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USDA Celebrates Earth Day 2008 By Awarding $164 Million For Rural Infrastructure Projects


Marking the 38th anniversary of Earth Day, Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced today that 48 communities in 30 states have been selected to receive more than $164 million in loans and grants for infrastructure improvements to help the environment.

“Earth Day is a great time to make these loans and grants that will help finance much-needed improvements to water, sewer and infrastructure systems,” Schafer said. “Strategic investments such as the ones announced today also help improve the economy and quality of life in our rural communities.”

For example, USDA Rural Development awarded Threshold Services, Inc. in Kodiak, Alaska, a $348,000 loan and $41,750 grant to buy and renovate a building that will be used as a recycling facility on Kodiak Island. In addition to managing the facility, Threshold will provide jobs and job training opportunities for residents with physical and developmental disabilities.

The city of Brush, Colo., has been selected to receive nearly $8 million in loans and grants to replace an outdated, 1965 wastewater treatment plant. The new plant will serve 5,117 residents. The town of Luray, Va. was selected to receive a $5 million loan to make improvements to the town’s existing water system by installing a new membrane filtration water treatment plant, storage tank and pump station. The town’s water system serves approximately 2,100 residential and 300 commercial users.

A complete list of loan and grant recipients is available at . Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the conditions of the loan or grant agreement.

Earth Day is observed annually on April 22 to raise awareness about the role citizens, businesses and communities can play in protecting the environment. Since the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, the event has expanded to include participation by citizens and governments in more than in 175 countries.

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development has invested nearly $91 billion since 2001 for equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. More than 1.7 million jobs have been created or saved through these investments. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA’s web site at


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