Date: September 03, 2009
Contact: Joan Moody
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar reported today that “at the 200-day mark for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus program is creating jobs and providing lasting value to our economy and our environment in every state of the nation including Arkansas.”
At a press conference with Sen. Mark Pryor and Rep. Vic Snyder at the Little Rock Central High School–one of the historic sites and treasured landscapes for which the Department of the Interior has stewardship responsibilities–Salazar noted that Arkansas will get a total of approximately $2.2 billion in recovery funds through various federal departments, of which well over half has already been made available.
For the Department of the Interior alone, there is a total of approximately $10 million for approved ARRA projects in Arkansas. Of that amount, the National Park Service has almost $2 million in funding for four park projects in Arkansas, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has almost $8 million for nine refuge and fish hatchery projects, and the U.S. Geological Survey has $300,000 in funding to upgrade or replace stream gages in Arkansas.
Vice President Joe Biden and various Cabinet members including Salazar reported to the President today that federal agencies had met or exceeded their stimulus goals at the 200-day milestone. In addition to Interior funding, other federal stimulus money in Arkansas has enabled 12 health centers to provide expanded services, thousands of new education jobs to be funded, summer youth employment programs to be boosted , 16 different law enforcement agencies in the state to hire or keep 60 law enforcement officers, one airport and eight highway projects to commence, 53 different defense construction and rehabilitation projects to get underway, and work to begin on five construction and rehabilitation projects at three Veterans Administration Medical Centers.
Nationwide, Salazar noted, the Department of the Interior is investing nearly $3 billion in approximately 3,400 critical projects across this country in a manner that will create sustained employment and economic activity during the next two and a half years. The Secretary said the pace of recovery projects is accelerating.
“We made our final list of projects in late April and we have made great progress since then,” he said. “At the 100-day mark at the end of June, 379 projects had started department-wide. As of August 28, we have started more than 1,000 of our Recovery Act projects.”
Park stimulus projects in Arkansas include $132,000 to rehabilitate 20 miles of trails at Hot Springs National Park and $1.27million for Buffalo National River to fix trails, repair ice and flood damage, and to fence off abandoned zinc mines for public safety. Additional park stimulus funds will repair storm-damaged park assets at Fort Smith National Historic Site and at Pea Ridge National Military Park.
Funding for wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries includes $2.7 million to construct a visitor center and make upgrades at Mammoth Spring National Fish Hatchery, $1.46 million for making the visitor center energy-efficient, repairs and restoring wetlands and habitat at Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge, $846,000 for rehabilitating an earthen dam, a road and damaged building at White River National Wildlife Refuge, $778,000 to construct a new visitor contact station and multiple maintenance projects at Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge and additional funding for various projects at Big Lake, Pond Creek and Cache National Wildlife Refuges, Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery and Dale Hollow Fish and Wildlife Management Area.
The Department of the Interior ARRA investments support the Administration’s goals to build America’s new energy future, to protect and restore treasured landscapes, to provide youth employment and training in conservation, to address America’s water challenges, and to empower Native American communities.
For more information on Arkansas stimulus projects, see http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/Recovery_200_Days-Arkansas.csv.