Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  President George W. Bush released his Fiscal Year 2009 budget today, which included no funding for the Lewis & Clark Rural Water Project.

"I am shocked to see that the White House has zeroed out federal funding for the Lewis & Clark project. The President has acknowledged that the economy is slowing. This is not the time to be cutting infrastructure investment," Johnson continued. "The President's budget fails 300,000 people from our tri-state area who were told their drinking water isn't important enough to fund."

"The President proposing zero funding for Lewis & Clark is simply unacceptable," said Thune. "The President's budget is just a recommendation and now Congress will go to work writing a budget that allocates funding for Lewis and Clark and other government programs for the coming fiscal year. The Senate has ignored the Administration's low budget requests for Lewis and Clark in the past and I anticipate that this year's request will also be dismissed."

"Lewis & Clark proposed a $35 million budget from the federal government this year to keep the project on track. Last year, the President funded the project at $15 million and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I was able to help bring it up to $26.568 million in the congressionally approved and enacted budget. This year, the President's numbers are astounding and simply not grounded in reality," Johnson said.

"This is a very low starting point and tells us we have a lot of work to do. We have not let disappointing numbers from this administration stop us from getting funding for this project in the past, and it is time to roll up our sleeves and work together to increase funding for this important project. We have been very successful in the past in improving the budget numbers for Lewis & Clark and although the hill is higher this year, I intend to work to make that happen again this year," said Thune.

In December, the South Dakota delegation called on Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jim Nussle and the White House to keep funding for the Lewis & Clark project on track to bring water to more than 300,000 people in 20 communities in three states. Budget Director Nussle told members of the South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa congressional delegations that the budget would reflect our nation's "highest priorities" and promote "sustained economic growth."

History of Lewis and Clark funding:
YearAdministrative FundingHouseSenateFinal
FY 2006$15 M$15 M$20 M$17.33 M
FY 2007$21 M$22 M$23.5 M$21 M
FY 2008$15 M$22.3 M$28 M$26.568 M
FY 2009$0   

Overall, the President's budget reduced funding for the Bureau of Reclamation when compared to the level that Congress approved for Fiscal Year 2008. This underscores the reductions that other water projects also witnessed under the President's FY 2009 budget.

Bureau of Reclamation Overall Budget:
FY 2008 EnactedPresident's FY 2009 Budget RequestOverall Reduction
$1.108 billion$919 million$190 million ($170 million of which comes from reductions in Water Resource Projects such as Lewis and Clark)