Noem, Klobuchar Lead Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Urging Administration to Provide Crucial Funding for Lewis and Clark Water System

Noem, Klobuchar Lead Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Urging Administration to Provide Crucial Funding for Lewis and Clark Water System

kristi noem headshot May 21 2014Congress recently approved an additional $31 million for work on authorized Bureau of Reclamation water projects; in a letter to Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner, the lawmakers pressed for strong funding to advance construction on the Lewis and Clark project

When completed, the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System will cover a service territory of more than 5,000 square miles and provide drinking water to 300,000 residents and businesses in southwest Minnesota, northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today led a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers urging the Administration to provide crucial funding for the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System (LCRWS). Congress recently approved an additional $31 million for work on authorized Bureau of Reclamation water projects. In a letter to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, the lawmakers pressed for strong funding to advance construction on the Lewis and Clark project. When completed, the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System will cover a service territory of more than 5,000 square miles and provide drinking water to 300,000 residents and businesses in southwest Minnesota, northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota. The letter was led by Klobuchar and Noem and co-signed by Senators John Thune (R-SD), Al Franken (D-MN), Charles Grassley (R-IA), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) as well as Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN), Tim Walz (D-MN) and Steve King (R-IA).

“The Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill Congress provided the Bureau of Reclamation with an additional $31 million for ongoing work on authorized rural water projects,” the lawmakers wrote. “As you consider how to allocate the funding for ongoing projects, we request that you give full consideration to the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System project to advance construction in a meaningful way. We look forward to working with you until the Lewis and Clark project is complete and the federal government has fulfilled its commitment.”

The full text of the lawmakers’ letter is below:

Dear Commissioner López:

Congratulations on your appointment as Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation.  We look forward to working with you to fulfill the Bureau of Reclamation’s mission to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public.

The Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill provided the Bureau of Reclamation with an additional $31 million for ongoing work on authorized rural water projects.  Authorized rural water projects within the Bureau of Reclamation play a key role in providing reliable, quality drinking water to communities in our states.  One such project is the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System (LCRWS).  When complete, it will cover a service territory of more than 5,000 square miles.  As you consider how to allocate the funding for ongoing projects, we request that you give full consideration to the LCRWS project to advance construction in a meaningful way.

In 2000, Congress authorized LCRWS to supply high quality, dependable drinking water to more than 300,000 residents and businesses in southwest Minnesota, northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota.  The Lewis and Clark project is currently 65 percent complete and has seen significant investment at the local, state, and federal level, allowing for the construction of intake wells, a water treatment plant, pumping stations, and pipelines that now connect 11 of the 20 member systems.  Local project sponsors and the three states have collectively pre-paid 100% of the non-federal cost share of $154 million.  The remaining federal cost share to finish the entire project is just over $200 million.

Rural water projects generate both short-term and long-term economic activity and expand economic development opportunities. The member communities awaiting connection to LCRWS have shown the ability to attract economic development if sufficient water supply is made available through the project.  For example, in Worthington, Minnesota, a large pork processing plant needs a reliable water supply before it can expand its operations.  In Madison, South Dakota the lack of water is preventing the community from taking advantage of the new businesses and industries interested in moving to the community. In Hull, Iowa a dairy plant is ready to expand when sufficient water is available.  These are just a few examples of many demonstrating the potential for economic growth with proper investment in LCRWS.  As you evaluate how to allocate funding, we urge you to consider the ability of LCRWS to utilize funds to effectively promote economic development and jobs in communities in our states.

We look forward to working with you until the Lewis and Clark project is complete and the federal government has fulfilled its commitment. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

5 Replies to “Noem, Klobuchar Lead Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Urging Administration to Provide Crucial Funding for Lewis and Clark Water System”

    1. Anonymous

      Lets pay our own way? This is a project that was signed into LAW stating that the funding will come 80% federal, 10% state, and 10% local. The state and local portions were paid a long time ago and now it’s up to the federal government to pay their share.

      Reply
  1. Anonymous

    I oppose the L&C pipeline as it encourages us to use more than our fair share of water, it’s likely to leak and flood our crops, roads & houses, it will operate for the benefit of many foreign governments and lands, L&C’s use of eminent domain violates private property rights, and because it’s likely to lead to more earthquakes.

    We need to develop domestic sources of water, and stop using fossil water, jn order for us to become water independent.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      with a major leak in the pipeline, i think anyone can understand the problems posed by keeping water from seeping into the groundwater aquifiers.

      Reply

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