The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Water Quality Financing Act of 2007 (HR 720) by a strong 303-108 vote. The bill would authorize the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund to the tune of $14 billion for the next four years.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Water Quality
Financing Act of 2007 (HR 720) by a strong 303-108 vote. The bill would
authorize the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Water State
Revolving Fund to the tune of $14 billion for the next four years. A fifth year
of funding ($6 billion) was dropped prior to floor consideration in order to
facilitate the bill's passage.
The House also passed the Water Quality Investment Act of
2007 (HR 569) by a vote of 367-58. The legislation would authorize $1.7 billion
in federal appropriations to municipalities and states for grants to control
combined sewer overflows and sanitary sewer overflows. Finally, the Healthy
Communities Water Supply Act (HR 700) was approved. The bill would allow for
$125 million federal funding of projects designed to investigate alternative
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) applauded the U.S.
House for moving swiftly and decisively to provide municipalities with more
funding for clean water infrastructure. "The nation's clean water agencies
view this important vote as a solid first step toward averting a crisis of
crumbling infrastructure that threatens the water quality gains of the last 35
years under the Clean Water Act," says Ken Kirk, NACWA executive director.
"The House has acted wisely and boldly to recommit to the goals of the
act. Now we need the Senate to follow suit, and we look forward to working with
members of the Senate and their staff on a similar legislative effort. Then
Congress should take the next major step and provide dedicated, long-term funding
for clean water."
The EPA, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and the Water
Infrastructure Network (WIN) estimate the funding gap for this critical
infrastructure at $300 billion to $500 billion over 20 years, and it is clear
that existing mechanisms for addressing this enormous funding gap fall far
short. EPA acknowledges that unless the funding gap is sufficiently addressed,
the water quality gains of the last 35 years could evaporate by 2016.
NACWA also applauded H.R. 720's provision calling on GAO to
prepare a study on revenue sources for a clean water trust fund by Jan. 1, 2008.
March 15, 2007