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Torres-Martinez Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians of California

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The band will get $6 million compensation for the continued flooding of its land by the Salton Sea under a deal approved by the House of Representatives. The Senate is yet to take up the matter. If approved, the $6 million will be paid by early October. In addition to the $6 million from the Interior Department, the tribe will get $4 million from the Justice Department and $4 million from two local water districts. It will end a dispute that began when the federal government gave the Torres-Martinez 11,800 acres of land underneath the Salton Sea. Under the settlement, the tribe also has the right to buy up to 640 acres of land near Interstate 10 in Coachella to build a casino. "We knew it was coming," Torres-Martinez Tribal Chairwoman Mary Belardo said. "Hopefully, it will make it through (the Senate)." Belardo said there are as many as 400 tribal members with individual claims to underwater land. The remaining settlement money from the Justice Department, Coachella Valley Water District and Imperial Irrigation District will be made available once Congress approves the $6 million. The lawsuit accused the water districts of trespassing on Torres-Martinez land by directing water from farm irrigation runoff into the Salton Sea.