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HomeGovernmentLegislativeCongress approves $420K in ARPA funds for PRT fire suppression system

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Congress approves $420K in ARPA funds for PRT fire suppression system

Congress previously passed two ARPA funding appropriations for new PRT facilities in August 2021 (ONCA 21-58 - $12 million) and September 2022 (ONCA 22-86- $2.9 million)

The Eighth Osage Nation Congress unanimously approved $420,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for adding water supply storage tanks to the Nation’s planned Primary Residential Treatment facilities in the event of a fire.

On Jan. 17, the Congress voted 12-0 to pass bill ONCA 23-10 (sponsored by Congresswoman Jodie Revard) to provide the $420,000 supplemental appropriation for the new PRT facilities that will be built west of Pawhuska on Nation-owned land. Congress approved an initial $2.9 million for the PRT project to be funded with ARPA funding during the 2022 Tzi Sho Session.

Revard met with the Congressional Appropriations Committee during the special session that started Jan. 10, which initially considered the bill. “This is a project that is under our health authority board (the Si-Si A-Pe-Txa board),” Revard said, adding other Executive Branch entities are also overseeing the project and the tanks are needed for fire response needs.

“As we all know when you build a project on fee simple land, the fire marshal has to sign off on that project and (division/ department staff) came out to the area west of town that we purchased and identified that we needed a water suppression system in case there was a fire at the facility and with that, (the Executive Branch) is asking for $420,000.”

Congress passed two ARPA funding appropriations for new PRT facilities in August 2021 (ONCA 21-58 – $12 million) and September 2022 (ONCA 22-86- $2.9 million).

In anticipation of considering other bills requesting ARPA funds and with the remaining ARPA funding balance nearing $1 million (according to a fiscal analysis of ONCA 23-10), the Appropriations Committee reviewed other ARPA-funded projects and endeavors to determine if unused funding is available to fund the incoming ARPA appropriation requests.

After committee and Congressional discussions, two appropriation bills (sponsored by Congresswoman Brandy Lemon) seeking to reappropriate unspent ARPA funding received consideration and approval during the special session.

ONCA 23-20 repeals ONCA 22-05 which appropriated $150,000 in ARPA funds for purchasing natural gas generators in each of the three villages. The bill passed 12-0.

ONCA 23-21 amends ONCA 21-52 – the $35 million appropriation to fund the direct assistance payments to enrolled Osages – to reduce that bill’s appropriation by $500,000. The bill passed 12-0.

Before ONCA 23-21’s final vote, Lemon said “what we are doing here, in working with Executive, is reverting money that’s not going to be spent in certain appropriations that we did in the past with the ARPA money. We have some left over and we knew that we probably would at some point in time, so by us voting this today and getting this passed, it allows us to use our ARPA dollars for (other endeavors).”

ONCA 23-10 also passed with a 12-0 vote before the special session adjourned.

To view filed legislation and the Congressional calendar for scheduled sessions and committee meetings, go online to:

Benny Polacca

Title: Senior Reporter


Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.


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