Hoeven: EPA Needs to Help Resolve Issues Blocking NAWS Project

Senator Calls on EPA Administrator to Meet in Washington with Congressional Delegation, Governor, Bureau of Reclamation to Find Solution

WASHINGTON – In a letter to Administrator Gina McCarthy, Senator John Hoeven today called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work with state and local leaders to find an acceptable plan for treating water tapped by Northwest Area Water Supply Project (NAWS). The senator called on her to meet in Washington with the congressional delegation, governor, EPA and Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) to find a solution and move forward.

In June, the USBR released its Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the NAWS project, including its preferred alternative for treating Missouri River water to prevent biota transfers and provide municipal drinking water to North Dakota communities. Recently, however, the EPA asked the USBR to make additional changes to their preferred alternative.

“The Bureau of Reclamation’s most recent environmental review provides a number of alternatives, including the treatment of Missouri River water,” Hoeven said. “One of those alternatives should be acceptable to the state of North Dakota, the EPA and the Bureau of Reclamation. The EPA must be more forthcoming in this process and timelier with its comments. The agency’s last minute attention to the environmental review is a disservice to our state, our local communities waiting for years to be served by NAWS, as well as other responsible federal agencies that have worked hard to issue the new Draft EIS. We need to clear the way for bringing safe and reliable drinking water to nearly a hundred thousand North Dakotans in a growing region of our state.”

“NAWS is an important investment for a region of our state that is experiencing historic growth and we have been working hard for the past several years to ensure this project is completed and that the residents of northwestern North Dakota have access to a reliable and quality water supply,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple. “We will continue to work with our federal, state and local partners to move this project forward and bring this valuable resource to tens of thousands of North Dakotans.”

Hoeven worked as governor from 2001 to 2010 to meet legal challenges and secure state and federal funding for the project. Construction began in 2002 under the Hoeven Administration, and the system became operational during his term.

Reclamation’s preferred alternative recognizes the need for the system to provide up to 26 million gallons of Missouri River water per day to nearly 100,000 residents of North Dakota. The system is designed to provide service through 2060.

NAWS will eventually bring water to a ten county area of northwestern North Dakota, as far north as Sherwood, to Bottineau in the east, and Renville, Burke and Divide County in the west. The city of Minot in Ward County will also supplement its water from the Northwest Area Water Supply project. The Northwest Area Water Supply project will be funded with federal, state and local dollars provided by the communities that will use the water.