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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $3.1 Million to Support Disaster Resiliency Efforts in Laurens, South Carolina

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3.1 million grant to Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission of Laurens, South Carolina, to make critical water infrastructure improvements needed to keep businesses open in the wake of future severe weather events.

“The Trump Administration is working hard to help communities better prepare for weather-related disasters, especially in South Carolina, a state impacted by hurricanes and tropical storms,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Maintaining access to water during extreme weather situations will allow businesses in Laurens to recover quickly following damaging weather.”

“It is important that we not only respond to natural disasters as they come, but also that we prepare for those that we know will come in the future,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “We are grateful for the dedication President Trump’s administration has shown to ensuring that vital infrastructure is prepared to maintain critical services for the people of our state during an emergency.”

“The $3.1 million investment to fund two water system updates is amazing news for Lake Greenwood and Laurens County as a whole,” said Congressman Jeff Duncan. “As a resident of Laurens County, I understand how important efficient water infrastructure is to the local economy, and I am pleased that President Trump and Secretary Ross have recognized the need for improvements in the event of weather-related disasters. This grant will help Laurens County make necessary enhancements and help prepare the community for the future.”

This investment funds two water system upgrades to a new water treatment plant on Lake Greenwood: a new waterline and an elevated water tank. These water supply improvements are essential to mitigate interruption risks that businesses experience during severe weather conditions. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Upper Savannah Council of Governments. EDA funds the Upper Savannah Council of Governments to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

This project is funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 115-123) (PDF), in which Congress appropriated to EDA $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) funds for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, wildfires and other calendar year 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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