January Newsline: EPA Cracks Down on Violations; Cat Invests in India; Stimulus Projects At Work

January 2010 Vol. 65 No. 1

Recovery Act project funds millions for rural water projects
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced in November the selection of $117.3 million in water and environmental project loans and grants that are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Rural communities will reap the benefits as 31 water and wastewater projects get the go-ahead. Altogether, USDA has announced $1.96 billion for water and environmental project loans and grants, benefiting people throughout the country.

The ARRA funding is being administered by USDA Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Program, which provides loans and grants to ensure that the necessary investments are made in water and wastewater infrastructure to deliver safe drinking water and protect the environment in rural areas.

Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement. The 17 states awarded are Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Vermont.

JPMorgan to pay SEC over $700M in settlement
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay $75 million in fines and forfeit $647 million in fees to settle federal regulators’ charges that it made unlawful payments to friends of public officials to win municipal bond business in Jefferson County, AL.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had alleged that JPMorgan and former managing directors Charles LeCroy and Douglas MacFaddin made about $8.2 million in undisclosed payments in 2002 and 2003 to close friends of several Jefferson County commissioners. The money went to local brokerage firms whose principals or employees were friends of the county officials, the SEC said. Starting in July 2002, LeCroy and MacFaddin solicited the county for a $1.4 billion sewer bond deal.

Swayed by the payments, the county commissioners voted to select JPMorgan’s securities division as managing underwriter of the bond offerings and its affiliated bank as swap provider for the transactions, the SEC said. The $5 billion in municipal bond business and interest-rate swap agreements awarded to JPMorgan was the largest such deal in its securities division’s history, according to the SEC.

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