The $410 billion spending bill approved by Congress last week has been derided as earmark-laden, but some local recipients say their appropriations are going to important projects and services.
The Health Services Clinic, established by Mercy Regional Medical Center after Valley-Wide Health Services closed its primary-care clinic, received $143,000 from the bill.
Karen Midkiff, chief development officer for Mercy Health Foundation, said the money will go toward equipment and construction, although the exact uses still are being determined.
"We are very grateful to our senators and congressman for always helping, because primary care continues to be a major issue in our community," she said.
Mercy must submit a noncompetitive grant application for the funds. The clinic, which accepts Medicare and Medicaid, receives funding for operations from the city of Durango, La Plata County, Mercy and private donations.
The Animas-La Plata Project will receive $5 million from the spending bill.
"The lion's share of that funding will be used for continuing and expanding construction efforts in New Mexico associated with the Navajo Nation Municipal Pipeline," said Rick Ehat, project construction engineer with the Bureau of Reclamation, referring to a 29-mile potable water line that will run from Farmington to Shiprock.
In Colorado, the money will go toward filling Ridges Basin, completing utilities and road relocations and building a permanent operating facility.
Ehat said there was "definitely nail-biting" about whether the bill with the funding would be approved.
"You just never know," he said. "I believe we're safe; we're going to get the requested amount."
About $250,000 will go to the San Juan Institute of Natural and Cultural Resources at Fort Lewis College for the San Juan Watershed Woody Invasives Initiative, an effort to control the spread of Russian olive and tamarisk in the San Juan basin.
Federal, tribal and state agencies in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah also are involved in the initiative.
U.S. Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet both voted for the bill, as did U.S. Rep. John Salazar.