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Committee passes energy and water funding

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, D-S.D., joined his colleagues on the full Senate Appropriations Committee to pass the Energy and Water Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2010. The quick passage of the bill July 9, which includes more than $67 million in Johnson-secured funding for South Dakota, follows passage July 8 at the subcommittee level.

“I am proud that the committee today moved quickly to pass the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, which is an important measure for our state and nation,” said Johnson. “I have worked hard to provide this funding to keep water systems in our state on track, including Lewis and Clark and Mni Wiconi, while also furthering important energy programs for our entire region.”

Johnson used his seat on the Appropriations Committee to make sure the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System was funded. With $16 million allotted in the FY2010 bill, the project, when completed, will provide treated water to more than 300,000 people. This funding is in addition to the $56.5 million provided to the project through the economic recovery bill and brings a total of a two-year federal funding commitment of more than $99 million.

Johnson-secured funding for South Dakota includes:

• Black Hills State University – Biomass boiler and steam absorption plant $1 million: Funding will allow for planning, engineering design and initial construction of a new biomass-fired boiler and steam absorption chiller plant.

• City of Sioux Falls – Big Sioux River Flood Control Project $4 million: Funding will provide 100-year flood protection on the Big Sioux and Skunk Creek for the Sioux Falls metropolitan area.

• City of Watertown – Watertown Flood Control $448,000: Funding will support completion of an evaluation and identification of a preferred alternative to reduce the flood threat.

• Lewis and Clark Regional Water System $16 million: Funding will continue construction of the regional water system, serving more than 300,000 people in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota through its 20 member cities and rural water systems.

• Oglala Sioux Tribe Rural Water – Mni Wiconi Rural Water System Construction: $27.280 million: Funding will continue the construction of the Mni Wiconi Rural Water supply project, which is approximately 83 percent complete. The construction will serve more than 55,000 residents in South Dakota, including some of the poorest counties in the United States.

• Oglala Sioux Tribe Rural Water – Mni Wiconi Rural Water System Operations and Maintenance $10.2 million: Will support federal share of operation and maintenance costs for components of the system operated and maintained by the three Tribal sponsors.

• Perkins County Rural Water System $2 million: Funding will treat water in areas hardest hit by eight-year drought, and communities in Perkins County that struggle with water supplies contaminated with high levels of sulfates and sodium.

• South Dakota Catalysis Group for Alternative Energy $1.1 million: Funding will support research on advanced catalytic materials for solar energy utilization, specifically, hydrogen production and hydrogen fuel cells.

• South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks – Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, State of South Dakota $3 million: Funding will assist the State of South Dakota, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in undertaking terrestrial wildlife, recreation and cultural enhancement and mitigation projects to compensate for flooded lands as a result of the Pick-Sloan Flood Control Act and construction of the Missouri River mainstem dams.

• South Dakota State University – Sun Grant Initiative $2.75 million: Funding will continue SDSU’s collaborative research on feedstock production and sustainability.

• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Missouri River Fish and Wildlife Recovery Program $60 million: Funding will enhance the recovery of Missouri River species protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act, allowing for continued uses of the river for recreation, flood control and hydropower production.

• James River – South Dakota and North Dakota $200,000 Funding will be used to evaluate solutions to flooding conditions in the James River Basin due to the spring 2009 flood.

National funding includes:

• Corps of Engineers $5.405 billion.

• The FY10 recommendation for the Corps of Engineers totals $5.4 billion, an increase of $280 million above the budget request and $2.6 million above the FY09 enacted level.

• Department of Energy $2.2 billion.

• The FY10 subcommittee recommendation includes, within the Department of Energy budget, $7.5 million to accelerate automobile engine and materials testing for mid-range (E15 and E20) fuels. The Department of Energy is evaluating engine durability and emission rates from blending mid-range fuels into several different classes of automobiles, trucks and sport utility vehicles.

• Bureau of Reclamation $993 million.

• The subcommittee draft bill recommends $993 million for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Water Resources Account, compared to an FY09 enacted level of $920 million.