WASHINGTON (Dec. 3, 2021) – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) and Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.) are welcoming almost $2 million in funding from the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to support drought response projects for six Pueblos in New Mexico.
The funding is through the Native American Affairs Technical Assistance to Tribes Program. BOR's Native American Affairs Technical Assistance Program provides technical assistance to Indian Tribes to develop, manage, and protect their water and related resources. The program has supported a broad range of activities each year since its inception in the early 1990s.
“The federal government has a trust responsibility to Tribes– especially when it comes to basic necessities like water. This funding from the Bureau of Reclamation, along with relief we secured in the American Rescue Plan and the historic investments in water infrastructure in the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, will deliver on this commitment,” said Heinrich, member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. “I’m proud to see Pueblos across New Mexico directly benefitting from the infrastructure investments that I’ve been fighting for.”
“Robust water infrastructure is essential for the health and wellbeing of Tribal Nations, and these investments in six Pueblos in New Mexico will help preserve this critical resource,” said Luján, member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will deliver $3.5 billion for Tribal water and wastewater infrastructure – building off legislation that I introduced to make a difference in the lives of New Mexicans across the state.”
“Increased droughts and rising temperatures make resources like water critical for our Tribal communities. Our trust responsibility combined with the Pueblos’ reverence for their precious water means that the $2 million dollars in funding will help these six Pueblos not only survive, but thrive,” said Leger Fernández. “As the Chair of the Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples I championed water funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better Act.”
“I’m excited to see this funding come to Pueblos across New Mexico. Water is life and water is essential. Pueblo communities have lived and farmed on this land since time immemorial. Investments in water infrastructure are essential to keeping water flowing where it is needed most,” said Stansbury. “I’m looking forward to seeing these projects get underway, and all that will come from the bipartisan Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act we just passed. These projects are essential, especially as we are grappling with drought and climate change. The Build Back Better Act will help further these investments in drought and long-term climate resilience.”
The funding will be provided to Tribes as grants or cooperative agreements. The projects selected are:
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was recently signed into law includesprovisions championed by Senator Heinrich to improve Tribal access to clean water. The provisions in largely mirror the Tribal Access to Clean Water Act introduced by Senator Heinrich and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.).
The Native American and International Affairs Office in the Commissioner's Office serves as the central coordination point for the Native American Affairs Program and lead for policy guidance for Native American issues in Reclamation. To learn more, please visitwww.usbr.gov/native.