Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) submitted a statement for the record in favor of investing additional federal dollars to support our nation’s wastewater infrastructure systems at the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment hearing, “Building Back Better: The Urgent Need for Investment in America’s Wastewater Infrastructure.”
Congresswoman Strickland, Chairwoman Grace Napolitano, and Chairman Peter DeFazio invited Chairman Bill Sterud of the Puyallup Tribe to testify during the hearing to highlight the importance of clean, safe drinking water to tribal communities in Washington state and across our country. (Please find a copy of the Congresswoman’s Statement for the Record below and attached.)
“For too long, the United States has lagged behind other developed countries in an effort to ensure all Americans can access clean and safe drinking water,” Strickland said. “Our lack of action on this urgent issue is hitting our Tribal and South Sound communities especially hard, as their access to consumable water is significantly limited and underfunded. We owe it to every single member of our community, especially our Tribal partners, to make significant improvements to these wastewater infrastructure systems so that everyone can have access to clean water. I want to thank Chairman Sterud for participating in this hearing, and am proud to highlight the voices of the Puyallup Tribe, and the South Sound.”
Please find the text of Congresswoman Strickland’s statement for the record to the subcommittee below:
Distinguished members of the subcommittee–it is an honor to have the opportunity to discuss these important issues. First and foremost, I extend my sincere thanks to Chairwoman Napolitano and Chairman DeFazio for working with my office to extend an invitation to the Puyallup Tribe to testify at today’s hearing.
Any conversation on wastewater infrastructure and the dire need for investment must include Tribal voices at the table. Chairwoman Napolitano and Chairman DeFazio understand that fundamental truth, and I am heartened that the Puget Sound, Washington’s 10th Congressional District, and the needs of the Puyallup Tribe are well-represented through the testimony of Chairman Bill Sterud. I thank him for his participation and leadership.
As reflected in Chairman Sterud’s testimony, it is clear that the Congress must renew our investment in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF), a key tool for our Tribes and communities. The Environmental Protection Agency projected that at least $271 billion in investment over 20 years is required to sufficiently repair our wastewater treatment infrastructure.
I echo Chairman Sterud’s testimony in highlighting both the health and infrastructure disparities for Tribal communities. The Indian Health Service estimates that the current water infrastructure sanitation needs for Native American homes and communities is $2.78 billion. Approximately 30% of homes across our nation’s Tribes require sanitation facility improvements. I stand with the Puyallup Tribe and the Chairman in supporting an increase to the Clean Water Indian Set-Aside (CWISA) program, because our Tribes’ health and wellbeing depend on it. I look forward to working with the Chairwoman this Congress on this, and other issues to support our water infrastructure.
I want to close by emphasizing that in the wake of a global pandemic, our Tribal communities need federal investment now more than ever. I am looking forward to working with the distinguished members on this committee to ensure that “building back better” is not just a slogan, but a mandate to improve our communities. Thank you very much for your time.
Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland serves as a Member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.