Senate Passes Interior Appropriations Bill

Would Fund Important Sewer, Public Land Projects in Delaware

WASHINGTON (June 30, 2005) –Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper announced Thursday that the Senate has approved funding for several environmental projects in Delaware. The projects were earmarked as part of a FY ’06 Interior and Related Agencies appropriations bill that passed the Senate Wednesday night by a vote of 94-0. The fiscal 2006 interior spending bill would fund the government’s major environmental and public lands agencies, such as the Interior Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, as well as Native American and cultural programs. The bill must now be married with a corresponding House version before it can be sent to the president and signed into law. “This funding will allow us to ensure that many of Delaware’s natural resources are protected and preserved for generations to come,” said Sen. Biden. “The projects included in this legislation will help protect Delaware’s natural resources and ensure that Wilmington can continue to upgrade its sewage system to protect the Christina and Brandywine rivers,” said Sen. Carper. “These are important projects, and Senator Biden and I will fight to make sure that they are signed into law.” The specific Delaware projects include: $1 million to implement the next elements of Wilmington’s combined sewer overflow management program. The money will help address an overflow point at the foot of Rockford Road, a sensitive area near a city water supply intake. The city also plans to install a real-time control system for managing storm flows in the combined city-wide sewer system. · $815,000 to expand the Prime Hook National Wildlife refuge and preserve valuable land in Delaware Bay. The money will help buy properties around the refuge needed to protect several species of endangered shorebirds as well as preserve an important spawning habitat for the horseshoe crab. With undeveloped bay-front property a rare and valuable commodity, the money will help bring the land under the protection of the refuge so that it will be preserved for future generations. · $2 million for the “Green Horizons” project to expand the Redden State Forest in Sussex County. The Redden State Forest is Delaware’s largest state forest, receiving more than 25,000 visitors in 2003. The forest is also the home to seven rare plant species, four endangered bird species, as well as migratory birds that travel the Atlantic flyway. It is also a recreational site for hunting, horseback riding, hiking and bird watching, and it is important for groundwater recharge. · $250,000 to help fund the Center for the Study of Metals in the Environment. This multi-university consortium of scientists and engineers was established to help the EPA understand how metals react in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and how those ecosystems are affected by metal contaminants.