WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) reintroduced bipartisan legislation which would invest $1.3 billion in strengthening the Sanitation Facilities Construction Program to support water and sanitation projects for tribal communities.
“With some of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, the Navajo Nation faces a dire situation—due in large part to a lack of water infrastructure and sanitation facilities,” Senator Romney said. “Our legislation will address this issue head on by authorizing the construction and renovation of water and sewer sanitation facilities in Native communities in Utah and throughout the country.”
“COVID-19 continues to spread across Arizona, and has devastated Tribal communities like the Navajo Nation. Strengthening the Sanitation Facilities Construction Program ensures Tribal communities have access to safe running water and adequate sanitation to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Senator Sinema.
- The 2020 end-of-the-year funding legislation signed into law included the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act, Romney’s legislation to settle a decades-long negotiation among the Navajo Nation, federal government, and the State of Utah over water rights for Utah Navajos, which unanimously passed the Senate.
- An estimated 130,000 homes on Indian reservations lack access to running water and adequate sanitation. Additionally, the Navajo Nation, where 30 percent of the reservation population lacks access to running water, has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infections per capita when compared to states throughout the country.