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NACWA Strongly Supports Senate SRF Reauthorization Bill; Urges Quick Passage

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Susie Bruninga, NACWA, (202) 833-3280
NACWA Director of Public Affairs

 
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) strongly supports the Water Infrastructure Financing Act of 2009 (S. 1005), which would reauthorize the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) at $38.5 billion over five years.  Introduced by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee; James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member; Ben Cardin (D-Md.), chair of the Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife; and Mike Crapo (D-Idaho), ranking member of the subcommittee, the bill provides $20 billion for the CWSRF and $15 billion for the DWSRF, as well as $1.85 billion in grants to address combined sewer overflows (CSOs); $250 million for watershed improvements; and $50 million for an agriculture SRF, among other things.
 

“We applaud the Senate EPW Committee for moving quickly to pass an SRF reauthorization bill and to significantly increase its funding,” NACWA Executive Director Ken Kirk said.  “We hope the Senate will pass this legislation soon so that we can reconcile it with the House bill and get it to President Obama’s desk for signature.”
 

NACWA is pleased that the bill provides incentives for states to use 30 percent of the SRF money as grants for disadvantaged communities and to promote the use of green infrastructure to address stormwater control.  NACWA is also pleased about the inclusion of language requiring EPA to review the Agency’s outdated 1997 document Combined Sewer Overflows-Guidance for Financial Capability Assessment and Schedule Development, which has been placing unrealistic burdens on cash-strapped communities without sufficient consideration of environmental benefit.
 

“The legislation is a good first step toward reinvigorating the federal government’s role in working with states and localities to achieve vital clean water goals,” Kirk said, adding that a long-term, sustainable source of funding in the form of a clean water trust fund is ultimately needed to ensure communities can meet their obligations to provide strong protections for public health and the environment, as well as the economic vitality, in the long run without regard to changes in political leadership.
 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN) estimate a $300-$500 billion funding gap over 20 years between what is needed to upgrade and repair the nation’s wastewater infrastructure and how much is being spent.  Communities currently bear 95 percent of the cost of clean water, even as these demands increase.  The federal share has dropped from 78 percent in the 1970s to less than 5 percent today.  To help fill the gap, ratepayers, already constrained by the sagging economy, are facing higher water and sewer bills.
 

NACWA will work with members of the House and Senate to ensure strong support for the increased SRF funding levels and to building support for a long-term, sustainable source of funding in the form of a trust fund, similar to those that exist for highways and airports.

 

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NACWA represents the interests of more than 300 public agencies and organizations that have made the pursuit of scientifically based, technically sound and cost effective laws and regulations their objective. NACWA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim more than 18 billion gallons of wastewater daily.

 
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