Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today announced that several of his South Dakota funding priorities were included in the Fiscal Year 2010 Senate Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier today.

"South Dakota communities rely on water systems to deliver a clean and reliable drinking water," said Thune. "There is certainly room for improvement with some of the anemic funding levels in the Appropriations Committee bill, where it appears that South Dakota's rural interests are taking a back seat. If unchanged, these insufficient funding levels will lead to further delays in completing these necessary, authorized projects."

South Dakota Specific Provisions Requested by Senator Thune:

Lewis and Clark Regional Water System
$16 million to supply pure, dependable drinking water to 300,000 residents in 22 communities and water districts in three states, covering 5,900 square miles. Lewis and Clark is vital to address regional water problems including shallow wells and aquifers prone to contamination and drought, compliance with new federal drinking water standards, and increasing water demand due to population growth and economic expansion. Last year, this project received $27 million in funding.

Mni Wiconi Rural Water System Construction
$27.28 million to provide Indian and non-Indian people of arid Western South Dakota with a source of clean drinkable water not previously available. This water system serves the needs of the Pine Ridge, Rosebud, and Lower Brule Indian Reservations, as well as many off-reservation communities and homes. This funding would go toward construction in FY 2010. Last year, this project received $23 million in construction funding.

Mni Wiconi Rural Water System Operations and Maintenance
$10.2 million would go towards Operations and Management in FY 2010. Last year, this project received $9.77 million in operations and maintenance funding.

Perkins County Rural Water System
$2 million to provide potable water to approximately 300 farms, ranches, and two towns - Lemmon and Bison. The system will serve rural users and provide bulk water for Lemmon and Bison. Currently, the only two existing water systems in the project area are the municipal supply systems for those two towns. The purpose of this project is to create a water distribution network to deliver treated water to rural subscribers, who currently rely upon well water of variable quality and quantity. Last year, this project received $2.26 million in funding.

Sioux Falls, Big Sioux River Flood Control Project
$4 million to raise the levees along the Big Sioux River. FY 2010 funding would help to finalize Phase II of the project. Once complete, the project would provide the City of Sioux Falls with 100-year flood protection, along with 1,600 homeowners and businesses that are currently in the flood zone and are required to purchase federal flood insurance.

South Dakota State University Sun Grant Initiative
$2.75 million to enhance America's national energy security through development, distribution and implementation of biobased energy technologies, promote diversification and environmental sustainability of America's agriculture, and promote opportunities for biobased economic diversification in America's rural communities. South Dakota State University is recognized as the primary national leader for the Sun Grant Initiative (SGI). SGI was reauthorized in the 2008 Farm Bill.

University of South Dakota - South Dakota Catalysis Group for Alternative Energy
$1.1 million to fund a collaboration between the University of South Dakota and SD School of Mines & Technology, in partnership with the Department of Energy, to conduct research on advanced catalytic materials for solar energy utilization, specifically, hydrogen production and hydrogen fuel cells. The results of the current SDCG research will be 1) development, through the application of nanotechnology, of a reactor in which a photocatalyst uses sunlight to split water to hydrogen and oxygen, and 2) development of improved supports and catalysts for fuel cells. The end products of the two research thrusts will allow production of electricity from sunlight, storage of solar energy as chemical fuel, and zero net consumption of resources or atmospheric emissions.

Watertown Flood Control
$448,000 to complete the development of the General Revaluation Report and the Environmental Impact Statement, environmental and cultural investigations, and a flood damage cost and benefits model - including an in-depth study of the Lake Pelican Water Project District/Barr Engineering flood control plan. It would also be used to consider alternative plans to reduce flood risk in Watertown.

South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and Lower Brule Sioux Tribe
$3 million to protect cultural resources along the Missouri River. Title VI of the Water Resources Development Act of 1999 directs the federal government to return excess lands taken for construction of the Missouri River mainstream reservoirs to the State of South Dakota, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. The funding ensures that cultural resources along the Missouri River are protected for future generations and that sacred sites are protected from erosion.

Black Hills State University Biomass Plant
$1 million for additional planning, engineering design and initial construction for a new wood-fired boiler and steam absorption chiller plant on the campus of Black Hills State University. Planning will include feasibility analysis for a combined heating, cooling and power generation plant using wood biomass as an energy source.

The Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill is expected to be considered by the full Senate later this year.