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RAHALL DELIVERS REMARKS AT McDOWELL COUNTY WATER PROJECT SIGNING
RODERFIELD, W.Va. – At the Big Sandy/Roderfield water extension project partnership agreement signing ceremony, U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) Tuesday stressed the value of clean water to improve the future of communities, raise the quality of life for citizens, and economically strengthen entire regions of the state and nation.
“To me, this project is a tremendously wise investment for the federal government. While this is good old fashioned horse sense to most of us, believe it or not, some guys in Washington, D.C., just don't get it.,” said Rahall, the top Democrat of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who is calling for greater federal funding for water and wastewater infrastructure projects throughout the Nation. “Several years ago, in legislation, I enlisted the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to lend us not only their expertise, but some funding. The Corps and I have put this program to work for southern West Virginians. Over a decade ago, I remember we did a water project at Pageton, and over in Mercer County, the Mercer-Summers and Oakvale projects. It is true these projects met the bottom line. They brought clean water to the lips of the whole family - home after home, neighborhood after neighborhood. At last count these funds will help serve 513 families from Big Sandy to Roderfield, not to mention the water treatment component of this sizable effort.”
The Big Sandy-Roderfield Water Extension Project will serve customers in the Big Sandy and Roderfield areas, including approximately 90,000 linear feet of varying diameter water distribution lines and related appurtenances, a booster station, a water storage tank and connection to the McDowell County Public Service District's existing water system in Premier, West Virginia. Also included is an interconnection to the Coalwood Water Treatment Plant, consisting of approximately 20,000 linear feet of varying diameter water distribution lines and all related appurtenances, including upgrades to the Coalwood Water Treatment Plant, the development of a raw water well and installation of approximately 8,000 linear feet of varying diameter water distribution lines to convey water to the plant for treatment in Roderfield, McDowell County, West Virginia. This project is being funded with a Rural Development (RUS) Loan of $500,000 and (RUS) Grant of $2,689,000; an Army Corps of Engineers Grant of $465,000; and W.Va. DEP AML Grant of $6,446,000 for a total project cost of $10.1 million dollars.
Rahall’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Remarks by U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall, II
Big Sandy Project PPA Signing Ceremony
Roderfield Volunteer Fire Department
Roderfield, West Virginia
Tuesday, September 4, 2012; 1:00 p.m.
Since we just celebrated Labor Day, I thought I would share with everyone some immortal words of George Meany, that former great leader of the AFL-CIO. And since we are going to be doing some plumbing on this project, here's what he had to say about one of his biggest labor crafts, the plumbers, "Anybody who has any doubt about the ingenuity or the resourcefulness of a plumber - never got a bill from one."
Now anybody that's tried to wield a wrench at home in the kitchen or bathroom can tell you, plumbers are skilled craftsmen, and yes they are expensive.
Well, if you think indoor plumbing is expensive bringing clean drinking water to homes would send your monthly water bill through the roof if you didn't have some help.
That's why several years ago, in legislation, I enlisted the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to lend us not only their expertise, but some funding.
The Corps and I have put this program to work for southern West Virginians. Over a decade ago, I remember we did a water project at Pageton, and over in Mercer County, the Mercer-Summers and Oakvale projects.
It is true these projects met the bottom line. They brought clean water to the lips of the whole family - home after home, neighborhood after neighborhood. At last count these funds will help serve 513 families from Big Sandy to Roderfield, not to mention the water treatment component of this sizable effort.
But, by golly, as old Paul Harvey used to say on his radio show, "PAGE TWO," here is the rest of the story.
Clean drinking water also means families get healthier. And home values get healthier as well. Businesses also benefit and communities can better attract new business. And home fire insurance rates will probably drop.
Before you know it, clean water will strengthen a community and raise the quality of life for the families who call it home.
When you bundle all those benefits across the country, you realize you just leveled the playing field for small businesses in rural areas, and improved the futures of families so they can compete on equal footing with the rest of the country. In total, you just made a nation stronger.
To me, this project is a tremendously wise investment for the federal government. While this is good old fashioned horse sense to most of us, believe it or not, some guys in Washington, D.C., just don't get it.
How many of us here have heard this line on television lately? It goes something like this: "Who knows how to best use your money, those politicians in Washington or you?"
At first blush, of course people want to say they can spend their own money better. And generally that's true. But here are first things I think of when I hear that catchy phrase: I THINK OF THIS PROJECT. I think of the King Coal Highway. I think of the Coalfields Expressway. I think about the new federal prison here in McDowell County.
Well, here's how one fellow answered that question about spending the people's money.
"The legitimate object of government," he said, "is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere. "
Those sensible and wise words were penned at the hand of President Abraham Lincoln. They are as timeless today as they were when he first thought of them.
The simple fact we must always keep in mind is that government can play a good and beneficial role in our lives, and now we just have to convince the budget whackers of this.
It is a two front battle defending this program with the Corps. First, today's Corps funding is one of those evil earmarks about which you have heard so much clamor. I say as long as funding is earmarked in the light of day and everyone has the chance to examine it before it becomes law, it is legitimate.
The other front we face with projects like these is broader. Since he became the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, Congressman Paul Ryan's budget is finally seeing the light of day, and it would be devastating to states like ours.
Rural Development, which in West Virginia is headed up by McDowell County Native son, Bobby Lewis, who also had the good vision to fund this project, would be dealt a terrible blow in this budget proposal. Mark my word - AML the major funding agent of this project won't be far behind, with EDA and ARC being right there on the cutting table with them.
Today is truly a cause for celebration, but it is also a shining example of what government can do well and do right. My point is we have much more work to do, and we will have to continually employ the tools of the federal government when communities need a partner to lift its families and level the Nation's playing field.
We need to fully fund the programs that work to deliver those goals. You have my pledge to continue that fight.