WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABC4) – While the COVID-19 relief package approved by Congress Monday night could mean many Americans will receive another stimulus check, Congress also approved a bill settling a decades-long negotiation over water rights.
According to a release from Navajo Nation, Congressman Ben McAdams and Senator Mitt Romney have worked quietly for months to urge House and Senate leaders to approve the “Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement Act,” joining on a letter in October to move it forward after the bill passed the Senate earlier.
The bill is part of legislation awaiting President Donald Trump’s signature.
“In the 21st century, to have Americans living on the Navajo reservation without access to clean, running water is unconscionable. Now more than ever, as these citizens grapple with a surge of COVID-19 cases, safe, secure, clean water is essential to their health,” says McAdams. “This was a Team Utah effort and I was proud to be part of achieving this long overdue outcome.”
According to the release, the McAdams-Romney letter notes that on the Navajo Reservation, nearly 40% of the population lacks running water and/or adequate sanitation in their homes.
The legislation works to address that issue by providing about $220 million in funding for drinking water projects on the reservation.
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