GAINESVILLE, Fla. April 22, 2022 – Today, in honor of Earth Day 2022, Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing nearly $800 million in climate-smart infrastructure in 40 states, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. These investments will strengthen the health and livelihoods of people across rural America. They include funding for 165 projects to expand access to safe water, clean energy and essential health care services for people living in disadvantaged communities.
“People in rural America are experiencing the impacts of climate change in many ways. This includes more severe droughts, more frequent wildfires, and more destructive and life-threatening storms,” Vilsack said. “When we invest in infrastructure in rural communities, we are investing in our planet, and we’re also investing in the peace of mind families will have when kids are drinking clean and safe tap water in their homes. USDA is proud to celebrate Earth Day and the many ways we are addressing climate change and investing in locally-driven solutions to bring safe water, renewable energy and essential health care services to people in rural areas everywhere.”
In Florida, Madison County Hospital Health System Inc. received $414,800 through Rural Development’s Community Facilities Disaster Grant Program.
• $188,400 will be used to purchase laboratory testing equipment to replace an outdated model that has been costly to maintain and nearing the end of its useful life. The new equipment will provide additional testing capabilities and increased speeds, enabling Madison County Hospital to strengthen its capacity to respond to COVID-19, future pandemics and emergencies.
• $226,400 will be used to purchase new equipment for departments as they are working with outdated equipment or share across departments, which increases the potential for cross contamination. The additional equipment will enable each department to operate more efficiently and decrease cross-contamination issues.
Today’s announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour, during which Biden Administration officials are traveling to dozens of rural communities to talk about the impact of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments, as well as President Biden’s broader commitment to ensure federal resources reach all communities in rural America. This announcement also furthers the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which commits to delivering at least 40 percent of the benefits from federal climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.
USDA 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.
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