Bureau of Reclamation Announces $1.9 Million in Recovery Act Funds for Construction of a Permanent LEED-Certified Operating Facility for the Animas-La Plata Project

Media Contact: Lisa Iams, 801-524-3673

For Release: March 19, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Bureau of Reclamation, an agency of the Department of the Interior, announced today that Reclamation's Four Corners Construction office in Durango, Colo. has awarded a contract, totaling $1.9 million to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe's Weeminuche Construction Authority of Towaoc, Colo. under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the design and construction of a permanent LEED-Certified operating facility for the Animas - La Plata Project.

"Through the funding made available by ARRA, it will be possible to initiate construction of this operating facility in harmony with Interior's goals for creating environmentally sustainable buildings," said Michael L. Connor, Reclamation commissioner.

The new facility will be designed to attain a certified level under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council. The facility will be sustainable beyond the LEED certified requirements by following the more stringent DOI 2008 Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings. These principles include: integrated design, energy performance, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, and reduced impact of materials.

The permanent operating facility will be located adjacent to the Durango Pumping Plant in Durango and will provide office and shop space to be used by the Animas - La Plata Operations, Maintenance and Replacement Association.

The facility was authorized as part of the Animas-La Plata Project by the Colorado Ute Settlement Act Amendments of 2000. When completed, the project will provide the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the people of the four corners area with a reliable water supply for their future needs, without taking scarce water resources away from existing water users in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in 2009 gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior. The ARRA funds represent an important component of the President's plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century. Under the ARRA, Interior is making an investment in conserving America's timeless treasures - our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage - while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.

"With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.

Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department's economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery. Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force to work closely with Interior's Inspector General and ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency set by President Obama.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.