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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $5.4 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds for Water System Upgrades to Support Business Development in Laurens, South Carolina

Award is Part of the Department of Commerce’s $300 million Coal Communities Commitment

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $5.4 million grant to the Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission, Laurens, South Carolina, for construction of a new water tank, water line, and ancillary infrastructure to support economic development. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan and EDA’s $300 million Coal Communities Commitment.

This project will support water system upgrades to serve industrial corridors in Laurens County and provide for business expansion following the closure of two coal-fired power plants in the region. The EDA investment will be matched with $1.4 million in local funds and is expected to create 240 jobs and generate $47.2 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“American Rescue Plan funding enables EDA to make once-in-a-generation investments to dramatically transform America’s communities in a critical moment as our country continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment will provide the water infrastructure needed to support existing and future businesses, creating a stronger, more robust regional economy.”

“The Economic Development Administration is dedicated to working with communities to support their locally-driven strategies to recover and rebuild from the pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA project will provide critical infrastructure upgrades needed to support the region’s industrial sector and provide for business development.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Upper Savannah Council of Governments (USCOG). EDA funds USCOG 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 EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program, which makes $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to American communities. The Economic Adjustment Assistance program is EDA’s most flexible program, and grants made under this program will help hundreds of communities across the nation plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs.

EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment allocates $300 million of EDA’s $3 billion American Rescue Plan appropriation to support coal communities as they recover from the pandemic and to help them create new jobs and opportunities, including through the creation or expansion of a new industry sector. Specifically, EDA has dedicated $100 million of its Build Back Better Regional Challenge funds and $200 million of its Economic Adjustment Assistance funds to directly support coal communities.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
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 invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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