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Wyoming tribes have 33 sanitation development projects in need of attention

There are about $2.9 billion worth of sanitation development projects in tribal communities across the US, and Wyoming has 33 projects that add up to just under $16.5 million dollars, according to the US Indian Health Service.

Ronald Ferguson directs the IHS Division of Sanitation Facilities. He says Wyoming is in a better position than some other areas.   

A lot of our larger needs are on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona because it’s a very large land area with lots of people, and then Alaska. But we also see a lot of need in Oklahoma. A lot of the infrastructure has been put in in Wyoming and Montana through the years. There’s still needs, but I think we’ve addressed that with time,” says Ferguson.  

IHS recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Agriculture. The pact should help the agencies better share resources to get the projects done more efficiently. IHS is still unsure about which projects will be funded in 2013.  

Irina Zhorov is a reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She earned her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from the University of Wyoming. In between, she worked as a photographer and writer for Philadelphia-area and national publications. Her professional interests revolve around environmental and energy reporting and she's reported on mining issues from Wyoming, Mexico, and Bolivia. She's been supported by the Dick and Lynn Cheney Grant for International Study, the Eleanor K. Kambouris Grant, and the Social Justice Research Center Research Grant for her work on Bolivian mining and Uzbek alpinism. Her work has appeared on Voice of America, National Native News, and in Indian Country Today, among other publications.
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