Albuquerque, N.M., Apr 22, 2014 -- USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Lillian Salerno joined Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner today to celebrate Earth Day and help dedicate the new wastewater system in Chaparral, N.M.
"USDA is proud to partner with rural communities like Chaparral to finance wastewater treatment systems that protect the health and safety of local families and protect the environment," Salerno said. "Earth Day gives us a great opportunity to demonstrate USDA’s commitment to improving the quality of life in rural areas. Projects that help preserve our natural resources are an important part of this commitment."
Salerno traveled from Washington, D.C., to participate in the dedication ceremony. The Earth Day celebration in Chaparral coincided with hundreds of similar events across the nation to encourage people to be more responsible trustees of the Earth. Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 to bring awareness to and celebrate gains that have been made to protect the environment by cleaning up contaminated areas.
"Today’s celebration demonstrates that USDA Rural Development remains focused on carrying out its mission to provide funding to build wastewater systems like this one," Brunner said. "I congratulate Doña Ana County for being a responsible steward of the Earth by making sure the groundwater in Chaparral is protected."
USDA Rural Development provided $1.75 million to Doña Ana County to install sewer lines that now connect 117 residential and commercial users to the wastewater treatment plant. The new sewer lines have stopped the use of old, leaking septic tanks and out-houses that were contaminating the groundwater in the area.
Brunner added during the ceremony, "We at USDA Rural Development will continue to provide a better lifestyle for those who choose to live in rural New Mexico."
Brunner was referring to the fact that, in the last five years, USDA Rural Development has provided more than $1.2 billion in rural New Mexico communities to finance businesses, housing, community facilities, and electric, communications and water and wastewater infrastructure. This includes more than $152.5 million for communities such as Chaparral to upgrade or build water and wastewater systems.
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.
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