Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA will take new steps to save consumers money on their energy bills in partnership with rural electric cooperatives. USDA plans to provide rural electric cooperatives up to $250 million to lend to business and residential customers for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding for projects in 40 states to finance investments in improved water and wastewater systems for more than 200,000 rural residents.
"Rural businesses and residents need access to clean water and modern waste disposal systems. This isn’t just an economic issue, it’s an issue of basic health and safety,” said Vilsack. “Water and wastewater projects like these help safeguard rural access to a modern, working infrastructure, which in turn ensures a decent quality of life and helps attract – and keep – the best and brightest in small towns across America.
Vilsack noted that passage of a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs bill would help tackle the $2.1 billion backlog of shovel-ready rural water/wastewater projects, and said the bill is vital to rural communities. These are just some of the reasons why Congress should pass a comprehensive bill as soon as possible, he said.
In today’s announcement, USDA is providing $203 million to finance 74 water and infrastructure improvement projects in 40 states. For example, in South Dakota, the City of Eagle Butte has been selected to receive a $2 million loan/grant combination to upgrade a wastewater treatment system that serves more than 3,000 residents in one of the poorest parts of the state.
View here the list of projects that will receive USDA funding, contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the funding agreement.
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.