April 06, 2010

Gillibrand Urges USDA To Uphold Funding Promises For Red Hook Sewer Project

Funding Would Extend Water Services To 2,500 Dutchess County Residents, Promoting Economic Development

Washington, DC – After an application by the Dutchess County Red Hook Sewer Project for Rural Development Funding was stalled, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to uphold their original funding promise and continue to support their application. This project would extend water services to 2,500 Red Hook residents while helping with local economic development.

“Red Hook is a beautiful town full of history and charm,” said Senator Gillibrand, the first New York Senator to sit on the Senate Agriculture Committee in over 40 years. “These federal dollars are critical to help with local economic growth as well as to ensure that the area has safe groundwater supply for its residents. I will continue to fight for the Rural Development Funding for the Red Hook Sewer Project.”

The Red Hook Sewer Project was stalled due to new definitions of “rural areas” which resulted in the inclusion of a small village 10 miles away from Red Hook that would not benefit from the project. Senator Gillibrand is requesting that the USDA not include the adjacent town in the population measurement since it will not be served by the sewer project.

In a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Gillibrand explained that the Village of Red Hook had worked with the USDA Rural Development Office and New York State Environmental Facilities Corp to make a loan and funding plan for the construction of a much needed sewer system, which is essential for maintaining the use of agricultural lands while providing water services for 2,500 persons.

Dutchess County is in an ongoing zoning and planning process for Red Hook in an effort to promote smart growth in the area. Business owners and residents would benefit from a new sewer district. Funding for Red Hook’s development would help promote economic growth in the historic town.

Last year, Senator Gillibrand helped secure $2.1 million for the Village of Red Hook towards its Intermunicipal Central Sewer and Wastewater Treatment Plant initiative, which will help provide safe and reliable drinking water, protecting public health and sanitation in the area.