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Mr. SALAZAR. I want to thank the chairman and ranking member for their wonderful leadership on this subcommittee.
I rise today to support what I consider to be my best legislative accomplishment since I came to Congress in 2004, but let me first say how important the investments that we are making in this bill are.
The nearly $2.5 billion for renewable energies will play a vital role in reducing carbon emissions, creating jobs, and producing clean energy. I especially want to point out the $225 million included for solar energy. The Third Congressional District of Colorado already has some of the largest solar farms in the world, and my constituents are already recognizing the very benefits of the solar industry.
The $1.13 billion included for the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation are so vitally important to the Western United States. As other speakers have mentioned, water continues to be a damper to the livelihood of many Westerners, and this investment in our Nation's water infrastructure from dams, canals, treatment plants, and rural water projects is extremely important to our rural citizens as they face crisis after crisis, from Colorado all the way to California.
This bill included several desperately needed dollars for rural water projects in Colorado. The $1.75 million for the Jackson Gulch Rehabilitation Project in Mancos, Colorado, and the $600,000 for the Platoro Reservoir in the San Luis Valley will help provide major assistance to improving these rural water districts.
Lastly, and most importantly, I want to thank the chairman and ranking member and all the staff of the subcommittee for taking a step that has not been taken for 50 years.
The roots of the Arkansas Valley Conduit stretch back to 1962, when President Kennedy signed the authorization by Congress, which was part of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, which included the construction of Lake Pueblo. The Federal project was the end result of years of work by Pueblo and southern Colorado leaders who wanted to make better use of the region's water.
``This is the best news I've heard in a long time,'' said Bob Rawlings, publisher of the Pueblo Chieftain and an avid fighter for water rights in Colorado.
I am happy to say to the people of southeastern Colorado you will no longer have to wait for clean drinking water. Clean drinking water is on the way.
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