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Development ban on Navajo lands formally repealed

FLAGSTAFF – President Barack Obama signed legislation on Friday that officially repeals a decades-long development ban on the western edge of the Navajo Nation.

The construction ban was lifted in late 2006 after the Navajo and Hopi tribes reached an agreement in a land dispute and a federal judge signed off on it.

Tribal members have remained fearful that the ban known as the Bennett Freeze could be reinstated if the law that authorized it wasn’t repealed.

The area is home to about 8,000 Navajos and arguably is the most depressed on the reservation.

Tribal members are looking to rebuild but say it could cost billions of dollars to rehabilitate the area.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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