House approves Noem amendment to increase funding available to Lewis & Clark Water Project

Farm Forum

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Congresswoman Kristi Noem last week introduced an amendment to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which would allocate a total of $31 million to a rural water project fund that the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System is eligible to draw from. The amendment was passed by voice vote.

“Our local communities have put in more than their share of the funding for Lewis and Clark, but the federal government has not kept up their end of the deal,” said Rep. Noem. “Water is one of the most basic needs. We need to ensure people have access to safe and affordable drinking water across the country. This amendment supports this goal while also reducing our national deficit.”

Troy Larson, executive director of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System said, “We are extremely grateful to Rep. Noem for bringing funding levels for rural water projects to $31 million. Every mile counts as we move toward this project’s completion and her strong leadership is moving us further down the track.”

The Energy and Water Appropriations bill specifically allocates $2.4 million in support of the Lewis and Clark project. Rep. Noem’s amendment makes an additional $31 million available to projects like Lewis and Clark.

Specifically, Rep. Noem’s amendment reduces funding for the Department of Energy’s administrative budget and a solar energy program and shifts that funding to the Bureau of Reclamation for rural water projects, like Lewis and Clark. It also leaves $3 million to go toward deficit reduction.

The rural water projects fund was originally created in the FY2014 Energy and Water appropriations bill as a result of an amendment offered by Rep. Noem and was allocated $27 million. Lewis and Clark received $5.2 million from that account in addition to the funding specifically allocated to the project in the bill.