(June 18, 2019) - The US House of Representatives began floor consideration last week of the first set of Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) funding bills with several key agencies addressed in this first package, including the Department on Energy (DOE) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
Within the DOE, a substantial new funding line for utility technical assistance, research and development may be of special interest to the clean water sector. The FY20 bill for DOE includes $5 Million for technical assistance to water and wastewater treatment systems, and $20 Million for research and development (R&D) of technologies to advance energy efficiency and alternative energy at water and wastewater treatment plants. These funding lines will support existing DOE efforts including the Better Plants Program—through which DOE partners with water and wastewater treatment agencies to reduce their energy intensity—and DOE’s Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure of the Future (SWIFT) Accelerator. The new funding for R&D would advance research by utilities and partners such as the Water Research Foundation.
These valuable provisions were championed by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Chairwoman of the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee. NACWA met with Ms. Kaptur’s staff to thank them for advancing these investments, and is working to encourage similar support in the Senate, which has not yet released its funding bills.
House Democrats hoped to complete consideration of this first set of funding bills last week, but Republicans requested recorded votes on each of the many dozens of amendments proposed, slowing the process. As a result, debate will continue this week on this first set of bills.
Once finished, the House will quickly turn to the second set of FY20 funding bills, which includes funding for EPA, Department of Interior, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and more. Dozens of amendments were filed for this second set of bills as well, and all signs point to a lengthy debate.
As previously reported, the EPA portion of this second set of funding bills rejects the deep cuts proposed by the Trump Administration and includes increases in clean water programs, boosting overall Interior and EPA funding by about 5% relative to FY19. NACWA continues monitoring the process and pushing for strong support for clean water in the Senate as well.
Contact Kristina Surfus or Jason Isakovic, NACWA’s Legislative Directors to discuss.