(April 17, 2020) – Congress announced this week it is delaying its return to Washington DC until at least May 4 due to continued social distancing efforts around the COVID-19 outbreak. While this means that passage of the next major phase of any coronavirus relief will also be delayed, it also provides a critical window for the clean water sector and clean water utilities to continue their advocacy for inclusion in the next legislative package.
NACWA and its water sector partners are in daily contact with congressional staff and key congressional committees as work continues to assemble the next coronavirus relief bill. NACWA continues to push for inclusion of direct federal financial relief to utilities to help offset the growing revenue losses from the economic disruption caused by the pandemic. The Association is also working with other organizations to promote increased financing options for utilities to address financial fallout caused by the outbreak, including reinstating the opportunity to use advanced refunding of municipal bonds.
However, it is critical that all NACWA members also contact their Members of Congress to let them know how the pandemic is impacting your specific utility and what the federal government can do to help. NACWA has developed a template letter to assist in this outreach. Important information to share with Congress includes anticipated short-term revenue impacts to your utility and also any longer-term projects you have in the pipeline that could be funded through a federal stimulus/jobs bill to help put people back to work in your local community.
In related COVID-19 developments, NACWA has assembled a list of press clippings highlighting how the Association and the municipal clean water sector more broadly have been actively highlighting the important role clean water utilities are playing during the pandemic and the need for additional federal support.
EPA has also formulated a list of resources for state and local governments with important information on grants, enforcement and compliance programs, and links to resources from a number of state and local organizations.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Kristina Surfus or Jason Isakovic on NACWA staff for any assistance with congressional outreach.