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Wyden: Senate Advances Legislation To Improve Water Infrastructure, Quality

Luis Tosta

The push to improve water systems and safety for Native American tribes has cleared the U.S. Senate.

Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden says legislation co-authored with Senator Jeff Merkley was passed as part of the Drinking Water and Waste Water Infrastructure Act of 2021.  It would provide $250 million for tribes to upgrade and fix their water treatment systems.

”It prioritizes tribal projects that address ongoing emergency water situations," Wyden told KLCC.  "And that is exactly what the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs has been dealing with. 

"I believe water is a human right, investing in critical tribal infrastructure is a step toward the United Sates fulfilling treaty obligations to Native American tribes.”

Many tribal communities like Warm Springs have dealt with boil-water notices and unreliable pipes and valves in their distribution system for hears. The legislation now goes to the House of Representatives.

Copyright 2021, KLCC. 

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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