WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith announced increased federal funding of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System. The total funding from the FY18 Budget will be $14.875 million, which is up from $9.15 million in the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget.
“Today’s announcement is great news for Southwest Minnesota’s economy. Completing the Lewis and Clark pipeline is critical to delivering reliable clean water to farmers, businesses, and families in Southwestern Minnesota,” Klobuchar said.
“The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System will be a vital source of clean drinking water, new jobs, and economic development in southern Minnesota,” Smith said. “Minnesota taxpayers have advanced the money out of their own pockets because we believe that clean water is everyone’s responsibility, and I’m glad the federal government is starting to follow up on their promise to expand access to clean water and invest in economic development in rural communities.”
This year, Klobuchar urged the Secretary of the Interior, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Senate Appropriations Committee to support the Lewis and Clark project. Without proper funding, the project’s construction will be delayed—leaving many Minnesotans without access to reliable clean water systems. Earlier this year, Klobuchar-backed legislation was signed into law that increased funding for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Rural Water Program, which provides funding to the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System. She led a tri-delegation letter to Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke advocating for strong funding to ensure that construction continues and communities have access to secure, reliable clean water. Last week, Klobuchar met with Worthington city officials, local business leaders, and representatives from Lewis & Clark to discuss progress on the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System.
Earlier this year, Smith pressed Department of Interior Secretary Zinke during a hearing in the Senate Energy Committee to prioritize funding for the Lewis & Clark Water Project because she understands how it’s an important economic development driver for Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota. Smith again called on Secretary Zinke to increase funding for the project with members from all three states. Smith recently sat down with representatives from the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System to talk about the importance of rural water, and she made it clear that she’d keep fighting to ensure the project gets the federal resources it was promised.