Clean Water Current
Historic Climate Package Set to Advance to President for Signature
The U.S. Senate passed a historic legislative climate package, the Inflation Reduction Act, this past weekend which the U.S. House is expected to take up and pass this Friday and then send to President Biden for his signature into law.
As reported in last week’s Current, after several months of uncertainty around advancing any package, in late July Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) came to an agreement on a package that includes a number of priorities for both Congressional Democrats and the Biden Administration concerning climate change, health care challenges, prescription drug prices, and taxes.
In order to secure passage along what was a Democrat-only party line vote, the Democrat majority utilized Budget Reconciliation procedures that allowed the package to advance by a simple 51 majority vote.
While the $740 billion package is not focused on water, many of the provisions in the bill include potential investments for communities in clean water via the nexus of climate change and clean energy investments. Additionally, Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) secured additional funding in the final bill to help address drought issues in the Southwest, especially farmers and municipalities that rely on the Colorado River as a water source.
Additional key provisions in the package include:
$1.9 billion for the Department of Transportation to support efforts to improve walkability, safety, and affordable transportation access, including stormwater management improvements related to surface transportation in disadvantaged areas;
$3 billion for EPA Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants to help disadvantaged communities with activities related to mitigation of air pollution and climate resiliency and adaptation;
Extension and expansion of several energy production and investment tax credits, including for biogas;
$550 million in grants through the Bureau of Reclamation for domestic water supply projects to help disadvantaged communities with drinking water needs in Western states;
Additional funding for conservation programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which would see increases of $8.45 billion and $6.75 billion respectively; and
$837.5 million for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to support water and energy efficiency improvements in affordable housing.
More information and analysis on the legislative package and its potential implications for the clean water community will be provided to NACWA members early next week. In the meantime, please contact Jason Isakovic, NACWA’s Director of Legislative Affairs, with any questions or to discuss further.