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Governor Jerry Brown has pledged his strong support for the San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority in the organization’s battle with the Interior and Justice Departments.

The California Governor met March 17th with Rincon Chairman Bo Mazzetti, LaJolla Chairwoman LaVonne Peck, and Ken Salazar, former Secretary of the Interior, now chief legal counsel for SLRIWA. Also attending the meeting were Cynthia Gomez, the Governor’s Tribal Advisor, and Joe Dillon, Senior Advisor to the Governor.

The meeting with the Governor focused on HR 4265, a new bill soon to be submitted in the House of Representatives. The bill is presently co-sponsored by Duncan Hunter (R); George Miller (D); Ken Calvert (R); Scott Peters, (D); and Juan Vargas (D).

One year ago the Interior and Justice Departments unexpectedly took an adversarial position on the issue of “trust responsibility” of the water rights of the five SLRIWA Bands involving the Bands’ access to 16,000 acre feet of water and rejected the proposed Water Settlement Agreement. Governor Brown supports the proposed legislation, citing that the position taken by Interior and Justice “doesn’t make sense.” The Governor also said he “can’t figure out the Feds’ rationale for taking this adversarial position.” Governor Brown will personally be contacting Senators Feinstein and Boxer in support of the SLRIWA, as well as other federal officials.

Ken Salazar stated the meeting with Governor Brown was “outstanding,” and “couldn’t have gone better.” Said Chairman Mazzetti, “I’m pleased the meeting went so well. Having the Governor’s support on the water settlement is critical.”

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