On Earth Day, USDA Invests $487 Million in Rural Water, Energy, and Biofuel Infrastructure $3.8 Million Coming to OklahomaThu, 22 Apr 2021 09:56:49 CDT
Today, in honor of Earth Day 2021, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson announced the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $487 million in critical infrastructure that will help communities in 45 states build back better and stronger while prioritizing climate-smart solutions and environmental stewardship. USDA is making the investments under the Water and Environmental Program, the Rural Energy for America Program, the Electric Loan Program and the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program.
“When we invest in accessible and modern climate-smart infrastructure in rural communities, we invest in rebuilding the middle class by creating good-paying jobs,” Maxson said. “The investments we are announcing today demonstrate how the Biden-Harris Administration has put rural communities at the heart of climate action and climate-smart solutions.”
Highlights of today’s announcement include investments in:
Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure:
USDA is investing $374 million through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in 31 states. Through its Water and Environmental Programs, USDA funds vital water infrastructure that directly benefits the health, economic vitality and environment of rural America.
• In Oklahoma, the Hugo Municipal Authority, will use a $1.3 million loan and a $2.5 million grant to make improvements to the water system. Rural Development initially awarded a $9.4 million loan and a $1.2 million grant in 2018 for this project. At bid opening project costs had increased and additional funding was needed. The project will upgrade, rehabilitate, and replace equipment, construct a clearwell, a raw water intake, and an elevated water storage tank. Completion of these improvements will resolve violations and ensure safe and dependable water for the Hugo Municipal Authority customers, including two rural water districts.
Renewable Energy in Rural Communities:
USDA is investing $78 million in renewable energy infrastructure in 30 states through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). This program helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. Projects financed under this program can help to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that affects our climate.
Rural Electric Infrastructure Upgrades:
USDA is investing $17.4 million in loans in New Mexico and South Dakota through the Electric Loan Program to build and improve rural electric infrastructure and connect residents to affordable and dependable power. The Electric Loan Program brings efficient, modern electric infrastructure to rural communities and finances wind, solar, natural gas and clean energy production. The program also provides loans to electric utilities to support vegetation management, which helps prevent forest fires.
USDA is investing $18.4 million in 20 states through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) to build infrastructure to help expand the availability of higher-blend renewable fuels by approximately 218 million gallons per year. This will give consumers more environmentally-friendly fuel choices when they fill-up at the pump.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
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