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96 Democrats Request Increased Funding to Protect Drinking Water, Repair Failing Water Infrastructure

Mar 15, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) led nearly 100 Democrats on a letter sent to the House Appropriations Committee, requesting critical funding to protect drinking water and repair failing water infrastructure systems. The letter requests that the fiscal year 2017 Interior Appropriations bill includes a minimum of $2 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (Clean Water SRF) and $2 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (Drinking Water SRF).

DeFazio and Pallone were joined by Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy Paul Tonko (D-NY), and 92 other Democrats in requesting the critical funding. See the full list here.

“While we all understand the difficult fiscal choices we must make in Washington, the tragedies of Toledo, Flint, and Charleston [West Virginia] need to stop – and the quickest way to accomplish this goal is to provide the necessary resources our States, our communities, and our citizens are demanding.  The Clean Water SRF and the Drinking Water SRF remain critical tools for pollution prevention, economic growth, and public health. Therefore, we urge you to renew the federal commitment to water infrastructure by funding these programs at levels that will begin to reduce the backlog of repair and replacement projects for these vital systems,” the Members write.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, our nation’s systems of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure each receive a “D” rating.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest survey of capital improvement needs for public water systems, the United States needs to invest more than $384 billion in drinking water infrastructure improvements over the next 20 years to ensure the delivery of water in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, and an additional $270 billion to meet the nation’s wastewater and stormwater treatment and collection needs.

Congress created two programs to maintain a Federal commitment to addressing local water and wastewater infrastructure needs –the Clean Water SRF was created in 1987 and the Drinking Water SRF was created in 1996.  Through SRFs investment programs, states provide loans and other financial assistance to local communities or utilities to support upgrades and replacements of water distribution pipelines, treatment plants, sewer lines, stormwater conveyances, and other similar infrastructure.  This funding is critical as it helps communities maintain safe and effective water infrastructure and affords states the flexibility to fund their highest-priorities.

The full letter can be found here.