Clean Water Current
Congress Reviews EPA FY23 Budget Priorities at Dual Hearings
During an otherwise quiet week in Congress for issues impacting the clean water sector, two key committees heard testimony from EPA Administrator Michael Regan regarding President Biden's Fiscal Year 2023 budget request for the Agency.
On Tuesday, May 17, Regan appeared before the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and then on Wednesday, May 18, he met with the Senate Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies of the Committee on Appropriations. During each hearing, members were afforded an opportunity to provide oversight of EPA and receive updates on where their individual priorities stand.
Among the key issues discussed, overall spending levels and ensuring EPA has the bandwidth to deliver on promises made with implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) took center stage. Administrator Regan emphasized a need for increased staffing levels to both undertake the ongoing work of the Agency, but also ensure that EPA is adequately staffed to deliver funds in a reasonable timeline and in accordance with good governance principles.
Additionally, members of the committees asked about issues ranging from affordability (including making sure that EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have the resources to deliver on the promise of supporting utilities in providing clean and safe water services) to addressing climate change and ensuring effective implementation of environmental justice initiatives.
The hearings come on the heels of steps NACWA has taken to engage with Congressional appropriators during the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) appropriations process. NACWA continues to work closely with Members of Congress and key appropriations committee staff to secure strong clean water funding and provisions in the Interior and Environment bill, which funds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) programs.
NACWA recently submitted its comprehensive FY23 clean water programmatic requests to Senate and House appropriators in the form of identical testimony, requesting funding for important EPA clean water programs.
The requests include increased funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Control Grants, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, Integrated Planning (IP), climate resilience, and workforce development grants among others. NACWA has also urged strong funding for EPA's low-income water assistance program to begin assisting households in maintaining access to affordable and reliable public clean and drinking water services.
The FY23 annual funding will be on top of the $55 Billion in funds already appropriated for water investments as part of the BIL. This is a key point, as BIL was envisioned as being a major influx of investment on top of anticipated annual funding. The Appropriations process is how we hold Congress accountable to that promise.
Here is additional information about steps NACWA members can take in advocating during the appropriations process.
Please contact NACWA's legislative staff, with any questions or to discuss further.