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Navajo Nation Approves $150 Million Bill To Fund Water, Agricultural Projects

The Navajo Nation Council has passed a $150 million bill to fund much-needed water, economic and agricultural projects.

Forty percent of Navajo people living on the reservation lack running water. In addition to digging water lines, Navajo Speaker LoRenzo Bates said at a signing ceremony the projects would create more than 400 jobs and bring in as much as $7 million in tax revenue for the tribe.

"This is true economic development," Bates said.

In 2014 the Navajo Nation received $550 million in a historic settlement with the federal government. Bates held public hearings across the reservation to find out how the people wanted to spend the money. Their priorities were water, power lines, roads and education.

The $150 million comes from interest earned on the tribe’s permanent trust fund. The bill now goes to the the Navajo president, who has 10 days to consider it.

Laurel Morales was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2011 to 2020.