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#SubEnvironment Examines Draft Legislation Related to Improving Nation’s Drinking Water Infrastructure

May 19, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Environment, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), today held a hearing examining a discussion draft of legislation that aims to bring greater investment and improvements to the nation’s drinking water infrastructure. 


Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) delivers his opening statement

In March, our committee began a review of the financial needs of our entire nation’s drinking water infrastructure. We spoke about the need to think broadly about all the things that can affect water, affordability, reliability, and safety,” said Chairman Walden. “Today we took the next steps in our deliberative process by reviewing a discussion draft and related ideas from stakeholders to formulate policy on drinking water state revolving loan funding and public water system supervision grants.”

Martin Kropelnicki, President and CEO of the California Water Service Group, testifying on behalf of the National Association of Water Companies, discussed the important role of private investment in the nation’s drinking water systems, stating, “Private water systems have existed in the United States for more than 200 years. … The private sector is already helping overcome water infrastructure challenges facing the country. … The private water utility sector stands able, ready, and willing to partner with local and state governments, as well as the federal government, to help meet the challenges our nation’s water infrastructure will face in the coming years and decades. … The discussion draft in front of the Committee today is a good first step to addressing this crisis.”

Scott Potter, Director of Nashville Water Services, Nashville, TN, on behalf of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), spoke of AMWA’s support for certain provisions in the discussion draft, commenting, "AMWA supports provisions in the legislation that would reauthorize DWSRF appropriations, encourages states to promote asset management planning, reduce duplicative regulatory requirements, and facilitate cooperative partnerships to help public water systems maintain compliance with SDWA standards. … AMWA believes the Drinking Water System Improvement Act is a strong bill that makes meaningful progress toward solidifying the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for success in the coming years. AMWA looks forward to continuing to work with members of the subcommittee on this legislation.” 


Chairman Shimkus recognizes a member of the subcommittee for their questioning

“The discussion draft is not a finite universe of the issues that the committee is open to considering. It is a true baseline for conversation and an invitation for feedback on refinements or suggested alternative approaches; and an opportunity to make the case for including additional issues,” concluded #SubEnvironment Chairman Shimkus. “This will not be easy – some of these conversations will be very difficult, but we will have to have them in an open and honest manner. But, this is not new. Anyone who has been around our subcommittee for a while knows we have a reputation for tackling challenging issues.”

To view the text of the discussion draft, click HERE.

A background memo, witness testimony, and an archived webcast of the hearing can be found online HERE.

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