "Santa Rosa Rancheria, Tachi Yokut Tribe’s Groundwater Protection Act."
- Purpose :
The Tribe in enacting this Title intends to establish the policy of protecting and preserving the groundwater resources that are found or used within Tribal jurisdiction. The Tribe is compelled to enact this law because destruction or injury to these resources presents a significant threat to the health, safety and economic integrity of the Tribe. In addition, without protection of this valuable resource, the purpose for which the Reservation of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, Tachi Yokut Tribe was created would be defeated. By enacting this Title, the Tribe establishes regulations for the use of groundwater that is found or used within the Tribe’s jurisdiction.
Citation means the document or form that is approved by the Tribal Council and is issued by a Tribal enforcement officer to any person who allegedly violates the provisions of this Title.
Groundwater resources of the Reservation means any groundwater resource that is located or used within the territorial jurisdiction of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, Tachi Yokut Tribe and includes water that is present in the saturated zone of an aquifer, or below the land surface in a zone of saturation or stratum beneath the surface of land or water, springs, and seeps.
Person means an individual, corporation, partnership, trust, institution, association, or any other private entity, or any officer, employee, agent, department or instrumentality of the United States, or of any State or political subdivision thereof. Person does not include the Tribe, or Tribal officials. Permit means the document issued by the Tribe and approved by the Tribal Council for acts that would otherwise constitute a violation of this Title.
Reservation means the Reservation of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, Tachi Yokut Tribe. State means any state in the United States and its territories. Tribal enforcement officer means the person or staff position that is authorized by the Tribal Council to enforce the provisions of this Title.
Tribal member means an enrolled member of the Tribe. Tribal jurisdiction means the territorial jurisdiction of the Tribe as set forth in the Tribal Law and Order Code. Tribe means the Santa Rosa Rancheria, Tachi Yokut Tribe.
- General Provisions:
In order to promote the general welfare, health, and safety, of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, Tachi Yokut Tribe and to assert the Tribe’s sovereign right to develop, manage, and preserve the groundwater resources of the Reservation the Tribal Council has determined that it is necessary:
(A) to preserve and protect all groundwater resources reserved for the Santa Rosa Rancheria, Tachi Yokut Tribe upon the creation of the Santa Rosa Rancheria
(B) to protect the treaty and aboriginal rights of the Tribe in the groundwater resources within the Tribe’s aboriginal territory;
(C) to provide for the exercise of the inherent sovereign power of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, Tachi Yokut Tribe to regulate the use of the groundwater resources that are found or used within the territorial jurisdiction of the Tribe.
- Ownership of Groundwater Resources:
The Tribe hereby asserts prior, exclusive and supreme sovereign rights in the ownership of and jurisdiction over the groundwater resources of the Rancheria.
The Tribe is the owner of all rights to the use of all groundwater resources of the Tribe as defined in this Title and this ownership is undiminished except that the United States hold legal title to the Tribe’s groundwater resources solely as trustee for the Tribe. No right or privilege of any kind, from whatever source shall be recognized or granted which may decrease or threaten to decrease the rights and interests of the Tribe as owner and regulator of the Tribe’s groundwater resources.
- Prohibited Acts:
It shall be unlawful for any person whether on or off the Reservation to withdraw or otherwise make any use of or adversely affect any groundwater resource of the Tribe unless a permit has been approved by the Tribal Council.
(A) Any person withdrawing or otherwise making any use of or adversely affecting any groundwater resource of the Tribe without a permit shall be guilty of a civil infraction of this Title.
(B) Any person that is within the external boundaries of the Reservation and is now withdrawing or otherwise making any use of any groundwater resource of the Tribe shall have sixty (60) days from the effective date of this Title to obtain a permit.
- Permit For Use of Groundwater Resources:
Every person must apply for a permit that may be approved by the Tribal Council to withdraw or otherwise make use of groundwater resources of the Tribe.
(A) The application must show the applicant’s name, mailing address, location of the groundwater use, amounts of groundwater to be used, and reasons for the use of the groundwater resource.
(B) No person who is a Tribal member will be denied a permit for household and agricultural uses of Tribal groundwater.
8. Contents of Permit:
The application for a permit under this Title shall be submitted to the Tribal Council immediately after completion and upon the Council’s approval the permit shall be issued on forms approved by the Tribal Council which shall contain the following information, in addition to any other information deemed necessary by the Tribal Council:
(A) the name and mailing address of the permitted user of groundwater;
(B) the location and legal description of the point where the groundwater resource is or will be withdrawn or used;
(C) the quantity of water which is or will be used during each month of the year;
(D) a description of the method of withdrawal;
(E) a description of how the groundwater will be used including acreage and crop if the water is for irrigation and the kind and number of stock if water is for stockwatering;
(F) the estimated date that groundwater is or will be withdrawn.
- Permit Fees:
The Tribal Council may by Resolution set fees for processing applications, issuing permits and other administrative costs necessary to carry out the provisions of this Title.
- Notice of Permit Requirement:
Upon enactment of this Title the Tribal Council shall ensure that all person affected by this Title are provided notice of the enactment of this Title and requirement for permit.
- Contents of Notice:
The notice required by Section 6 of this Title shall be displayed in the Tribal Office and mailed by regular mail to all present users of the Tribe’s groundwater resources and shall contain the following statement in boldface type:
NOTICE: After __ date no person shall be entitled to withdraw or make any use of or adversely affect the groundwater resources of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, Tachi Yokut Tribe unless such use is authorized by a Permit from the Tribal Council. As provided by the Tribal Law and Order Code, Title _, the Tribe is the exclusive and supreme owner of all groundwater resources that are found or used with the Tachi Yokut Rancheria. The necessary forms for permit application may be procured from the Tribal office.
- Authority of the Tribal Enforcement Officer:
The individual that is designated by the Tribal Council to enforce the provisions of this Title shall have the authority to:
(A) Demand to see the permit issued by the Tribal Council for use of Tribal groundwater resources.
(B) Issue a citation for a civil infraction for violation of this Title when the person is using Tribal groundwater resources without a permit.
(C) Remove, render inoperative, shut down, close, seal, cap, modify or otherwise control methods of withdrawal, and any activities that adversely affect Tribal groundwater resources.
(D) Enter upon any land within the Rancheria to inspect methods of withdrawal and other activities affecting the quality and quantity of groundwater and to install and monitor groundwater when necessary to administer provisions of this Title.
- Citation for Civil Infraction:
If an authorized Tribal enforcement officer determines that groundwater resources of the Tribe have been withdrawn, used or affected without a permit from the Tribal Council, that officer shall sign and serve a written citation on the person allegedly responsible for a violation of this Title.
- Contents of a Citation:
The form to be used for a civil citation under this Title shall be approved by the Tribal Council and shall contain:
(A) a notice to appear in Court;
(B) the name and address of the person who is accused;
(C) the location of the alleged violation;
(D) a description of the alleged violation including citing the provisions of this Title or other provisions of the Tribal Law and Order Code which were violated;
(E) the time and place where the violation occurred;
(F) the time and place where and when the person shall appear in Tribal Court;
(G) the name and identification of the officer who issued the citation;
(H) other pertinent information as may be necessary.
(I) The officer must attest to the truthfulness of the information contained in the citation.
(J) This citation shall be filed with the Court and shall constitute a lawful civil complaint.
- Service of Citation:
A civil infraction citation for a violation of this Title may be served by any of the following methods:
(A) By personal service on the person determined to be responsible for the violation. A copy of the citation signed by the person shall be proof of service.
(B) By mailing the citation by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the responsible person at his/her last known address.
(C) By publication in a newspaper that is circulated in the place where the responsible person was last known to reside.
(D) By posting a copy of the citation in the Tribal office.
- Money Damage
The violation of any provision of this Title shall be a civil infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding OneThousand Dollars ($1,000.00) for each day that the violation occurs. A civil infraction is not a crime and shall not subject a responsible person to criminal punishment. The fines imposed under this section are intended as a remedial measure designed to compensate the Tribe for the harm caused by the violation of this Title regardless of the amount of groundwater used or the damage to the groundwater that the responsible person caused. The penalty assessed is also intended to provide the revenue for the Tribe to enforce the provisions of this Title.
- Civil Penalty:
Any person who violates any provision of this Title shall be strictly liable for all damages resulting from such violation.
(A) The Court may order the guilty person to pay money damages, restoration costs, costs of the legal action, and attorney’s fees.
18. Injunctive Relief
The Court may order injunctive relief against any person that has violated this Title when there is reason to believe that the violations will continue. Injunctive relief may also be ordered when there is a reasonable belief that a violation of this Title is likely to occur.
- Tribal Sovereign Immunity
Nothing herein waives the sovereign immunity of the Tribe or the Tribal Council. The employees and appointees of the Tribe and the individual members of the Tribal Council shall not be liable for any acts or failure to act under this Title.
If any provision of this Title or its application to any person, entity or circumstance is held to be invalid, the remainder of the Title shall not be affected.
The provisions of this Title shall be liberally construed to effectuate its purposes.
- Responsibility of the United States The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior and its agencies shall provide reasonable technical, financial, and other assistance to the Tribe to assist in the administration and enforcement of this Title.