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Lt. Governor Bohlinger Testifies at Senate Field Hearing on St Mary's in Havre

Says Montana is getting Less Money than
Other Western States for Water Projects

By Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger
Date: Friday, September 1, 2006
Contact: Sarah Elliott (406) 444-9725

(HELENA) Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger today testified at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources field hearing in Havre. The focus of the hearing was the St. Mary Diversion Works. Lt. Governor Bohlinger pointed out that Montana has been left in the dust in terms of federal funding for rural water projects by surrounding states.

  • Since 2000:
    Montana has received $45 million;
    While North Dakota received nearly $132 million,
    Colorado received $207 million;
    And South Dakota received $268 million.

  • See Charts (pdf format) for Comparison

The St. Mary Diversion Works is not the only water infrastructure funding inadequacies in Montana. "Vast portions of eastern Montana have boil orders in place because the drinking water is not safe," said Lt. Governor Bohlinger.

Excerpt from Testimony:

Two rural water projects: Rocky Boy-North Central Regional Water System and the Fort Peck Dry Prairie Water system have been approved by Congress to remedy this. An investment of nearly $500 million is needed for these projects to become reality. Unfortunately, since Congressional authorization in 2000 the projects have received no money within the Presidential Budget, and have received only $45 million in Congressional appropriations.

To put this into perspective, North Dakota received nearly $132 million in appropriations for rural water during the same time period. Colorado received $207 million; and South Dakota received $268 million. New Mexico received $144 million for the Mid Rio Grande Project.

Each and every one of these rural water projects is vital to local communities. However, it is both frustrating and inequitable to see year and year of inadequate funding for Montana's rural water projects while hundreds of millions of dollars go to surrounding states with the same needs.

Lt. Governor John Bohlinger serves as the co-chair of the St. Mary Rehabilitation Working Group.