Site Project Manager Invited to Apply for EPA Loan – Chico Enterprise-Record

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The sites project authority was asked by the United States Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday to apply for $2.2 billion in low-interest loans.

According to the EPA, the loans would be made through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and bring the project closer to construction and completion.

“The importance of this opportunity cannot be overstated,” said Fritz Durst, president of the Sites project manager. “We thank our federal partners and the Biden administration for supporting Sites Reservoir in such a meaningful way.”

Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) and State Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama) each released statements praising the move.

“This is great news, especially after Senate Democrats recently killed my legislation — Senate Bill 890 — that would have helped fully fund Sites Reservoir,” Nielsen said. He also noted that the loan would pay almost 49% of the project cost.

LaMalfa’s office said Thursday that while the WIFIA program is primarily used for wastewater and drinking water systems, the 2018 U.S. Water Infrastructure Act directed the EPA and the Bureau of Reclamation to work on opening the program to some water reclamation projects as well.

They added that in October 2019, a memorandum of understanding between the EPA and the Bureau of Reclamation to create a WIFIA process for reclamation projects. In July 2021, LaMalfa and Rep. John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove) led a bipartisan letter with other members of the California delegation asking the EPA to allow the sites Project Authority to apply for a WIFIA loan. .

“We need Sites now more than ever; our state is facing another historic drought. I have been a strong supporter of this project for years, it will provide water to over 24 million Californians and 500,000 acres of farmland,” LaMalfa said. “This loan will significantly reduce costs for consumers and make it more affordable for taxpayers to get the water they need, even in dry years.”

According to a statement from the venues project manager, the loan will help realize the many environmental and water supply benefits of the project.

The authority also noted that the reservoir is a project where the project participants will repay the loan

“For the reservoir of venues to be built — bringing substantial and critical environmental benefits to California — it must be affordable for our participants. This loan can get us there,” Durst added.

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