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Congressman John T. Salazar, Third District of Colorado

Congressman Salazar's Funding Priorities for Interior & Environment

As a new member of the Appropriations Committee, I have new oversight responsibilities for the spending of federal dollars, as well as an increased role in the prioritization of federal spending.

For too long, the process of Congressional funding requests lacked transparency and accountability, leading some members of Congress to abuse it and the public trust. Since assuming the majority in 2007, Congressional Democrats have significantly reformed the process, including ensuring that every American can easily determine which member of Congress has submitted a requests.

Below you will find a list of my funding requests for the Interior & Environment Appropriations bill.

Rifle Regional Water Purification Facility Transmission Line Improvements
City of Rifle
202 Railroad Avenue
Rifle, CO  81650
Explanation: Without any state or federal grant assistance the construction of this new water purification  facility will make Rifle's water rate beyond what the state considers reasonable for residents' water bills, a term use by the state was adversely impacted. This is based upon a percentage of the adjusted median income.  Any time a community's water rates are beyond 1.5 percent AMI, the rates are considered to adversely impact the residents of that community.  The anticipated rates without any significant financial assistance from outside sources will result in Rifle's water rates being 1.94 percent of AMI.  Additionally, the Colorado Department of Health-Water Quality Control Division cites the need of this project in its Intended Use Plan/2009 Drinking Water Revolving Fund Project Eligibility List as a Priority 1 due to a continuous violation of an acute maximum contaminant level (MCL) or a surface water treatment rule (SWTR) treatment technique requirement.

Shenandoah-Dives Mill National Historic Landmark Save America
San Juan County Historical Society
1557 Greene Street
Silverton, CO  81433
Explanation: The impact of historic preservation projects in Silverton and San Juan County cannot be overstated.  Over the last 15 years, the San Juan County Historical Society has been the economic engine for the area, bringing over 10 million dollars into the community in the form of good-paying jobs and purchase of supplies and services.  Our policy is to hire and buy locally, so most of those funds stay in town.  In 2008 alone, Historical Society projects kept 6-12 people working all year. The Shenandoah-Dives Mill was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000.  It is one of only 20 in the State of Colorado, and one of only 2294 in the United States.

Uncompahgre National Forest, Ophir Valley
The Trust for Public Lands
1410 Grant Ave., Suite D210
Denver, CO  80203
Explanation: Against a backdrop of unsurpassed alpine scenery, the Ophir Valley offers an abundance of recreational opportunities visitors and habitat for threatened and endangered species.  This protection effort is a natural extension of the successful Red Mountain project, located just to the north and east of the Ophir Valley along a different portion of the San Juan Skyway.  It also will be complemented by other land protection and recreation enhancement efforts along and adjacent to the San Juan Skyway, one of only 21 All-American Roads in the National Scenic Byway.

North Lake Trinidad
City of Trinidad
135 North Animas St
Trinidad, CO 81082
Explanation: Attempts to seek grant funds have been unsuccessful. The City has budgeted available funds for matching purposes. Without this financial assistance, the State could require the water level to be lowered, which in a drought would restrict the ability to store water. North Lake is the primary source of drinking water for the City. The City is experiencing great difficulty in repaying a bond issue for $6 million for the upgrade of sewer treatment facilities. No other resources are available.

Sunnyside and Mesa Sewer Extension Project
$1 million
City of Montrose
433 1st St
Montrose, CO 81401
Over the past 6 years the City has raised sewer rates by over 27% to pay for necessary improvements to the wastewater treatment plant and sewer collection system. The City does not have the ability to finance the entire project through its own funds or to pass the cost entirely to the user base. The project would decrease the need that the City would have to continue raising sewer rates every year.

Preserving Treasures of the Past: Albert Porter Pueblo
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
23390 County Road K
Cortez, CO
This project is urgent, critical, and worthy of federal funding because archaeological resources are completely nonrenewable, and this project will preserve the collections from one of the most important sites in America: Albert Porter Pueblo. This archaeological site was a social, economic, and ceremonial center for almost four centuries, A.D. 950-1300, and it is one of the few places that provide evidence for interaction between two of the world famous archaeological areas, the Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon regions. Albert Porter Pueblo is on private land that is near several of the world's foremost archaeological monuments, including Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument, and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
The Conservation Fund
1942 Broadway
Boulder, CO 80302
Through the federal budget process, the BLM identified this 1,800 acres as a top priority for federal ownership to achieve its management objectives to protect cultural and archeological objects and natural resources within Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. In addition, BLM ownership of these parcels will expand public access and enhance the public's recreational experience at the Monument. In 2006, based on scientific recommendations from the BLM, the Colorado Water Conservation Board appropriated instream flow rights necessary to support sensitive fish species and cottonwood-willow habitat in Yellow Jacket Creek. BLM's acquisition of land along Yellow Jacket Creek enables additional restoration work to maintain the in stream flow and support the State's investment in restocking sensitive fish species. The owners of these five properties have each expressed interest in selling to the BLM. In this economy these willing sellers have few, if any, other alternatives or potential buyers than the BLM for their lands within the boundary of the National Monument.

Sherman Avenue Interceptor Project
$1 million
City of Monte Vista
4 Chico Camino
Monte Vista, CO 81144
This project contributes directly to water quality for our community and down-river users in the San Luis Valley. Local and state resources for water/wastewater infrastructure projects are dwindling, further hampered in Colorado with the recent state legislature decision to remove $26 million in such funding from a revolving loan fund depended upon by municipalities in our state.  Colorado has some $2.13 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs in the midst of a state budget $140 million in the red. This condition is just one segment of the country's overall $202.5 billion in federally identified (EPA) wastewater infrastructure needs.

Montrose City Hall and Fire Station No.1 Historic Preservation
$1 million
City of Montrose
433 1st St
Montrose, CO  81404
This project will create over 30 jobs in an economically depressed area. The project will restore and preserve City buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Save America's Treasures account funds the conservation of historically significant sites and structures.

Water Research Foundation
$5 million
Water Research Foundation
6666 West Quincy Ave
Denver, CO 80235
Since 1983, the Congress has provided funding to the Foundation. The Foundation leverages subscriber funding (around $13 million annually) with federal funding, which provides a significant non-federal match to the appropriated federal dollars. Yet, because of the amount of federal research projects that the Foundation collaborates on, the federal funding is a significant help in stretching funds to ensure that the research can continue. The Foundation's work is focused on applied research on cost effective technologies to enhance drinking water technologies and drinking water quality. The Foundation's subscribers are mostly public water utilities who are tasked with ensuring that the research completed by the Foundation is focused on ensuring that drinking water is clean, affordable and available to the public.  The primary beneficiaries of this funding for research are the consumers, as the findings from the Foundation's research are disseminated to those utilities and cities charged with supplying our water and protecting the public health. Research findings are free to local, state, and federal agencies throughout the nation.

State-Wide Selenium Study
Colorado River Water Conservation District
200 Centennial St., Ste. 201
Glenwood Springs, CO  81601
Explanation: The Colorado River has experienced high salinity and elevated concentrations of selenium, a nutrient that can be toxic to wildlife. These problems are exacerbated as the river flows south, and concentrations increase.  Selenium effects agriculture, municipal water, ecological habitat, and this study is needed to improve the quality of water in the Colorado River.

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