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Audio from Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on irrigation

The San Carlos Irrigation Project in Arizona. Photo from Bureau of Indian Affairs

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held an oversight hearing on irrigation projects in Indian Country this afternoon.

A 2006 report from the Government Accountability Office found that irrigation wasn't a top priority at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Eight years later, tribal leaders told the committee that not much has changed.

"There's a theme about BIA neglect on irrigation issues," observed Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) midway through the hearing.

Larry Roberts, the principal deputy assistant secretary at the BIA, said the agency hasn't imposed "sufficient" fees on issues that could address maintenance and other issues. But he said increasing those rates alone won't resolve an existing $600 million backlog.

The hearing lasted about 1 hour and 19 minutes. Audio can be found on the Indianz.Com SoundCloud.

Committee Notice:
Irrigation Projects in Indian Country (September 10, 2014)

Government Accountability Office Report: Indian Irrigation Projects: Numerous Issues Need to Be Addressed to Improve Project Management and Financial Sustainability:
AbstractHighlights  | Full Report | Text-Only

Related Stories:
Witnesses: Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on irrigation (9/8)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee sets hearing on irrigation projects (9/4) GAO Report: Irrigation projects not a priority at BIA (3/30)

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