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Johnson Questions Deputy Secretary of Interior Nominee on Key SD Items


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U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) today questioned the Deputy Secretary of Interior Nominee, Mike Connor, regarding the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System and the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery during this morning's Senate Energy Committee nomination hearing.

"I am pleased I got the chance to ask Mike Connor important questions regarding key projects in South Dakota including Lewis & Clark and our hatchery in Spearfish," said Johnson. "The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System is a project of extreme importance to South Dakota, and I want to do all that I can to be sure rural water projects are a priority in the Interior's budget. I'm pleased that he committed to advocating for the rural water program in his new capacity."

"The D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery is a huge asset to Spearfish, with over 150,000 visitors each year and an estimated $2.1 million annual economic impact. The survival of the hatchery is vital, and it is important to be sure we don't permanently lose key federal sites while navigating current budget pressures," continued Johnson. "In response to my questions, Mr. Connor indicated that the Department of Interior has a short-term strategy to maintain funding for Spearfish and other hatcheries, and that the Department will work with members of Congress on the long-term sustainability of their budgets. This is great news for Spearfish, and I'll continue to do all I can to keep D.C. Booth up and running."

Today's Energy Committee Hearing included testimony from the following nominees: Ron Binz, to be Chairman of FERC, Elizabeth Robinson, to be Undersecretary of Energy, and Mike Connor, to be Deputy Secretary of Interior. Connor currently serves as Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation.

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