May 14, 2009

EPW COMMITTEE MOVES LANDMARK WATER INFRASTRUCTURE LEGISLATION

Cardin-authored legislation breaks 22-year logjam

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S . Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee and EPW Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA), along with and EPW Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK), and subcommittee ranking member Mike Crapo (R-ID) applauded Committee passage of The Water Infrastructure Financing Act, which provides the foundation for our nation's drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. 

 

The bill, which passed the Committee today with overwhelming bipartisan support, makes important reforms and increases investment in the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which has not been reauthorized in 22 years, and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which has not been reauthorized since 1996.

 

The bill contains authorizations for Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, expands eligibility for funding for projects including storm water management, water conservation, or efficiency projects, reuse and recycling projects.   

 

"The highest priorities of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee are to ensure that all Americans have clean and safe drinking water and that our aging national water infrastructure can handle all that we ask of it. The health and safety of our citizens, our rivers and streams, and our economy depend on clean, flowing water," said Senator Cardin.  "I appreciate the bipartisan support from Chairman Boxer, Senators Inhofe and Crapo, in crafting legislation that allows us to reinvest in America, providing thousands of new jobs and meeting our basic water quality needs."

 

Highlights of the Water Infrastructure Financing Act

 

  • Increases the Clean Water SRF to $20 billion over five years and Drinking Water SRF to $14.7 billion over five years.
  • $1.8 billion nationwide grant program to address combined sewer overflows
  • $60 million/year nationwide grant program to provide funding to states and municipalities to reduce lead in drinking water
  • $50 million nationwide grant program to address agriculture-related water quality issues
  • New incentives, including for green infrastructure projects
  • Additional flexibility in the Clean Water SRF to help low-income communities
  • New Research and voluntary incentive program to address water conservation, efficiency, and recycling. 

Funding allocations through the new Clean Water SRF formula are based primarily on the 2004 EPA needs survey, the most comprehensive and objective data available on our national wastewater infrastructure needs.