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Editorial: Willmar plant plan needs fed funding

The city of Willmar is concerned about the lack of appropriation for the $15 million in federal funding authorized for the city's $86 million wastewater treatment project.

The concern is growing as the city has been waiting two years since the $15 million in funding was approved by Congress. The $15 million was approved in November 2007 when Congress in a bipartisan vote of 361-64 overcame President George W. Bush's veto of the Water Resources Development Act.

Willmar's new wastewater treatment plant and the conveyance facilities between the city and the new plant located west of town are considered vital to the city's future. The plant will support the continued growth of the city's home and business sectors. It will also help the city comply with more stringent water quality standards, which will benefit the Minnesota River watershed.

Willmar's $15 million funding authorization request was initially proposed by former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., during the Bush administration.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., have included Willmar's $15 million authorization in their earmark funding requests this year.

This funding need is critical to the future of Willmar and the Minnesota River watershed.

We hope Klobuchar, Peterson, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and the rest of the Minnesota delegation will come through with the appropriate funding for this critical need.

Otherwise, the citizens of Willmar would be left high and dry just as the wastewater treatment plant nears its 2010 completion date.