Washington DC – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today introduced legislation to improve water quality and services for tribal communities in Oregon.
Native American tribes in Oregon and across the West are suffering from inadequate water infrastructure, with aging drinking water treatment and distribution systems subjecting these communities to serious problems such as failed pressure relief valves, burst pipes and unsafe drinking water. Wyden and Merkley’s Ley de Infraestructura de Agua Tribal Occidental – which was first introduced in 2019 – will help move these communities out of the cycle of temporary and emergency fixes to those problems by ensuring stable and reliable federal investments in water infrastructure projects.
Wyden raised this issue today during Interior Secretary-Designate Deb Haaland’s nomination hearing in the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee and secured her commitment to work on solutions. Click aquí to watch a video of the exchange.
“Clean drinking water is a human right. Yet, The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and other Native American Tribes around America have to rely on inadequate water infrastructure that has left many with limited or no access to clean water in the middle of a pandemic,” dijo Wyden. “Boil water notices and crumbling pipes are not acceptable. Congress must do more to bring urgently needed resources to build sustainable tribal water infrastructure that has been neglected for far too long. And I look forward to working on this with Congresswoman Deb Haaland when she takes the helm of the Interior Department.”
“The crisis at the Warm Springs Reservation is a powerful example of the serious water infrastructure challenges facing tribes—challenges that have only been made more urgent by the coronavirus crisis,” dijo Merkley. “It is critically important that we help ensure that every tribal nation has reliable access to drinking water by replacing outdated pipe systems. The Western Tribal Water Infrastructure Act can help us pave a path forward to turn those infrastructure upgrades into reality.”
“Esta legislación arrojaría un salvavidas a tribus como Warm Springs que necesitan urgentemente mejoras en la infraestructura del agua para atender a sus miembros tribales”. Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Chairman Raymond Tsumpti said.
“Climate change is threatening the water supply of many Oregon communities — even on the coast. Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley’s bill would help Oregon tribes access funds to avert those challenges,” Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians Chairman Dee Pigsley said.
The Western Tribal Water Infrastructure Act introduced today will:
- Ayudar a las tribus de Oregón a conectar, expandir o reparar los sistemas públicos de agua existentes para mejorar la calidad del agua, la presión del agua o los servicios de agua asegurando que las tribus en la cuenca del río Columbia y sus cuencas costeras adyacentes sean elegibles para el Programa de agua potable de la reserva indígena;
- Autorizar a la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de EE. UU. a financiar hasta 10 proyectos de mejora del agua por año para las tribus de la cuenca del río Columbia y sus cuencas costeras adyacentes;
- Requerir que al menos uno de los 10 proyectos de mejora del agua autorizados ayude a los gobiernos tribales del oeste de Oregón a mejorar la infraestructura del agua; y
- Make the Indian Reservation Drinking Water program permanent and increase its funding from $20 million per year to $50 million per year.
Una copia del texto de la factura está disponible. aquí.