Thursday, February 26, 2009

Klobuchar Secures Nearly $50 Million in Funding for Minnesota Energy and Water Projects

Klobuchar secures funds for homegrown energy and additional job-creating measures

Washington, D.C. – Continuing her efforts to secure funding for important initiatives across the state, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced that over $49 million will be included in the Energy and Water section of the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2009. The measure includes funding for many projects that will provide jobs for Minnesotans, including flood control and mitigation in Breckenridge and Crookston, waste-to-energy facilities in Pope and Douglas counties and the Lewis & Clark Rural Water System in southwest Minnesota.

Klobuchar secured $4 million for the continuation of work on the Red River of the North Flood Control project in Breckenridge. After the massive Red River basin floods of 1997, government officials decided to implement permanent flood damage reduction projects for the communities along the river, including Breckenridge. Funding announced today will go towards creating a high-flow diversion channel and two separate permanent levee reaches that will protect all of Breckenridge.

“Early federal support was vital to Minnesotans’ efforts to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of the ’97 floods,” said Klobuchar. “Last summer’s flooding in the Midwest demonstrated how important these projects are to helping communities avoid catastrophe. Flood projects like this can mean the difference between minor damage and total destruction.”

Along with five senators from South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota, Klobuchar announced further federal funding allocations for the Lewis and Clark Rural Water System. Klobuchar announced today that $27 million would be sent to the project for the construction of a water pipeline that will provide clean water from the Missouri River to over 300,000 people in Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa through its 20 member cities and rural water systems.

“This important initiative will provide fresh, clean drinking water to people across southern Minnesota,” said Klobuchar. “In the land of 10,000 lakes, we value clean water and this project will help deliver that to families and businesses.”

In addition, Klobuchar secured nearly $1 million towards a new Plasma Gasification Waste To Energy facility in Koochiching County that converts municipal solid wastes into energy and other marketable by-products in an environmentally sound manner. The Renewable Energy Clean Air Project (RECAP) would use the funds to conduct a feasibility study to assess technical, economic and environmental matters.

“This is the type of innovation and leadership that we need to achieve energy security,” said Klobuchar. “At a time of unstable energy costs it is important that we invest in new technologies and the homegrown energy that will create the new jobs and businesses that will fuel our future.”

Senator Klobuchar secured nearly $1 million for the expansion of the Waste to Energy facility shared by Pope and Douglas Counties. The expansion is needed in order to meet the growing needs of the two counties. The Waste to Energy facility provides steam energy to neighboring businesses, such as the 3M Manufacturing plant and the Douglas County Hospital, and produces 500 kilowatts per hour of electricity for the Waste to Energy facility itself.

“The Pope/Douglas Waste to Energy facility is an example of Minnesotans leading the push for homegrown energy,” said Klobuchar. “Projects like this can create good jobs in Minnesota while capturing new energy sources, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and protecting the environment.”

Klobuchar also announced funding for the Minnesota Center for Renewable Energy. The center’s purpose is to move the Midwest toward greater environmentally friendly, sustainable energy use and energy independence. The Center, funded at $713,625 will operate as an applied research consortium of faculty, business and industry partners, and entrepreneurial leaders.

Klobuchar also secured over $8.6 million for a program to improve navigation efficiency and environmental restoration efforts on the Upper Mississippi River. The Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program works to ensure economic and environmental sustainability of the Upper Mississippi River System. It aims to reduce commercial traffic delays and protect and restore the environment.

Klobuchar was also successful in securing funding for a public-use harbor and dock in Duluth. The McQuade Road Safe Harbor Project includes a three-acre harbor where small craft can be protected during storms, ramps for boat and kayak launching, and adjustable docks. The facility also includes fishing spots and sidewalks above the shore and an underpass beneath Scenic Highway 61.

In addition, Klobuchar obtained funding to guard against floods in Granite Falls, Grand Forks, Ada and Montevideo. Funding for the Drayton Dam is also included in the bill.

Klobuchar secured funding for the restoration of Minnehaha’s Painter Creek, a water system which was straightened for agricultural uses in the early 1900s.

Other major Minnesota environment and water initiatives included in the bill include:

* $287,000 for repairing two levees damaged by ice in April 2005 in Crookston, MN.
* $217,000 for funding towards the Marsh Lake Aquation Ecosystem Feasibility study which would identify measures to restore more than 5,000 acres of wetland habitat within the existing reservoir and to reconnect Lac qui Parle to more than 750 miles of streams in the Pomme de Terre River basin. This restoration would allow more Minnesota hunters, anglers, birders, canoeists and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy thousands of migratory waterfowl and other birds and fish.
* $382,000 for use by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District for flood mitigation between Lake Itasca and Lock and Dam #2, near Hastings, MN.
* $478,000 for the restoration of the Red River of the North Basin.
* $598,000 for the restoration and protection of the St. Croix River Basin.
* $259,000 for the restoration of the Wild Rice River of the North Basin.
* $500,000 for flood mitigation efforts in Roseau.

“It's our responsibility to provide communities with clean drinking water, protect our homes and businesses from flooding and restore our beloved rivers and lakes” said Klobuchar. “Today we took a significant step in making sure that we invest in infrastructure to allow communities to grow and our ecosystems to prosper.

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