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Mar 10 2008

Johnson Secures Language Supporting Drinking Water Projects in Senate Budget Blueprint

Washington, DCThe Senate Budget Committee today passed the Fiscal Year 2009 Senate Budget Resolution, which included language that U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) requested emphasizing the importance of fully-funding water projects like Lewis & Clark Regional Water System, the Mni Wiconi Rural Water System and the Perkins County Rural Water System. The resolution will now be considered by the full Senate.
“It is important for the Senate to make it clear from the start of the budget process that drinking water projects are critical, not frivolous spending.  The Senate Budget Committee has acted on my request and included language to clearly spell out that water projects in South Dakota are a necessity,” Johnson said.  “Throughout my years in Congress I’ve supported vital water projects and I was extremely disappointed that President Bush would propose zero federal dollars for such important projects.  This is a first step in my fight to reverse the President’s cuts and fund these high priority water projects.”
Once approved, the Senate Budget Resolution is a blueprint for the Senate Appropriations Committee to use in making funding decisions for the federal government.  Johnson is a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and has used his seat on that Committee to secure federal dollars that keep these drinking water projects moving forward. 
In the spending measure that passed the Senate in December, Johnson secured $26.5 million for Lewis & Clark and $28.1 million for Mni Wiconi. 
“Though these are tough economic times, we must uphold the federal government’s commitment to water projects.  The Senate including this language is a commitment to water projects that the White House walked away from.  Drinking water projects, like Lewis & Clark and Mni Wiconi, mean the difference between economic improvement and stagnation in South Dakota,” Johnson added.
Full text of the resolution language approved by the Senate Budget Committee below:
The Committee-reported resolution recognizes the importance of the Bureau of Reclamation rural water program to support ongoing Municipal, Rural, and Industrial (MR&I) systems for the Great Plains Region.  The Bureau of Reclamation supplies drinking water to 2.6 million people in the Great Plains region and is encouraged to prioritize the completion of the Pick Sloan-Missouri Basin Program--Garrison Diversion Unit, Mni Wiconi, Lewis and Clark, Perkins County, Fort Peck Reservation/Dry Prairie, and Rocky Boy’s/North Central rural water system projects.  The Committee-reported resolution supports funding these vital rural water development projects at a level that is as close to $306 million as possible.
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