Bennet Met with Bureau of Reclamation Head and Other Administration Officials in Support of the Project - FY 2016 Funding Now Reaches a Total of $2.5 Million; FY 2017 Request at $3 Million
Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced today that he has secured $2 million for the Arkansas Valley Conduit from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The $2 million is part of funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 that the Bureau of Reclamation has reprogrammed. This is on top of the $500,000 that has already been appropriated for the project this year.
Additionally, the Administration's proposed budget for FY 2017, which has been introduced today, includes $3 million for the Conduit. Bennet will now work with Congressional leaders and the Appropriations Committee to ensure this funding request becomes law.
Bennet has been fighting for the project since coming to the Senate. He's met several times with the head of the Bureau of Reclamation, and top officials from the Office of Management and Budget, urging them to provide the needed resources, and has also facilitated meetings between local officials and members of the Administration. Bennet has also pushed the Administration to include the additional funding in its budget proposal for FY 2017.
"We've been pushing the Administration and Congress to live up to the commitment it made more than five decades ago to communities in southeast Colorado," Bennet said. "This funding will help move this project forward, and we will continue to fight to keep these additional resources in next year's budget to ensure Coloradans in these communities finally have a reliable source of clean drinking water."
Since coming to the Senate, Bennet has worked tirelessly to press upon Congress and Administration officials the urgency for more resources for the Conduit. He has led efforts within the delegation to secure resources and move forward with the construction of the Conduit. In addition to speaking personally with the a number of officials in the Administration, he has advocated for quick approval of the project's environmental study and urged Congressional and committee leaders to provide adequate resources for construction.
"The news for FY 16 and FY 17 is most welcome because it indicates a commitment to keep moving forward with the work on the Arkansas Valley Conduit. We would not have this positive news were it not for the hard work from our Congressional delegation in a bipartisan way and for the additional work of Senator Bennet with the Administration," said Bill Long, President of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District.
The Arkansas Valley Conduit is the final component of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, a water diversion and storage project in the lower Arkansas Valley. Once constructed, the Conduit will deliver clean drinking water to families, producers and municipalities throughout Southeastern Colorado. Bennet and former Senator Mark Udall worked together to enact legislation in 2009 authorizing the construction of the Conduit, and have pushed ever since for funding to keep the project on schedule.