Sen. Merkley announces investments from Interior bill

Senator Jeff Merkley announcing major investments across the
board, to help protect Oregon communities from wildfires, modernize water
infrastructure, and strengthen the environment.

Senator Merkley says he drafted the Interior bill to ensure
that priorities for communities in every corner of the state were
included.  One recipient tells us, that every dollar is needed.

The bill provides $4.4 billion for wildfire suppression.
It’ll also increase funds for converting seasonal federal firefighters to
full-time, and provides over $500 million in hazardous fuels management.

$28 million is going to organizations to collaborate on
forest restoration projects.  $10 million is headed for wildfire smoke
mitigation, to provide smoke mitigation and filtrations plans for schools and
community buildings.

The bill also includes $75 million for water infrastructure
projects, the Talent Irrigation District is one of the recipients.

“We’re lucky to be on this list, as soon as it starts
working its way through to be on the list for $5 million of infrastructure
money, every dollar is needed towards upgrading all the infrastructure within
our district,” said Mike Winters with TID.

Winters says the project will replace aging infrastructure
and piping of the open canal, to get more water through the system. Winters
says he hopes to see the funds next spring or summer.