Secretary Salazar Announces $20 Million Investment for Rural Water in North Central Montana



09/15/2009


Contact: Joan Moody
202-208-6416


WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today the Bureau of Reclamation has awarded $20 million to the Rocky Boys North Central Rural Water project in north central Montana under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

“This is a significant investment in the water delivery system of this area,” Secretary Salazar said. “President Obama’s economic recovery plan is meant to quickly aid Americans by providing jobs and improving infrastructure, while paving the way for tomorrow’s success.”

The $20 million investment in the Rocky Boys North Central Montana Regional Water System will treat water at Lake Elwell, south of Chester, and transmit it to approximately 43,000 users on Rocky Boys Indian Reservation and other communities in the region, including Big Sandy, Box Elder, Havre, the North Havre County Water District, the Hill County Water District and Chester, as well as communities farther west. This ARRA project will assist in implementing the Chippewa Cree Tribe’s water right settlement.

“Reclamation and Interior are delighted these long-needed projects are going to be advanced as a result of Recovery Act funding,” Reclamation Commissioner Mike Connor said.

Recovery Act funding will be used to initiate design and construction of the intake superstructure and accelerate design of the water treatment plant, acquisition of pipeline rights-of-way, and design and construction of critical pipeline segments.

“This project is just one example of how we are creating economic opportunities and local jobs, while infusing some of the nation’s most substandard water supply areas with high quality water and a brighter outlook for the future,” said Secretary Salazar.

Reclamation will spend $200 million with ARRA funds on construction of rural water projects for tribal and non-tribal rural water systems, with an emphasis on water intakes and water treatment plants across the West. Additionally, $64 million have been requested in the President’s fiscal year 2010 budget. These investments will help address public health needs of rural and Native American communities and create significant economic development.

The purposes of the ARRA are, among others, to quickly and prudently commence activities which preserve and create jobs, promote economic recovery, and to invest in infrastructure by providing long-term economic benefits. Recovery Act funding must be obligated by Sept. 30, 2010.

Secretary Salazar has committed to quick and responsible implementation of the $3 billion in recovery funds, which will be used by the Department of the Interior and its agencies.

Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department of the Interior’s economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery. Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force. Henderson and the Task Force will work closely with the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General to ensure that the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility and transparency that President Obama has set.