Today, during a hearing on proposals for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022, Rep. Greg Stanton was joined by Pascua Yaqui Chairman Peter Yucupicio to advocate for additional federal investment and flexibility to support water infrastructure projects in small, rural and tribal communities.

At Stanton’s request, Chairman Yucupicio testified urging the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to make improvements to the environmental infrastructure (EI) authorities to ensure all communities, including those with limited financial resources, are able to fully participate in the program.

Although more than a dozen communities around the state have submitted more than $75 million in project proposals, Stanton said his office had heard concerns from some small and rural communities about potential barriers to participate in the EI authority—namely the 25 percent non-federal cost share for projects and the requirement that beneficiaries pay the project costs first before getting reimbursed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

In his testimony, Chairman Yucupicio said “projects like those supported by the EI authority and the USACE will help our Tribe achieve a reliable water supply for our growing Tribal population,” but he continued that “while our Tribe is grateful to have been able to tap into resources made available through the Arizona EI authority, we are also aware that only a small handful of tribes in EI eligible states have applied for or received funding or technical assistance under this important program.”

Stanton authored the legislation that created the Arizona-focused authority in the 2020 WRDA, which was signed by then-President Trump. Stanton’s authority will ultimately provide $150 million for water infrastructure projects throughout the state. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe was the first beneficiary under this new authority, receiving a total of $1.4 million to construct a water pipeline. The authority received an additional $18.5 million under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, funding nine additional projects.

Video of Chairman Yucupicio’s testimony is available HERE and his written testimony is HERE.

Video of Stanton’s questioning is available HERE.