WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/28/20]— U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) helped push a top Trump Administration official to target some of the millions of dollars in additional funding for the nation’s rural water projects—approved by Congress in December—to the Lewis & Clark Rural Water System, which serves communities across southwestern Minnesota that currently don’t have a reliable source of clean water. Supporting this water system is vital for bolstering job creation and economic development.
The senators called on U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt—as part of a bipartisan group of 10 House and Senate lawmakers who represent Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa, the three states served by the Lewis & Clark project—to ensure an adequate part of the $132 million approved for rural water projects in December is targeted to ongoing efforts to complete the system that will serve 300,000 residents in the region.
“Without strong funding, the project cannot make the necessary major progress to bring water to communities still waiting to connect to the system,” the lawmakers wrote. “The longer it takes, the more it will cost in construction. We are confident that all funding committed to Lewis & Clark will have a direct positive impact on the local economy in these communities.”
The Lewis & Clark project was authorized in 2000, when the federal government agreed to share the cost of building it. The federal government has not held up its send of the bargain, while every community on the system has paid its full share of the project. Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa have committed $56 million in advanced funding to try to speed construction, but the lack of federal help has left many communities unable to connect to the system and benefit from the project.
You can read the letter here.