(Washington, D.C.) Senator Murray today announced that the fiscal year 2001 VA-HUD and Independent Agencies conference report includes $600,000 for the Columbia Basin Ground Water Management Area (GWMA), which includes Adams, Franklin and Grant Counties. The funds are earmarked under the Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Programs and Management. The conference report passed the Senate today by a vote of 85 to 8. The bill will now go to the President for his signature.

"I am delighted there are additional federal funds for this important effort to reduce nitrates in ground water," said Murray. "This program is another example of how federal, state and local governments can work together with local communities and growers to solve problems."

In 1997, Adams, Franklin and Grant Counties asked the Washington Department of Ecology to create the GWMA. In early 1998, the agency signed an order to create the GWMA, which conducts ground water sampling and facilitates implementation of best management practices to reduce nitrate contamination.