Sen. Merkley announces investments from Interior bill

SOUTHERN OREGON, —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.

For a full list of the investments click here.

NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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