WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) announced that the Department of Interior informed Congress that Swain County will receive the remaining $35.2 million owed to them from the North Shore Road settlement this year. Last year, Senator Tillis helped secure $4 million that was appropriated to Swain County in 2012 but was never transferred to the county.The $35.2 million was included as a part of Secretary Zinke’s spending plan for 2018 construction projects at National Park Service.
In the early 1940s, the federal government flooded several communities in Swain County to build the Fontana Dam. In 1943, the federal government promised to rebuild the 30-mile North Shore Road that was also flooded. For over six decades the government failed to deliver on that promise and, in 2007, agreed to a cash settlement of $52 million. In 2010 the Department of Interior, Swain County, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the State of North Carolina entered into a -Memorandum of Agreement- to “settle any and all claims under the 1943 Agreement” by December 31, 2020.
“Today is the beginning of the end for Swain County’s long fight to receive the funds it is owed from the North Shore Road settlement,” said Senator Tillis. “The Department of Interior’s commitment to reimburse the $35.2 million this year and make good on the promise to repay Swain County for the damage caused when the federal government flooded its communities is great news for the people who have been affected. I want to thank Secretary Zinke for making this a priority and I look forward to working with the Administration and my colleagues to ensure Swain County receives the money swiftly.”
“One of my top priorities as your Secretary of the Interior is making sure the federal government is a good neighbor and a good land manager for federal lands like national parks and battlefields. Making sure Swain County received the funds from the Department of the Interior was key,” said Secretary Zinke. ” Senator Tillis made sure this project did not get lost in the paperwork. I’m grateful for their tenacity on behalf of North Carolina.”