WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Congressman Ben McAdams (D-UT) today urged action on legislation that would secure clean drinking water for Navajo Nation in Utah. Romney and McAdams sent a joint letter to the House Speaker, House Majority Leader, and House Committee on Natural Resources Chair urging passage of the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted the Navajo Nation in our state, and the shortage of running water in nearly half of homes is contributing to the spread,” Senator Romney said. “People deserve to have running water, and with each day our legislation is held up by the House Democratic Leadership, Utah Navajos continue to experience hardship from lack and shortage of running water. The Navajo Water Rights Settlement Act has been a very long time in the making, and I was proud that the Senate unanimously passed it. Congressmen Bishop, Curtis, and McAdams are leading the fight in the House to get this legislation across the finish line, and it is my hope that it will not continue to be unreasonably held up. Let’s send this bill to the president’s desk without any more delay.”
“Access to clean, running water is something everyone should have for the health and safety of their families. It is unthinkable that right here in my home state, families on the Navajo Reservation are forced to do without this crucial resource,” Congressman McAdams said. “The Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act is the result of collaboration between the state of Utah, Navajo Nation, and the federal government. I’m glad to stand with Senator Romney in urging for action on this important legislation.”
Their letter reads in part, “As you are aware, Indian Country, and especially the Navajo Nation, has been devastated by COVID-19 in large part because of the lack of safe drinking water for essential preventative measures, such as hand washing. On the Navajo Reservation, nearly 40 percent of the population lacks running water and/or adequate sanitation in their homes. The Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act would work to address this issue by providing approximately $220 million in funding for drinking water projects on the Reservation.”
The Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act unanimously passed the Senate earlier this year as part of a package of Tribal water bills (S. 886). Romney and McAdam’s letter specifically requests that S. 866 be placed on the House floor for a vote and final passage as soon as possible.