Earth Day celebrations in both Rosebud and Porcupine, South Dakota, featured Jessica Zufolo, USDA Rural Development Deputy Administrator for Rural Utilities Programs. Zufolo was joined by the South Dakota Rural Development State Director Elsie M. Meeks and Area Director Tim Potts, along with representatives from Indian Health Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The celebration featured the announcement of a water and environmental project totaling $6.8 million to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and water and environmental project totaling $881,000 to the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
“These projects meet President Obama’s vision for a healthier environment, which will help rural citizens gain access to a safe and sanitary water supply,” said Zufolo. “Earth Day reminds us of the critical role USDA can play by supporting local communities with confronting environmental challenges and provides the opportunity to protect and preserve rural resources.”
Meeks added, “In the past decade, USDA Rural Development in South Dakota has invested over $213 million in water and waste treatment projects to countless South Dakota communities, businesses, and tribal nations. Today’s substantial investment supports quality drinking systems, sanitary sewer systems, reliable utility services and preserves South Dakota’s environment for future generations.”
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe will use the funds to replace manholes, sewer mains and sewer lines in the oldest part of the Community of Rosebud. The Oglala Sioux Tribe will use the funds to renovate the sanitary sewer treatment ponds at the BIA Day School at Porcupine.
In conjunction with these announcements, trees, donated by the Mellette and Todd County Conservation District and the Bennett and Shannon County Conservation District respectively, were planted in honor of Earth Day 2010.
A tree planting ceremony was held on the Reservation. Two trees were donated by the Mellette and Todd County Conservation District. Pictured left to right – South Dakota State Director Elsie M. Meeks, Rural Development Deputy Administrator for the Rural Utilities Programs Jessica Zufolo, Rural Development Area Director Tim Potts, and Syed Huq – Director of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Water Resources.