Missoulian: Tester’s bill would return Evergreen earmark to pay down federal debt

KALISPELL – U.S. Sen. Jon Tester introduced an unusual bill Thursday, an effort to rescind an untouched $578,000 earmark to the Evergreen Sewer District and instead use the money to help pay down the national debt.

Former U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns set the money aside in 2003 as an earmark appropriation for sewer improvements in the unincorporated community of Evergreen, but the fledgling project never got off the ground and the money has since languished.

The money was attached as a rider to the $124 billion Veterans Administration-Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill.

But members of the Evergreen Water and Sewer District neither submitted an application for the money nor took any formal action to request the appropriation. So when the unexpected earmark was announced, board members weren’t sure how to spend the unexpected windfall.

In October, without any pending emergency projects, the sewer district decided it would return the money.

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