Clean Water Current
House Appropriators Release 2023 Energy and Water Funding Bill
The U.S. House Appropriations Committee released its plan on June 20 to fund Interior, Environment and Related Agencies for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, which begins on October 1, 2022. The bill included funding for EPA, Department of Interior, Department of Energy, and the Fish and Wildlife Service, among other related agencies.
The bill includes $11.5 billion for EPA, a $2 billion increase from the Committee’s spending proposal in FY 2022. Despite offering a 21% increase of the agency’s current funding level, the legislation was more of a mixed bag for clean water program funding.
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) received $1.75 billion in the proposal, a minimal increase of $113 million over the current level. However, after accounting for the $553.4 million in community spending projects, also known as earmarks, that will come out of the CWSRF budget, the remaining appropriations fell below levels in the previous fiscal year.
Overall, the number of earmarked community spending projects each member could request increased from 10 to 15 for fiscal 2023. While community spending projects were capped at 1% of all discretionary spending and limited to projects for communities and nonprofits, the sequestered funding for earmarks contributed to this less than ambitious package.
Robust funding was directed for EPA’s Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants program however - offering $237 million over the previous fiscal year and bringing the appropriations in line with the program’s authorized level included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIL). This program has been a priority for NACWA and the Association has advocated strongly for it to receive increased funding.
Earlier this month, NACWA organized and submitted a letter to Congressional Committees, leadership, and every individual member office underscoring the broad support that exists for fully funding water programs authorized under BIL. Unfortunately, there were key and newly authorized programs under BIL that were left out of the appropriations bill – these programs include the low-income customer assistance and clean water resiliency grant programs.
The proposal must now move through the House, and the Senate has yet to release its spending priorities for FY23. As the House and Senate work to marry their appropriations bills though the reconciliation process over the coming months, the wide bipartisan support and significant impact of the water programs authorized in BIL will be at the forefront NACWA’s advocacy messaging.
NACWA will continue to closely monitor progress and keep a focus on clean water priorities. Contact Danielle Cloutier, NACWA’s Legislative Director, to discuss further.