Raeford, Hoke County, NC, Apr 20, 2012 -- As part of USDA’s national Earth Day celebration, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien today announced funding for Hoke County’s regional sewer system and the Town of Chocowinity’s sewer improvement project that will improve wastewater services and protect the environment.
O’Brien was joined by Congressman Larry Kissell, Greg Taylor, Executive Director, Fort Bragg Regional Alliance; and Barbara Beard-Hinton, Assistant to the State Director, USDA Rural Development for the Earth Day funding announcement for Hoke County. Mr. Kissell and Mr. O’Brien presented an Earth Day Certificate to the Hoke County Board of Commissioners for the $12.7 million regional sewer system.
“Reliable, clean and abundant water is a precious resource to sustain life and promote economic development for all communities,” said O’Brien. “We must be good stewards of our air, land and water resources; for a healthy environment brings good jobs and economic opportunity. These wastewater projects demonstrate how USDA is helping the environment in rural communities. This Earth Day, USDA is commemorating 150 years working with Americans to protect the land, while looking to the future.”
Hoke County is the fastest-growing county in North Carolina. Much of this growth is related to the expansion of the Fort Bragg Military Reservation, one of the largest bases in the world. This project is critical to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Regional Task Force Comprehensive Regional Growth Plan for the Fort Bragg Region. It is essential to meet the BRAC estimates that 40,815 additional residents will relocate to the region as a result of military related growth. Completion of Phase 1B will result in a lift of moratorium on subdivision development in the Urban Service Area.
Also as part of Earth Day, The Town of Chocowinity, Beaufort County, received funding to provide improvements to the Town’s existing sewer system. The improvements will allow the Town of Chocowinity to have sufficient wastewater capacity to handle both its existing and future needs of the community that it serves.
In all, USDA is funding 54 water and wastewater projects across the nation. Earth Day is observed annually on April 22 to raise awareness about the role each person can play to protect vital natural resources and safeguard the environment. Since the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, the event has expanded to include participation by citizens and governments in more than 195 countries.
As part of today’s announcement, USDA Rural Development is providing more than $150.8 million to improve water quality and provide a safe and healthy environment for rural Americans. In addition, nearly $22.5 million is being invested for training through the Technical Assistance and Solid Waste Management programs.
This year, as America celebrates Earth Day, USDA is commemorating 150 years of working with Americans to protect the land. At the same time, USDA is looking to the future. In the years to come, USDA will help address the changing needs of agriculture and rural America – and find strategies for managing our public and working lands.
Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President is committed to a smarter use of existing Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $165 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas.
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