Press Release

Congressman Cuellar Secures Additional Funding for Border Water, Conservation Projects

Additional funds will strengthen environment, improve water quality, restore district wetlands

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WASHINGTON, February 12, 2016 | Riley Brands (202-226-0507) | comments
Today Congressman Cuellar (D-TX-28) announced that he had secured an additional $10 million federal funding for environmental programs along the U.S.-Mexico border. These grant programs, which received funding under the recently passed omnibus appropriations bill, will help improve the environment, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, all of which are important to conservation efforts and communities along our border and across the nation.

Strengthening the environment and improving water quality along the U.S.-Mexico border

Congressman Cuellar helped secure $10 million in funding, $5 million more than last year, for the Environmental Protection Agency’s State and Tribal Assistance Grants that will be specifically focused on projects near and along the U.S.-Mexico border. These projects are intended to improve drinking and wastewater infrastructure within 62 miles of either side of the border. These grants will help keep wastewater pollutants out of the Rio Grande, which is a source of drinking water for more than 6 million people and irrigates 2 million acres of land.

“I thank the Committee, Ken Calvert (R-CA-42), Chairman, and Betty McCollum (D-MN-4), Ranking Member, of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, for their support of this important program,” Congressman Cuellar said. “In my district these grants have recently supported projects such as providing wastewater collection service to 111 residents of Rio Grande City in order to connect 11,000 gallons of wastewater a day to the city’s treatment plant, thereby reducing risks for contaminating soil and groundwater right near the banks of the river. The grants have also supported a project completed in 2012 to connect 3,275 colonia residents to Laredo’s water distribution and wastewater collection lines in order to provide fresh drinking water and eliminate the use of substandard sanitary systems thus creating a healthier environment, among other projects.”

Restoring our district’s and nation’s wetlands

In addition, Congressman Cuellar was successful in increasing the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund in the omnibus appropriations bill by $1 million for a total of $35,145,000. Grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are used on conservation projects to restore our nation’s wetlands.

“In recent years grants from the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund have supported projects in my district and across Texas such as a project working to restore and enhance 2,612 acres of coastal wetlands and upland habitat for populations of waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, Neotropical migratory songbirds, and other wetland wildlife across South Texas and the Gulf Coast including in parts of Starr and Hidalgo counties’ coastal sand sheet wetlands. The project will enhance foraging, water quality, flood storage, and soil conservation throughout the project area. It is my hope that we can utilize these additional funds along our southwestern border and the Rio Grande.”

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