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On July 19, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a notice in the Federal Register seeking input from the public on how USDA can advance racial justice and equity for underserved communities as part of its implementation of Executive Order 13985. This letter responds to the agency’s request. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a number of programs that could improve access to clean drinking water for Tribes. While these programs have improved conditions for some tribes, several barriers exist which prevent Tribes from fully realizing the benefits of these programs. Our comments recommend: (1) removing the underwriting requirement for tribal applicants for 306(c) grants; (2) implementing a scoring factor to assign points for projects that serve Native American homes lacking drinking water or sanitation; (3) increasing per-project award limitations; and (4) improving the technical assistance and training programs available to Tribes.
Castle, Anne; Tanana, Heather; Becker, Bidtah; Colwyn, Chelsea; Garcia, Jaime; and Olaya, Ana, "Identifying Barriers in USDA Programs and Services; Advancing Racial Justice and Equity and Support for Underserved Communities at USDA" (2021). Utah Law Faculty Scholarship. 375.