Sen. Franken Holds Meeting with Top Administration Official to Insist on Full Funding of Lewis & Clark Water Project
Senator Has Long Championed Project, Which is Essential to Economic Development, Job Creation in Southwest Minnesota
Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who has long championed the tri-state Lewis and Clark Regional Water System (LCRWS) as a way to expand economic development and create jobs in southwest Minnesota and parts of South Dakota and Iowa, convened a meeting with a bipartisan delegation of Members of Congress, as well as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and other Administration officials, to ensure that the project receives the funding it needs to go forward.
"The top priority in Washington needs to be job creation, and the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System would create jobs and spur economic development in Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota," said Sen. Franken. "I've heard from employers in Minnesota who want to expand their businesses and create jobs, but they can't because they don't have access to enough water. Today, with my colleagues from Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota, I met with Interior Secretary Salazar to insist that the Administration hold up their end of the bargain and fund this critical project."
Sen. Franken has been a strong advocate for the water system since taking office. In September, he met with project officials in South Dakota to receive an update on the progress of the project and to tour the Tea Reservoir Pump Station, the largest single project in the system. In March, during a committee hearing Sen. Franken pressed Interior Secretary Salazar to fully fund the Lewis & Clark project, saying the communities affected by it have already paid their share, and it's time for the federal government to do the same. Last September, Sen. Franken joined a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and Representatives from Minnesota, South Dakota, and Iowa in a meeting with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to express the need for full funding for the project and, in December, he reached out to OMB again urging them to fully fund the project.
Also attending today's meeting were U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), and John Thune (R-S.D.), as well as U.S. Reps. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Steve King (R-Iowa), and Kristi Noem (R-S.D.).