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The Department of the Interior said it will invest $10 million to modernize Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)-owned irrigation projects and power utilities that serve tribal communities. 

The four projects — totaling three tribal energy initiatives and one irrigation project — are being funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021. 

The Fort Hall Indian Irrigation Project will receive $7 million to upgrade its Bannock Pump Station, including an update to its electrical and structural components. A Department of Interior statement says the project will improve water delivery to more than 72,000 acres, providing an eventual harvest benefit of more than $100 million. 

The investment will also deliver $1 million each to three BIA-owned utilities: the Colorado River Agency Electrical Service on the Colorado River Indian Reservation between Arizona and California; the San Carlos Irrigation Project - Power Division shared between the Gila River Indian Reservation and the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona; and Mission Valley Power on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. In each case, the funding will be used to update and/or repair infrastructure and substations. 

Each of the four projects has received funding since 2021, pulling from the $50 million investment pool created by the BIL. The Fort Hall irrigation project received $1.5 million previously, while each of the utilities received $2 million previously.

“The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an important provider of water and electricity to the tribal communities where it operates irrigation and power systems,” Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland said in a statement. “President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is allowing us to continue fulfilling our trust responsibility for tribal public health and safety by ensuring that BIA-owned and operated irrigation projects and power utilities are well-maintained and functioning properly.” 

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About The Author
Chez Oxendine
Staff Writer
Chez Oxendine (Lumbee-Cheraw) is a staff writer for Tribal Business News. Based in Oklahoma, he focuses on broadband, Indigenous entrepreneurs, and federal policy. His journalism has been featured in Native News Online, Fort Gibson Times, Muskogee Phoenix, Baconian Magazine, and Oklahoma Magazine, among others.
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