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Stephen Groves
Associated Press

A pair of dams on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota will get safety repairs with part of $29 million in funding from the federal infrastructure deal, the Department of the Interior announced Wednesday.

Both the Oglala Dam and Allen Dam are high-hazard, meaning lives could be lost if they failed. They have also needed repairs for years. The Oglala Dam was built in the 1940s, while the Allen Dam was completed in 1961.

An Associated Press analysis has tallied more than 2,200 high-hazard dams in poor or unsatisfactory condition across the country.

Two other dams — on the Fort Apache Reservation in Arizona and the Crow Reservation in Montana — will also get a share of the $29 million. It's part of $150 million that will be used for repairs to six dams over the next five years.

“Maintenance and repairs on our dams have been postponed for many years, leading to deferred maintenance costs of more than a billion dollars,” Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland said in a statement. 

Last year's $1 trillion bi-partisan infrastructure deal was a priority for President Joe Biden. It included $13 billion for Native American communities.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland visits the Grand Junction Air Center Complex on Friday to discuss her agency's response to wildfires and the Bureau of Land Management headquarters move to Grand Junction on Friday, July 23, 2021, in Grand Junction, Colo. (McKenzie Lange/The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel via AP)

“In addition to the resources we have allocated for irrigation power systems and water sanitation systems in Indian Country, today’s announcement will further safeguard Tribal water supplies, supporting families and communities," said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in a statement.

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