News Release
Release No.STELPRD4020364
ContactEmily Cannon207.990.9160
(APRIL 22, 2013) TOWN OF BETHEL SELECTED TO RECEIVE $1.3 MILLION FOR MAJOR UPGRADES
Bangor, Maine, Apr 22, 2013 --

@@ As part of USDA’s Earth Day celebration, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced support for projects that will improve water and wastewater services for rural Americans and benefit the environment across the country. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.

“At USDA, we believe it is critical that communities across the country have reliable, clean and safe water,” Vilsack said. “This Earth Day, I also encourage residents of communities affected by natural disasters, including those hit by Hurricane Sandy, to apply for funding through the USDA Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants Program.”

In Maine, the Town of Bethel has been selected to receive a total of $1,303,000 in the form of a $503,000 Water and Waste Disposal Grant of $503,000 and Loan of $800,000.

USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said, “Congratulations to the Town of Bethel for being selected as Maine USDA Rural Development’s Earth Day Project for 2013. Rural Development’s key contribution of $1.3 million will ensure the Town can make vital upgrades that will help to protect the Androscoggin River, Mill Brook, and surrounding wetlands, keeping Maine’s environment pristine for residents
and visitors to enjoy.”

USDA Rural Development funds will be used to replace a 40 year old pump station, make updates to two other pump stations, and install a new force main along Vernon Street in Bethel, among other essential upgrades. This project will ensure the system is working properly for its 441 residential users, 73 commercial, and 25 public facilities.

In all, 43 water and wastewater projects in 32 states will be funded. 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 $145.2 million to improve water quality and provide a safe and healthy environment for rural Americans.

Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan, grant, or loan/grant agreement.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of 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, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $700 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.

USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. There are 65 employees working to deliver the agency’s Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/me.

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