The water system that is supposed to provide Missouri River aquifer water to Sheldon, Sibley, Rock Rapids, Sioux Center, Hull, and a number of other cities and rural water systems in the tri-state area needs funding to continue their work — promised funding that they’re not getting from the federal government.
Saying they can’t wait any longer on the federal budget figures, the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System is taking matters into its own hands, so-to-speak. Executive Director Troy Larson says they have little choice.
He says this year they were allocated only enough money to cover half of their administrative costs, with no money at all for construction. He says their hands are tied, so they found a new way of meeting their goal to start delivering water by 2012.
He says a new way of funding does not mean more money — it means connecting the northwest Iowa towns, as well as the outlying Minnesota and South Dakota systems later than was planned.
Larson says they are working with the tri-state congressional delegation to try to figure out what they can do to get around the moratorium on earmarks. He says many believe that fully authorized, fully vetted projects that have been approved by Congress and signed by the President should be exempt from the earmarks moratorium. Even Senator John McCain, who wanted to get rid of earmarks is now expressing those same thoughts, he says. Larson says that fact and a few others are their glimmers of light in an otherwise bleak outlook. Larson says he’s given up trying to figure out what Congress is going to do, and when.
By Scott Van Aartsen
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