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Editorial: Lewis and Clark poised for boost

The Lewis and Clark regional water system, ignored by George W. Bush earlier this year for reasons that may only be known to the president, got a needed boost Tuesday.

A spending bill passed in a Senate subcommittee allots $30 million to the project, which will pipe Missouri River water throughout the region. The system is a partnership of 15 cities and five rural water districts in South Dakota, Iowa and southwest Minnesota.

Area legislators have all pledged their support for Lewis and Clark, which should certainly solidify the chances of new funding for the project. The water system also has a history of strong federal support -- last year, the project received nearly $27 million in funding after an initial Bush proposal of $15 million. Bush's proposed 2009 budget -- the fiscal year starts Oct. 1 -- left out funding for Lewis and Clark entirely.

Considering a House Appropriations Committee has already approved $25 million in new funding for the project, we expect the final dollar tally for 2009 to wind up somewhere in the middle. That number will optimally be the same as last year, at a minimum.

We have noted in this space that adequate water resources are important to the development, and the sustainability, of our communities. We ask federal legislators to recognize that same fact.