Byline: Thomas Hargrove HARGROVET@SHNS.COM / (202) 408-2703
WASHINGTON Senators got off to a rocky start as they took up the generations-old question of whether Sandia Pueblo owns the western slope of the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico's Cibola National Forest.
U.S. Interior Department Solicitor William Myers told a combined meeting of the Senate Energy and Indian Affairs committees Wednesday that the Bush administration hopes Congress can settle the dispute over ownership of 9,890 acres.
Myers said he wants to delay conducting a new land survey of the pueblo's grant, which was issued by the king of Spain in 1748.
"It is our position to wait to see first what Congress will do," Myers said.