August 28, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Angus King has introduced a bill to expand clean water access in Tribal communities across Maine and the nation. The Tribal Access to Clean Water Act would significantly increase federal funding by over $1 billion for Tribal water and wastewater projects to reduce the number of Native American households without sufficient access to water infrastructure.
There are currently five Public Water Systems (PWS) in Maine that serve tribal residents, with some struggling to address water quality.
“Access to clean water is a fundamental necessity for successful and healthy communities,” said Senator King. “It’s simply unacceptable that in the 21st century so many Tribal families still lack the safe drinking water or sanitation systems they deserve. The Tribal Access to Clean Water Act would directly address the water infrastructure disparity facing Maine Tribes by funding critical expansions in filtration systems, household plumbing, wastewater disposal, and more. This is not an investment that can be delayed. I encourage my colleagues to consider and swiftly pass this bill on behalf of Maine’s Tribal communities.”
Nearly half of Native American households do not have access to reliable water sources and clean drinking water, with Native American homes being 19 times more likely than white households to lack indoor plumbing.
There are three Public Water Systems (PWS) in Maine that are tribally-owned:
Additionally, there are two PWSs that are not tribally-owned, but serve a group of tribal residents:
The Tribal Access to Clean Water Act would:
In addition to Senator King, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). A summary of the bill is available HERE.
Senator King has worked to ensure Maine’s Tribal communities receive the federal funding and support they deserve. He recently announced $750,000 for Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness (WPHW) to expand substance use disorder and mental health services, $5 million for the Passamaquoddy Tribe to respond to climate-related environmental threats, and $1,082,00 to replace the Foxcroft Road and Clover Circle wastewater lift stations which serve the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians.